A scene of people with various disabilities gathered around a blue lake, enjoying their home, community, the out-of-doors, health, recreation, housing, transportation and education with an accessible path for them to a high mountain and large yellow sun on the horizon.  New Horizons Un-Limited Inc.

Disability News

Hot Off the Press! 2013 News Archives

Legislation: Wisconsin - 2013 Archives

The contents of this page are now dated and will not be moderated. If you experience obsolete information or links, please contact us.

Connect with new-horizons.org    Find us on facebook    NHU Word Press Blog    NHU Community Forum    Contact Us

Please also check out Legislation: Wisconsin for the latest on important legislative issues that could impact Wisconsinites with Disabilities
What's New in Legislation? Archives

If you have recently viewed this page, after loading the page be sure to click on the refresh button on your browser to see the current version of Advocacy Alert! Wisconsin and the articles below.

Stay on Top of Legislation that Impacts You

Sign Up to Receive Our Free NHU Wisconsin Advocacy Alerts! via e-mail to stay on top of important Wisconsin legislation.

The Wisconsin Legislative Notification System provides you the opportunity to follow important legislation through daily or weekly e-mails for specific legislative activities. You can choose items by Proposal, Committee, Author or Subject and can select the activities for which you would like to receive notifications. It's your future! Get involved! Stay involved!

Contact Your Lawmakers

To call or email your legislators, find your Wisconsin State legislators and their contact information: Who Are My Legislators?

Learn How to Effectively Communicate with Your Lawmakers

Partners in Making Your Case is a free, self-paced online course that will give you tips on how to communicate your needs with your lawmakers.

Advocacy Alert! December 2013 -The Wisconsin Joint Finance Hearing on BadgerCare and Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan

DAWN published the following article that The Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee will meet on Monday, December 2, 2013 to hear testimony on delaying the transition of 77,000 people from BadgerCare to the federal Affordable Care Act health exchanges and the dissolution of the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan (HIRSP).

The state has changed the eligibility standards for BadgerCare, which means about 77,000 people currently on BadgerCare will not be eligible for the program after January 1, 2014. These individuals would be required to purchase health insurance from the federal health care exchanges. Because the health care exchanges may not be fully operational, inaction by Joint Finance could result in 77,000 BadgerCare recipients not having health care coverage.

Delaying the changes to the BadgerCare program will mean that individuals who earn up to 133% of federal poverty level will continue to be eligible for Medicaid through BadgerCare, and waiting lists for people who earn up to 100% of the federal poverty level will continue until March 31, 2014. Contact your Senators on the Joint Finance Committee.

Advocacy Alert! October 2013 DAWN is encouraging people to participate in suggestion surveys on a variey of topics developed by the Disability Policy Partnership

The Disability Policy Partnership which includes BPDD, Disability Rights Wisconsin, and the Waisman Center. The first in the series is on Transportation. The Disability Policy Partnership wants to hear from you about transportation! What is working, what isn’t working, and what can be done to improve transportation options for people with disabilities in Wisconsin. Please take a few moments to complete this brief online survey. Please feel free to forward this survey to self-advocates and families who are interested in improving transportation. Responses to this survey will guide the Disability Policy Partnership in working to improve transportation for people with disabilities.

Advocacy Alert! - September 2013 - DAWN is encouraging people to raise awareness of employment for people with disabilities by participating in the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign sponsored by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities

Every fall, BPDD conducts the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign to raise awareness about the importance of community-integrated employment for people with disabilities in Wisconsin. Conducted in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October), the campaign highlights how everyone wins when people with disabilities have community-integrated jobs at a competitive wage. When people with disabilities are employed in the community, they are more likely to be independent, pay taxes, and contribute to the local economy. They are also less likely to rely on publicly-funded programs and services. People with disabilities who are interested in participating in the campaign should get approval from your employer, fill out the application and BPDD will contact you. To begin, get your Get Started Kit, Information for Employers and your Participant Application. For more information, contact the BPDD - Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign


Advocacy Alert! - August 2013 - DAWN published an article on the Survival Coalition's release of their Budget Summary report assessing the impact of the Wisconsin state budget on people with disabilities.

