Thursday, June 16, 2011



California's Adult Day Healthcare Program serves the health, respite, social and nutritional needs of 35,000 California seniors and people with disabilities. It has been a model program replicated across the nation, and provides unique services that are not available through other programs.

California has a responsibility to provide cost-effective home and community-based services to its citizens with disabilities; it must not force people out of their homes and into nursing homes. In addition, the Lewin consulting group has estimated that cutting Adult Day Healthcare will directly cost the state $53 million more than it saves.

Eight centers that provide these services have already closed because of previous cuts to the program, turning the lives of people and families upside-down. Without action, all Adult Day Health programs will be forced to close their doors. The Sacramento Bee has called this program "Well worth saving," and the California Legislature has voted to restore part of the funding. The final decision now rests with Governor Brown.

Please join us in asking the Governor to take two steps to save the Adult Day Healthcare program:

  • Sign AB 96 to Continue the Program
  • Retain the Legislature's $85 Million Budget Appropriation to Fund the Program
Go to our website to Take Action and send a message to Governor Brown, urging him to save Adult Day Healthcare for the 35,000 Californians who depend on these services.

-Contributed by Laurel Mildred, MSW, CFILC Olmstead Advocacy Direct</span>

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Following recent legislative deadlines for bills to be reported out of their policy and fiscal committees, CFILC’s 2011 Legislative Agenda has been updated.  The following are the ACTIVE and INACTIVE bills.  The 2-year bills remain active, but must be passed under an expedited schedule in January 2012.

The bills that are INACTIVE are shown in RED.   


AB 410 (Swanson) State Agency Regulations: Accessibility to the Blind and Visually Impaired
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: Requires state agencies, upon request from a blind or visually impaired person, to provide a narrative description of proposed state agency regulations. 
Status:      ACTIVE.


AB 9 (Ammiano) Pupil Rights: Bullying
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: Requires school districts to adopt policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying, including pupils with disabilities.  
Status:      ACTIVE.  

AB 519 (Hernandez) Pupil Discipline: Restraints and Seclusion
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: This bill prohibits schools and school employees from using chemical restraints, mechanical restraints, physical restraints, or physical seclusion to control the behavior of special education students. 
Status:      ACTIVE.  AB 620 is now a 2-year bill.

AB 533 (Yamada) Continued Funding for Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living Centers During State Budget Impasses

Description: This bill would have enabled Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living Centers to continue to receive Federal funding during state budget impasses. 
Status:      INACTIVE  

AB 620 (Block) Postsecondary Educational Institutions: Policies Intimidation and Bullying
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: This bill requires state institutions of higher education to adopt policies prohibiting students from engaging in acts of intimidation or bullying. 
Status:      ACTIVE.


AB 264 (Hagman) Transitional Housing: Notice Requirements
CFILC Position: Oppose.

Description: AB 264 would have required new transitional housing projects for the homeless to provide advance notice to all residents living within 300 feet of a project. CFILC opposed the bill because it was discriminatory. 
Status:      INACTIVE  

AB 1198 (Norby) Land Use: Housing Element: Need Assessment
CFILC Position: Oppose.

Description: This bill would have repealed existing law requiring the Department on Housing and Community Development to identify existing and projected regional housing needs. CFILC opposed the bill because the State must continue to play this role. 
Status:      INACTIVE  


AB 66 (Chesbro) Taxation: Vehicle License Fees

Description: This bill would raise the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) to the levels they were prior to Governor Schwarzenegger’s fee reduction. It would provide $4 billion annually to offset budget cuts.
Status:      ACTIVE.  AB 66 is now a 2-YEAR BILL.

AB 594 (Yamada) California Department of Aging and Adult Services
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: This bill creates a new single state agency to coordinate all state-administered home and community-based programs for independent living.
Status:      ACTIVE.  AB 594 is now a 2-YEAR BILL.

AB 889 (Ammiano) Domestic Workers
CFILC Position:  Oppose, Unless Amended.

