URGENT: Florida Democratic Disability Caucus Supports Florida Senate to Stand behind FHIX

The Florida Democratic Disability Caucus is standing behind the Florida State Senate and encouraging them to hold their ground with their current budget after the failure of the State House to pass comprehensive healthcare reform for Florida’s citizens yesterday. On Wednesday, June 3rd, the Florida Senate passed SB 2-A, the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX, program, by a 33-3 vote. Senate President Andy Gardiner along with State Senators like our own Sen. Darren Soto, Kelli Stargel and Sen. Geraldine Thompson have virtually unanimously championed Healthcare Expansion for nearly one million Floridians throughout this session, creating a bi-partisan solution to a problem we have been battling for over three years. We heard from Senators across the state time and time again that they would not allow a budget to pass with out Healthcare Expansion.

Yesterday, the house voted against Medicaid Expansion killing this bill. With only 4 republicans voting in favor. The FDDC would like to say how grateful to House Representatives like our own Bruce Antone, Randolph Bracy, John Cortes, and Victor Torres Jr. We would also like to note that we commend Representative Rene Plasencia for doing the right thing and crossing party lines with this issue. However in general the actions of the Florida House are unacceptable. Representatives like Mike Miller and Bob Cortes who cast their votes against the voters of  Orange County will not go unchecked. The FDDC will be participating in activities with other organizations to makes sure voters are informed and hold their Elected Officials accountable at the ballot box.

On May 27th Democrats from across the state gathered to stand in Solidarity with the Democratic Disability Caucus. Democrats from across the state rallied in Orange County to present a unified front. Representatives from the Democratic Hispanic Caucus, Rainbow Dems, Democratic Environmental Caucus, Florida Young Democrats, Democratic Women’s Caucus and all chapters of the Florida Democratic Disability Caucus were in attendance. Orange County DDC President Tiffany Namey spoke first her message was clear. “We are asking the Senate NOT TO BACK DOWN!…Expand Healthcare NOW!” Once again we are calling for the same message and asking for others to do the same. The only way we can get Medicaid Expansion for 650,000-850,000 Floridians back on the table is for the Senate to refuse to pass a budget that does not include Medicaid Expansion.

The Florida Democratic Disability Caucus is issuing a call to action! With approximately 7 people dying every day desperate times call for desperate measures and we need you to act with us. We are asking Floridians to use hash tag #FLSenateDon’tBackDown on Facebook and Twitter, write Op-Ed pieces to the newspapers, call the television and radio stations, and most importantly call the Senate and House members and tell them as voters you will not accept a budget that does not include Healthcare Expansion.

The Florida Democratic Disability Caucus’s Role is to empower residents living with disabilities, visible and invisible, their loved ones and caretakers to have a voice in legislation and policies and to promote candidates that together will lead to healthier lives and strengthen the Constitutional ideal that all Americans are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thank you, members!

To All Members:

The Democratic Disability Caucus of Florida will be having a membership meeting on Saturday June 13th from 2 PM til 3 PM in rooms 312/313 at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, FL during Leadership Blue weekend. We will be discussing issues that went on during Legislative Session, meeting 2016 Candidates and also voting on the following changes to our Bylaws which will take effect immediately if passed. Changes to the Bylaws are as follows:

Article IV Officers Section 2 General Provisions, 
Section B Changing elections for Officers to EVERY 
OTHER State Convention Beginning THIS YEAR 2015.

Section C Changing the term of office for Officers to FOUR (4) years From TWO (2) years

Section D ELIMINATING the TERM LIMIT of 2 terms and leaving it blank.

AND in Article V Election Of Officers Section 4, DECREASING the amount of time that a Candidate for President can speak from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and the time that Candidates for Other Offices can speak from 10 Minutes to 3 Minutes.

These PROPOSED Changes will make for smoother transitions and easier elections.

Please plan on attending and voting

Thank you

Bill Rettinger, President, Democratic Disability Caucus of Florida
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Orange County DDC Press Rally a Success!

The Orange County Democratic Disability Caucus (OCDDC) hosted a Press Conference and Rally on Wednesday May 27, 2015 on the patio of DOC’s Streetside Grille across from Orlando Regional Medical Center at 10:00 A.M. The Conference & Rally were in protest to the failure of the State Legislature to pass comprehensive healthcare reform for Florida’s citizens.

Democrats from across the state were in attendance to present a unified front and included Representatives from the Democratic Hispanic Caucus, Rainbow Dems, Florida Young Democrats, and representatives of the chapters of the Florida Democratic Disability Caucus.

Speakers included Orange County Democratic Disability Caucus President Tiffany Namey, Florida DDC President Bill Rettinger, Orange County DDC Vice President and current Medicaid recipient Wes Hodge, Orange County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Carlos Smith, Former State Representative Linda Stuart, and House Representative Victor Torres.

The event was well attended by local tv, print & other media.  The links to media coverage will be posted upon availability.

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Bill Watch: SB 642 and HB 935

THE DEMOCRATIC DISABILITY CAUCUS OF FLORIDA SUPPORTS SB 642 & HB 935

“Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act”

_    Creates the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, which would assist individuals with disabilities in saving money without losing their eligibility for state and federal benefits.

–    Provides a pathway for economic independence and a better quality of life.

–    ABLE accounts resemble the federal 529 – college saving plans (tax advantaged savings accounts).

–    Program was created by the Federal ABLE Act of 2014.

–    The Florida ABLE program would facilitate the ability of individuals with disabilities to work and live independently without losing access to Medicaid & SSI.

–    Linked to SB644/HB937 and SB646/HB939, which establishes records keeping and administrative infrastructure.

Attached is the ARC Overview

http://www.thearc.org/document.doc?id=5008

Bill Watch: HB 69 and SB 330

The DEMOCRATIC DISABILITY CAUCUS OF FLORIDA IS supporting HB69 & SB 330 – Rescue Device Bills for Individuals with Special Needs

Currently,  HB 69 & SB 330:

Establishes a variety of requirements relating to how state & local law enforcement agencies respond to and investigate reports of missing & endangered persons.  They expand the definition of the term “missing endangered person” to include “a missing person with special needs who is at risk of becoming lost or is prone to wander due to autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability, or any other disease or condition.”

Authorizes any person to submit a missing endangered person report concerning a missing person with special needs to the Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC) (so long as they have reported the person with special needs missing to a local law enforcement agency and the agency has entered the report into Florida Crime Information Center/National Crime Information Center);  and grants civil immunity to specified parties responding to a law enforcement agency’s request to broadcast information relating to a missing person with special needs.