"The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations released the 2013 Wisconsin Legislative Budget Summary. The report shows that other than significant improvements in supports for people with mental health disorders and some new funding for transportation, there were few positive gains for people with disabilities in the 2013-15 biennial budget. The report assesses impacts on people with disabilities based on funding and policy decisions contained in the new budget. The analysis covers programs that impact people with various disabilities across their lifespan – including education, long-term care for children and adults, Medicaid, health care, employment, transportation, mental health, and the long-term care workforce. To see the few priorities that were passed and DAWN's role in the advocacy, visit The Big Picture: Budget Recap To review the many budget priorities not addressed, visit the Survival’s 2013-2015 Biennial Budget Priorities. Even though the state budget has been passed and signed into law, there will be many opportunities to advocate for disability issues in the months ahead. If you are interested in improving your leadership skills, consider applying for Wisconsin Partners in Policymaking. The deadline to apply is Sept. 1, 2013.

Advocacy Alert! - August 2013 - DAWN published article on Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Ebele is in the process of developing the 2014 Milwaukee County budget and he is seeking input from the public.

Do you have concerns for people with disabilities in the areas of transit and paratransit services, mental health services, housing, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, or other priorities. You can share your budget priorities with the County Executive in writing and submit by mail or email can be sent to countyexec@milwcnty.com.

Advocacy Alert! - June 13, 2013 - DAWN published an article on Wisconsin’s Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services change on August 1, 2013

There will be several regional town hall meetings in the upcoming weeks. MTM will begin managing Wisconsin’s Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services on August 1, 2013. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the new NEMT services and how they could affect you. Visit DAWN's announcement for the times and locations of the town hall meetings that will offer information on the NEMT changes, introduce MTM, explain the scheduling processes, and address other general topics and questions concerning transportation.

Advocacy Alert! - June 11, 2013 - DAWN publishes new alert: Final Decision on Family Care will be made by the legislature next week

DAWN published the article that the Wisconsin Assembly will vote next week; take action now! The final decision on Family Care/IRIS expansion will be made by the Assembly next week. There is still a chance to end wait lists for people with disabilities and aging Wisconsin residents with long-term support needs so they can stay in their communities. Contact your Assembly member now using DAWN's Take Action tool. For more information on advocating on this issue and their Take Action Tool: visit, Family Care/Iris expansion

Advocacy Alert! - June 10, 2013 - Wisconsin Legislature Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections will vote on additions to the Voter ID Bill

"Under the law, voters will still be asked to present an ID, and if they do not have one, they must sign an affidavit swearing not only that they do not have the forms of identification required under the law, but also declaring that they either are too poor to get an ID or cannot gather the necessary documentation." From "War on Democracy in Wisconsin: Bill Would Enact Voter ID, End Disclosure, Limit Early Voting, Expand Lobbyist Influence by Brendan Fischer — May 29, 2013, PRWatch

For people with disabilities who have difficulty getting to the DMV to obtain a voter ID, the representatives once again are missing all the reasons why obtaining a voter ID is difficult for people with disabilities. We are placing the burden again on the voter, instead of allowing their right to vote. If you feel it is unfair for a person with a disability to swear under penalty of perjury why they cannot get their ID please let your representative know.

DAWN issued the following article about the Committee to Vote on Photo ID Bill this Week This newly introduced bill could make voting more difficult for people with disabilities.

This week, the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections will vote on Assembly Bill 225, which includes provisions that could impact voting accessibility for people with disabilities.

The bill mandates that citizens present a photo ID to vote. Some people with disabilities don’t have a photo ID because – due to transportation challenges – they cannot get to the Department of Motor Vehicles, especially during office hours.

The bill also restricts the hours of in-person absentee voting. People with disabilities are more likely than people without disabilities to vote in-person with an absentee ballot. People with disabilities utilize absentee ballots because it can be difficult to secure transportation on Election Day. Also, absentee ballots allow people with disabilities to avoid waiting in long lines, which can cause undue mental and physical stress. People who live in larger municipalities will be most-impacted by this restriction, since larger municipalities often hold weekend or extended evening hours to accommodate their larger populations.

If you have concerns about this bill, use DAWN’s easy Take Action tool to contact your Assembly person today!

Advocacy Alert! - June 5, 2013 - There is still time to contact your legislator. The Assembly will take up the state budget in the coming week. Advocates can still take action.

DAWN issued the following recap of the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature: Disability Issues in the State Budget - Contact your legislators and how these issues will affect you!

