July 16, 2012 Legislative Update

Your Monday Morning Update:

I’ve got a throbbin’ in my noggin’ because I’ve been thinking how to best handle a dilemma.
The issue is: I have been asked by many of you, for guidance on how you might best cast your vote during the upcoming August 7th primary election.  The question most commonly asked is “Which of the candidates support folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)?”

The thing that makes my brain sore is twofold:
For incumbents, there wasn’t really a vote last session that specifically had much to do with I/DD to really demonstrate legislator support or lack of support, AND it would be wrong of me to share my opinion (I know that is shocking to those of you who know me).
And, because the many hopeful “newbies” who are running, have no specific track record, it is hard to know what they may or may not support.

After giving it much thought, I thought I’d include some tools to assist you in figuring out who is who, what is what, and what to do with the information.
Here are some helpful hints, tips, and suggestions:

  • With the change in legislative boundaries, what you once knew is no longer true.  Every single boundary has changed.  You’ll need to figure out which Senate and House district you are in.  You can always look at the signs around your neighborhood, but this link to the new maps is a little more accurate.   To open, push Ctrl and click on the link.

  • Look at the maps and figure out where you live. Jot down your district numbers (one for House and one for Senate.)
  • The next step is to find out which candidates are running in your districts.  Open the Excel document below.  Print or write down the contenders and their contact information.

  • Now the real work begins.  If the candidates have a website, go to it and take a look. Read their bio.  Any volunteer work or do they serve on any not-for-profit boards? Do they list any special interests? See what they talk about. What is their employment background? Do they say anything about the role of government in protecting social/safety net services?

  • Send an email and ask if they are going to have a town hall, forum or meet and greet. If so, make it a point to attend and have questions in hand.

  • If you can’t meet them in person, call or email them and ask specific questions such as:
    1. “What is your opinion of the 4,700 person waiting list for DD services?”
    2. “Would you support funding to begin the task of eliminating this waiting list?”
    3. “What is your opinion of the Governor’s proposal of including services for folks with I/DD in KanCare?”

  • The primary election is August 7th.  Remember, EVERYTHING is up for grabs.

In other news, the State is again getting ready to submit its 1115 waiver to the Feds. Once the waiver request has been submitted, there will be a public comment period.  You’ll be kept in the loop!

Additionally, End the Wait Kansas is beginning a local area committee in the Johnson County community.  Anyone interested in actively working to end the DD waiting list plan on attending this initial meeting.

Oak Park Library
9500 Bluejacket St, Overland Park, Kansas 66214-2228
Thursday, July 19, 2012
6:30pm – 8:30pm.

Happy researching!

Warm regards,
Lurena Mead

JCDS Community Relations Manager

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