California State Legislature Passes Historic Budget for People with Disabilities

July,2, 2021

Californians with disabilities, their families, and their direct support workforce have reason to celebrate due to a historic investment of more than $3.5 billion approved by the Legislature and sent to Governor Newsom for signature and enactment. This funding, as summarized below, will increase access to services and supports, including regional center services, special education, SSI/SSP, IHSS, and Medi-Cal. The approved budget investments were a culmination of years of advocacy by the disability community combined with efforts of legislative champions in the State Capitol.

Still outstanding is a nearly $1 billion spending proposal from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) that uses funds made available in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for home and community-based services. Those investments in addition to the investments in the state budget combine to form a transformative era for disability services in California.

A more detailed budget report along with a look-back at advocacy efforts and acknowledgment of extraordinary commitment from legislators is forthcoming.

Summary Highlights of Budget Investments Impacting California’s Disability Community:

• Regional Center Services:

o Developmental Services Provider Rate Study. Phases in an ongoing $1.2 billionGeneral Fund (approximately $2 billion Total Funds) to fully phase in the rate study provider increases over a five-year period. This will help ensure providers receive fairer compensation and that families will continue to have access to the vital services provided.

o Restoration of Eliminated Services. Restores social recreation, camping services, educational services, and non-medical therapies for persons served, with $19 million General Fund in 2021-22, $31.6 M in 2022-23, and $36.8 million General Fund in 2023-24 and on-going

o Direct Support Workforce. $2.9 million General Fund in 2021- 22 to establish a training and certification program for direct service professionals tied to wage differentials. The program aims to reduce staff wage inequity, stabilize service access, and professionalize and diversify the workforce. Beginning in 2023-24, ongoing costs increase to $51 million General Fund.  $2.2 million General Fund in 2021- 22 to create a differential for bilingual service provider staff. Beginning in 2023-24, ongoing costs increase to $6.5 million General Fund.

o Service Coordination. $12.8 million ($10 million General Fund) for enhanced service coordination for individuals with low to no purchase of services within the regional center system.  Beginning in 2022-23, $61.8 million General Fund ongoing to hire additional service coordinators at Regional Centers for enhanced service coordination.

• Early Start. $23.8 million ongoing General Fund to provide children aging out of Early Start provisional Lanterman service eligibility up to age five.

• Medi-Cal at 50+, Regardless of Immigration Status. Provides ongoing funding growing to $1.3 billion to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to all income eligible Californians 50-plus years of age, regardless of immigration status.

• Medi-Cal Asset Test removal. Eliminates the Medi-Cal asset test for seniors to remove the “senior savings” penalty, to expand access to more income eligible seniors.

• SSI/SSP Legacy Cut Restoration. Provides $225 million in 2021-22 and $450 million in 2022-23 to restore 50 percent of the remaining 2009 SSI/SSP grant cut, and anticipates the remaining 50 percent of the cut will be restored in the 2023-24 budget year. This restoration (combined with Governor’s May Revision proposal) will increase the SSP grant by approximately $36 per month for individuals and $92 per month for couples.

• Permanent Restoration of IHSS 7% Hours Cut. Finally ends the legacy of 7% cut in in-home care services to elderly and disabled Californians. While the cut was restored in prior years, the threat of the cut remained by it being added to the list of program “suspensions” that would have automatically taken effect in future years.

• Special Education. Provides $396 million in ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to increase the statewide base rate for the special education formula and $260 million ongoing Proposition 98 to fund specified services for children ages 3- 5 years old. In addition, one-time funds of $550 million Proposition 98 are provided to invest in increased support for special education alternative dispute resolution and learning recovery supports for special education students associated with impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Youth Behavioral Health. Invests $4.4 billion dollars over five years to create a new, modern, and innovative behavioral health system for youth ages 0 to 25, including $205 million for the Mental Health Student Services Act to fund school an d county mental health partnerships to support the mental health and emotional needs of children and youth as they return to schools and everyday life.