Early this morning, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) completed its work on the 2013-2015 State Budget. The Assembly will address and vote on the state budget in the coming weeks. The following is a recap of the final motions adopted by JFC on key disability issues that disability advocates have been tracking:
Special needs scholarships: JFC voted to adopt Alternative 4 from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Budget Paper #517, which would delete the provision for special need scholarships.
Special education funding: A motion by the minority party to increase funding for Categorical Aids by $64M in 2014-15 was not adopted in a 12-4 party-line vote.
Medicaid Expansion: In a 12-4 party-line vote, Republican members of JFC voted to reject a Democratic motion to accept federal money designated for expansion of BadgerCare as part of implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Family Care/IRIS expansion: A minority party motion to expand Family Care and IRIS long-term supports for the elderly and people with disabilities waiting in northeast Wisconsin was not adopted in a 12-4 party-line vote. JFC voted to put off the decision and required another study that will be due in December 2013.
Children’s Long-Term Care Supports: A motion by the minority party to increase funding for Children’s Long-Term Care Supports (CLTS) by $5.463M in 2013 and $10M in 2014-15 was defeated in a 12-4 party-line vote. If adopted, the motion would have taken 482 children with significant disabilities off the CLTS waitlist annually and provided short-term assistance to another 300 children annually under the CLTS waiver.
Transit: JFC voted to support increased funding for paratransit by $2.75M annually.
With the budget moving to the Assembly, disability advocates can still make a difference and improve the lives of people with disabilities in Wisconsin. If you are concerned about any of these issues, contact your legislators now.

Advocacy Alert! - June 3, 2013 - DAWN issued the following notice: Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature will meet Tuesday to address thethe Expansion of Family Care which includes children's long-term supports

Legislators will address the Expansion of Family Care Joint Finance Committee to meet tomorrow – contact your legislators now!

Tomorrow the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is scheduled to decide whether Family Care/IRIS can expand to seven counties in northeast Wisconsin. Family Care/IRIS provides community-based services to people with disabilities and older adults who need long-term support so they don’t have to live in institutions. Right now, waits for supports in those northeastern counties can last 10 years or more. Use DAWN’s easy Take Action tool now to contact your legislators and tell them to support Family Care expansion!

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Budget Paper #327 cites several arguments in favor of the expansion of Family Care to northeast Wisconsin:

Equal treatment of counties – the State has approved all previous requests for expansion from other counties
Equal opportunity for consumers – residents of the northeast counties do not have the same opportunity to receive Family Care and IRIS as other people in Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s commitment to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – the Department of Health Services (DHS) made a formal commitment to the federal government to make Family Care statewide
Cost savings – DHS capped Family Care expansion in 2011 in order to develop and implement cost savings strategies, which are now in place
Unfair burden on taxpayers – taxpayers in the northeast counties have been helping to cover the cost of these programs in other counties for over a decade but are not receiving the benefits themselves; that’s not fair

If you think Family Care should be expanded to northeast Wisconsin, contact your legislators now using the Take Action tool!

Advocacy Alert! - May 31, 2013 - DAWN issued the following notice: Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature will meet next week to address the Department of Health Services budget which includes children's long-term supports

Tell Your Legislators to Support Families of Children with Disabilities. The Joint Finance Committee to meet next week – contact your legislators now!
Next week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will address the Department of Health Services budget, which includes children's long-term supports. Currently there is no motion to increase funding for children's long-term supports, which would take children with the most significant disabilities off wait lists and keep families together. Now is the time to take action on the children’s long-term supports waiting list! The Survival Coalition proposes increasing funding to take an additional 1,000 families off the waiting list. Survival also proposes increasing funding to provide for short-term service coordination for an additional 600 families so they can be connected with services outside the children’s long-term care system. Legislators need to hear from families in Wisconsin who are waiting for – and need access to – children’s long-term care supports. Legislators also need to hear from families who have received long-term care support and how it has helped them. If this issue is important to you, tell your legislators to contact JFC members and request a motion to increase funding for children’s long-term supports. Contact your legislators now.
For more information about this topic, check out the http://www.wi-bpdd.org/whoweare/2013wipolicystatements/CLTS.pdf Long-Term Supports for Children policy brief from Disability Rights Wisconsin.

