SACRAMENTO, CA-A coalition of state legislators, developmental disabilities services providers and their clients, and unions gathered at the State Capitol for a rally in support Assembly Bill 279 (Holden) to help people with developmental disabilities. Assembly Bill 279 requires the State to adjust reimbursement rates for developmental disability service providers to comply with mandated minimum wage increases.
With the passage of local minimum wage laws, organizations serving people with developmental disabilities are strained to continue their vital work as the reimbursement rates for those services are set and controlled by the State. As they continue to adhere to local mandates without receiving necessary funding, they will soon be forced to shut their doors on a population in need of their services.
“The Lanterman Act is known as The Bill of Rights for People with Developmental Disabilities, and it declares that people born with developmental disabilities possess the exact same human rights as all other members of our society. It declares that our family members, friends, and neighbors have the right to live as valued members of our communities,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “We must pass AB 279 to provide the funding our community organizations need to continue providing the vital services people need.”
Organizations that provide development disabilities services have appealed to the State for adjustments to their reimbursements in order to bring the wages of their employees who are under local mandates up to the legal minimum wage, and these adjustments did not make the final State Budget for the coming fiscal year.
“We are really trapped between these minimum wage laws that must be obeyed and the State’s refusal to provide the funds to pay them. We’ve got to fix this now,” said Dr. Ron Cohen, President and CEO United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. “AB 279 will provide the funds to meet our payroll and stay open. There is no place else for people to live, no one else is ready to serve them if we close”
Both Republicans and Democrats spoke at the rally including Assemblymember Chris Holden (author), Assemblymember Acosta, Senator Anderson, Assemblymember Tom Lackey, Senator Nancy Skinner and Senator Scott Weiner.