Description:  This bill would give Domestic Workers, including personal attendants serving seniors and people with disabilities, certain labor protections and benefits, including overtime compensation and accrued vacation time.  Currently, it would include  low-income, non-IHSS eligible disabled persons who pay for their personal attendants, so CFILC is seeking to exempt them.
Status:  ACTIVE.

SB 21 (Liu) Long-Term Care: Assessment and Planning

Description: SB 21 would have reformed the long-term care system to make it easier for aged or disabled persons to access supportive services post-hospitalization by requiring counties to provide case management and transitional services.
Status:      INACTIVE 

SB 33 (Simitian) Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: This bill would make the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act that requires financial institutions to report suspected financial abuse permanent law.  
Status:      ACTIVE.

SB 930 (Evans) IHSS: Enrollment and Fingerprinting Requirements

Description: SB 930 repeals the mandatory fingerprinting of IHSS recipients and a prohibition for the use of post office boxes to receive their checks. 
Status:      ACTIVE.


AB 441 (Monning) State Transportation Planning
CFILC Position: Support, if Amended

Description: This bill would have required local transportation plans to include “health equity and health issues.” CFILC was seeking amendments to encourage Olmstead implementation in that planning. 
Status:      INACTIVE  


AB 346 (Atkins) Polling Places in Higher Education Institution Campuses
CFILC Position: Support.

Description: This bill requires the establishment of polling places on the campuses of state funded higher education institutions to increase student voter turnout in elections. 
Status:      ACTIVE.

Friday, June 3, 2011


In my last posted Blog, I had issued a BAD NEWS ALERT that warned Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) customers about a May 26th California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Meeting where they would hear public testimony and vote on two new proposed rate increases.  The first will assess a fixed charge for all of its customers and the other will lower the “baseline” above which they would pay higher rates for electricity.  The rate increases were approved by the CPUC.

I testified on behalf of people with disabilities to follow up on a CFILC letter of opposition we sent to the CPUC.  We were asked by The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and Disability Rights Advocates to give a disability community perspective to the proposal.  Consumer and utility advocates argued that the rate increases violate state law that only allows moderate increases over time for low-income customers.

I was disappointed to learn at the last minute that my 3 minutes of allotted time was reduced to 2 minutes! It forced me to scramble to cut my well-rehearsed presentation, so I spoke quickly and violated the public testimony speed limit.

Nevertheless, I testified that the rate increases would be a substantial financial hardship for people with disabilities.  They would come on top of recent state budget actions that reduced income benefits, required copayments for medical appointments and prescriptions, and lowered Medi-Cal coverage for Durable Medical Equipment and medical supplies.  These rising costs are challenging the ability of the disabled to afford living independently.

Lowering the baseline will also hurt people whose medical conditions require maintaining constant air conditioned temperatures or medical equipment usage.  Others live in subsidized housing that uses electricity for heating. 

The proposals allegedly would encourage energy conservation, but these customers have no such options and will only end up paying more. It’s likely that many will find the increases unaffordable and may be forced to default on their utility bills and risk electricity shutdowns.

It was apparent that CPUC President Michael Peevey, who sponsored the proposal, had paved the way for its approval.  It was smooth sailing because a new commissioner appointed by Governor Brown could not vote because his prior advocacy was a conflict of interest. 

Nevertheless, TURN and other advocates negotiated some minor improvements to the original proposal.  They were able to extend the rate increase phase-in period.  Sometimes political success means working hard to make a devastating proposal merely alarming.  It is admittedly a subtle nuance.

It’s ironic that the rate increases were proposed to “level the playing field” between rates paid by low-income customers and businesses and higher users.  It was claimed that low-income rates needed to be increased because they had been exempted by state law that expired in 2009. 

Of course, that philosophy is consistent with the kind of thinking that is going on in Congress today in the Federal Budget debate.  Republicans claim that stimulating economic recovery requires lowering taxes and fees for the wealthy and corporations.  They advocate for the elimination of programs assisting seniors, the poor, and people with disabilities and to force them to pay more out of their shrinking household budgets. 

And so it goes.