Advocacy Alert! - May 29, 2013 - DAWN issued the following notice: Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature will meet Wednesday to address public education funding and public funding for private school vouchers

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will address public education funding on Wednesday, May 29. Now is the time to contact your legislators and ask them to do what is best for students with disabilities in Wisconsin. Use DAWN's easy, Take Action tool for you to contact your legislators. The tool includes the talking points above and allows you to add your own messages. This is important as public funds will go to private schools without increasing their accountability. The bill directs money to come out of the individual 's public school district for every student who attends a private choice school in Racine and Milwaukee. Without accountability parents and the state have no way of knowing how their special needs student is benefitting from the private education and it takes needed funds from special education in the public schools that have been cut from the last state budget. For more information about the education issues being addressed, visit DAWN's article at JFC to Vote on Education Budget Wednesday

Advocacy Alert! - May 23, 2013 - DAWN issued the following notice: Advocate for Transportation Funding Now Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature to meet Thursday

DAWN issued the following notice that the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) of the Wisconsin State Legislature will address transportation funding this Thursday. Now is the time to contact members of the committee and your legislators and ask them to make sure people with disabilities in Wisconsin have access to adequate public transportation.

Accessible and affordable transportation services are critical for people with disabilities to get to work, school, medical appointments, and to participate in the community. Unfortunately, transportation services remain at risk in Wisconsin. In the 2011-2012 State Budget, Transit Operating Aids received a 10% cut. Currently, JFC is considering moving funds from the segregated transportation fund into the general fund where they could be used for other budget items – not transportation.

If you are concerned about this issue, please contact JFC members and your legislators now and make the following asks:
1. Restore the 10% cut in Transit Operating Aids made during the 2011-2012 State Budget.
2. Keep transit funding in the segregated transportation fund to ensure that these funds are not in competition with funds for other services.
3. Increase funding for the Specialized Transportation Assistance Program for Older Adults and People with Disabilities by $5 million, over the biennium.

Thank you for advocating for accessible and affordable transportation in Wisconsin!

Advocacy Alert! - April 2, 2013 - Wisconsin Vote Tuesday April 2, 2013 - Let Your Voice Be Heard!

The ballot this spring includes many important races such as the State Supreme Court race, with current Justice Pat Roggensack is facing challenger Ed Fallone.  Visit their websites for more information about their positions.

Also the State Superintendent of Public Instruction race (See next article below) as well as local officials like City Council, Mayor or School Board members. To find out exactly who will be on your ballot and where you vote, go to https://myvote.wi.gov/.

Photo identification is not needed to vote in this election. Voters will be asked to sign the poll book. Anyone who is not physically able to sign the poll book can be exempt from the requirement. If you are physically able, you can sign your name or use a mark or a stamp signature. A mark can be an “X.”

If you have any questions about registering to vote, accessible voting machines, the voting process, or your rights as a voter, contact the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline at 800/928-8778 or 888/758-6049 (TTY/TEXTNET).

April 2, 2013 - Ballot will include State Superintendent of Public Instruction race - Special Needs Vouchers are of concern for families of children with special needs.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, is the incumbent in the race for state superintendent a non-partisan state position against challenger Don Pridemore. A candidate forum on Special Education Policies and Procedures was held at Sage Hall on the UW Oshkosh campus on March 1. DAWN has published a video of the event so you can choose for yourself. To watch the event go to: The Forum which allowed the candidates to express their viewpoints and highlight their differences in approach and philosophy on special education in Wisconsin. A focus of the forum was voucher school funding and standards, and protections of parents’ and students’ rights. While the forum’s focus was on special education policy, the candidates also discussed issues of bullying and school security. See the article about the candidate forum at Door County Advocate The event was co-sponsored by Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition, WI FACETS, WI Family Ties, Quality Education Council, Wisconsin Reading Coalition, UW Oshkosh Department of Special Education and College of Education and Human Services and Options for Independent Living.

Advocacy Alert! March 20, 2013 - Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations will host Disability Advocacy Day in Madison

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations will host Disability Advocacy Day on March 20, 2013. A day for you to connect with your legislators and share your story with them, tell them how legislative policies affect people with disabilities. The survival coalition will give a briefing and will set up your legislative visit. See the article at Disability Advocacy Day. You can register online or by submitting the registration form. The deadline to register is Wednesday, March 13.

February 2013 - Wisconsin Speaker Vos has created Task Force on Mental Health - Representative Sandy Pasch to co-chair

Assembly Speaker Vos created a Task Force on Mental Health to address some of the issues facing individuals living with mental illness. As a mental health nurse who has long been an advocate for improving mental health services, Representative Sandy Pasch is to serve as Vice-Chair on the new Task Force. She believes that we will be able to have a constructive dialogue about the importance of providing access to treatment and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. She is also hopeful that the Mental Health Task Force will produce real, positive legislative action that supports health services for individuals living with these treatable mental health conditions. We will keep you posted on the developments of this Task Force.

