#AdvocacyMatters: A Cause for Celebration

July 30, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters

Now that the dust has settled on a chaotic – and at times disappointing – state budget cycle, we would be remiss to not recognize and celebrate the many victories our advocacy and partnerships were able to bring about.

The Ohio Home and Community Based Services Coalition, a coalition that we are proud to have supported this past year, was able to successfully advocate for much needed increases in HCBS provider pay rates. Amid an ongoing direct care worker crisis, the prospect of increased provider rates should help expand access to Ohioans with disabilities who wish to live and receive services within their community. While Governor DeWine vetoed some specific language around these measures, he committed to move forward with the increases through administrative action.

This budget bill also finally created a licensure program for Ohio’s hospitals. Shockingly, Ohio was the only state in the US without such a program prior to this budget cycle. These new measures will provide necessary oversight, ensuring every hospital facility in the state adheres to a set standard of care.

Finally, the new budget addresses Ohio’s unconstitutional school funding formula. This new funding plan will improve the educational opportunities for students with disabilities by investing more into special education services. Unfortunately Student Wellness and Success Funding was also built into the new formula, a change we worry could disproportionally impact services to some students with disabilities.

While the governor’s signature on the bill means that this budget cycle is complete, in many ways our work is just beginning. Throughout this process we forged new partnerships and welcomed new allies to grow our mission and amplify our message, all rooted deeply in advocating for the human, civil, and legal rights for Ohioans with disabilities. While some of our attention must now be directed at the Joint Committee created by this budget to examine and investigate our work that so many of you stood with us in pushing back against, we remain as focused on our mission as ever. All these victories wouldn’t have been possible without our supporters, showing just how much #AdvocacyMatters.

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