The above is a direct link to the Facebook page, “Different, not Diseased” that I co-moderate. The link details the back story and impact of the proposed legislation, S.F. 348.
Here, I will describe my personal reflection regarding the event. It was somewhat surreal because everything happened so quickly: I was notified on Friday that our “story” had been distributed to the state legislators. At that time I was also informed that legislation retaining a small amount of PCA services for those serviced due to one ADL (activity of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, etc) or Level I behaviors (broadly, “violent” behaviors related to mental health concerns) had been passed by the state legislature.
Considering that just a few weeks ago we were notified that all PCA services for our sons, serviced under level I behaviors, would be eliminated come July 1, 2011, the above news was cause for some jubilation…until I researched and read S.F. 348, the specific details of which can be read at the above link. Nevertheless, even a small victory, which I am told and believe is the most we can hope for this legislative session in Minnesota, is better than a complete defeat.
During my weekend research, I discovered that the bill was scheduled for hearing today rather than this upcoming Friday; however, I am also aware that these schedules can change. I made contact with the NAMI state office and heard back that indeed the hearing had been rescheduled for today. I made arrangements to head to St. Paul post haste and arrived in the nick of time as the topic was slated second on the agenda but had been moved forward. Due to the time-wrangling, NAMI’s state director, Sue Abderholden could not make it to the hearing on time, so mine became the “big gun” testimony, and I had not had much time to prepare. Fortunately, my years in the classroom and having to “wing-it” when a lesson flopped paid off, and I felt that my testimony was effective, especially when coupled with the story distributed to legislators last week.
There was no vote today, but I will post an update as soon as I know the outcome. For Minnesotans who would otherwise lose all PCA care services, I can only hope for passage of the bill. For all of us, I hope for better economic times ahead so that necessary programs and services will not continue to be cut at both the state and federal levels.
03.15.11 UPDATE: I have located an MP3 including my testimony and will upload when possible.