February 2013 - Wisconsin Survival Coalition and Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities has issued priorities for the 2013-2015 Wisconsin State Budget

Check out these two papers on the viewpoint of peoplew with disabilities on state budget priorities. Survival Coalition 2013-2015 Wisconsin Budget Priorities and the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities 2013 Wisconsin Budget Priorities

Advocacy Alert! February 2013 - Act now to let your legislators know how you feel about moving Special Needs public school money going to private schools through vouchers

Here are the facts (see link below) from other states and cities that have implemented Special Needs Vouchers. The ones who lose are the children.

DAWN has sent out the following article to "Take Action to Stop Special Needs Vouchers." Now is the time to contact your legislators and take action on this issue. Use this easy form to contact your legislators.

Gov. Scott Walker plans to include special needs vouchers in his 2013-2015 State Budget that he will introduce Wednesday, February 20th. Families from around the state held a media event at the Capitol to share their concerns. View photos from this Media Event Join this grassroots group of families and their children with disabilities in asking the Wisconsin Legislature to take special needs vouchers out of the budget.

Efforts to improve outcomes for students with disabilities should include putting additional funds toward public school special education services instead of private school vouchers. Special needs vouchers could negatively affect students with disabilities and drain critical resources from small Wisconsin school districts. Families lose all their federal protections when they leave public schools, and private schools are not accountable for student outcomes. To learn more about concerns surrounding special needs vouchers, check out this comprehensive fact sheet.

Including special needs vouchers in the Governor’s budget does not allow for adequate public input on this important policy issue so contacting your legislators may be the only way for you to have input.

Advocacy Alert! January 2013 - Get involved in State budget planning now! It impacts you!

Your legislators are now considering the 2013-2015 State Budget and the many issues important to you! Issues like long-term care, employment, education, Medicaid, and transportation will be addressed by the Legislature as they develop the state budget. Start a conversation now with your legislators to ensure that they takes your needs and concerns into consideration. To help you better prepare for conversations with your legislators, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) will hold regional budget trainings throughout the state. Locations and dates will be announced soon. You may also wish to review the WI BPDD's 2013-15 Budget Platform and the Survival Coalition's 2013-15 Biennial Budget Priorities. Do not let your future be decided without you!

Advocacy Alert! - December 19, 2012 - Fiscal Cliff: The Impact on People with Disabilities - What Does It Mean to You?

The following article was sent by DAWN (Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network) The Congress and the President are negotiating over more than only taxes. If they cannot reach a decision by the beginning of January and if they add cuts to entitlement programs, besides the tax increases and federal spending cuts, there will be drastic cuts to discretionary programs that affect people with disabilities. If you are served by any of the programs relying on a fixed federal funding including those for people with disabilities mentioned below or are concerned about cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, please contact President Obama on his website or contact your Congressional Representative through their website. The House members can inform Speaker Boehner of their constituents’ opinions.

People with disabilities will be impacted in a variety of ways if Congress and the President do not reach agreement to change current law by the end of the year. A combination of federal spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect at the end of 2012 and beginning of January 2013 if no action is taken.

If President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner cannot reach agreement, some taxes will increase, tax credits will expire, and federal unemployment benefits will end. While these actions are concerning, advocates are focused on drastic cuts to discretionary programs like general and special education, employment supports, and housing programs that people with disabilities rely on. Each program would be cut about 8 percent.

Unlike entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, discretionary programs get a fixed sum of funding. If funds are cut, Wisconsin will receive less federal aid to support a wide range of programs, such as vocational rehabilitation.

Services that assist all citizens will also be cut. Public safety and law enforcement, medical and scientific research, public health; and environmental protection are only a few examples of the services that will be cut is current law is not changed.

The details about the bill to avoid the fiscal cliff are constantly changing. Some entitlement reforms are now under discussion. Congress and the President need to hear from constituents whether programs that serve people with disabilities, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and many of the discretionary programs need to remain strong without changes.

For more on the topic of Legislation:

Editorials / FAQ / Guides / Legislation and Rights / Court Decisions / News

If you have questions or ideas, information and solutions that you would like to share with us, we can be reached on the Net at: horizons@new-horizons.org or to use our NHU E-Mail Form or NHU Community Forum, click on the links below.
Home  /  Disability News  /  NHU Quarterly Newsletter
Share Your Knowledge!  /  NHU Community Forum  /  Contact Us
About NHU  /  Announcements and Features  /  Contribute

©  Copyright 2014 New Horizons Un-Limited Inc.  
[Updated March 31, 2014]
NHU has no liability for content or goods on the Internet.