The 2021-22 Legislative Session

Last week marked the beginning of what promises to be a very busy year. Both the Assembly and the Senate held the first of many budget hearings that will be held over the next 10 weeks. Policy committees are not far behind and the Capitol is still operative under COVID-19 restrictions and heightened security measures. The legislature faces many significant and pressing issues as they return to focus on policy and budget proposals. Among some of the most pressing issues identified by the legislature are COVID-19, safe re-opening of schools, police reform, wildfires, homelessness, and the Employment Development Department (EDD).

Within the next month we will see hundreds of legislative proposals (bills) submitted for consideration by the legislature (the introduction deadline is Feb. 19, 2021). Several proposals to address the impact of COVID-19 on education, early education, special education, learning loss, and distance learning issues have already been introduced. In addition, several proposals seek to address homelessness, tenancy rights, and police reform. As our legislative agenda develops we will seek support for issues that are critical to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and service providers. We look forward to advocating with all of you this year and encourage your participation in opportunities for public comment.

Welcome to the New California Assembly Members and Senators

The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new members of the legislature as well as to our friends that are returning to the legislature in a different position. Although the statewide election for California is yet to be officially certified, that happens on December 11, 2020, the results for most of the races are pretty solid. Below are the results as of Friday November 6, 2020. If you are in a district with a new member we encourage you to learn more about your member and perhaps after January 1, 2021 make an appointment (many offices are doing video or phone appointments) to introduce yourself to your new member and let them know what is important to you.

Senate District 5 – Stockton
Susan Eggman was elected to the Assembly in 2012 and she will move to the Senate seat previously held by Senator Galgiani. Dr. Eggman is a former Army medic, medical social worker, and associate professor of social work at CSU Sacramento. In addition to serving in the legislature, she was elected to serve on the Stockton City Council in 2006.

Senate District 13 Josh Becker – San Mateo/Palo Alto
Josh Becker is a public policy innovator working at the nexus of community activism, technology, and social justice. He has served for five years on the California State Workforce Development Board (appointed by Governor Jerry Brown), serves on the Child Care Partnership Council in San Mateo County, and is a Founding Trustee at the University of California Merced.

Senate District 15 – Santa Clara
Dave Cortese was first elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He served four years as Board president. Prior to joining the Board, he served for eight years on the San Jose City Council, including two years as vice mayor. Mr. Cortese graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory then University of California Davis where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science. He earned his Juris Doctorate at Lincoln University Law School in San Jose.

Senate District 17 – Monterey/San Luis Obispo
John Laird served as California Secretary for Natural Resources appointed by Governor Jerry Brown from January 5, 2011 until January 7, 2019. Mr. Laird also served as a member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board from 2008 to 2009 and taught state environmental policy at University of California Santa Cruz. In 2002, he was elected Assembly Member for the 27th District, which included portions of Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties, and reelected in 2004 and 2006.

Senate District – 19 – Santa Barbara/Ventura
Monique Limon was elected to the Assembly in 2016 and will move to the Senate seat previously held by Senator Jackson. She has worked continuously to serve her community as an educator, leader, and an advocate for causes advancing the quality of life in her community. Prior to being elected to the Assembly she served two terms on the Santa Barbara Unified School Board and as Assistant Director for the McNair Scholars Program at the University of California.

Senate District 23 – Rancho Cucamonga/Redlands [This race is too close to make any call]
The race between Abigail Medina (49.8%) and Rosilicei Ochoa Bogh (50.2%) this is a very close race so we will publish more info on this race in a later publication.

Senate District 29 – Fullerton/Yorba Linda
Josh Newman is a United States Army veteran, community activist, non-profit founder, and former State Senator for the 29th Senate district of California. He was elected to serve the 29th Senate District in November of 2016 but recalled in 2018 after a controversial vote on the gas tax. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Newman served as founder and Executive Director of ArmedForce2Workforce, a non-profit initiative founded in 2012 to assist young veterans in the Orange County/Greater Los Angeles area in the pursuit of rewarding, career-oriented employment.

Senate District 37 – Anaheim/Irvine/New Port Beach
Dave Min is a law professor at UC Irvine and has focused his research on building an economy that works for people of all backgrounds. Mr. Min spent his early career working for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to break up fraud operations, was a senior policy advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer, and served as deputy staff director on the Joint Economic Committee.

Assembly District 25 – Fremont/Santa Clara
Alex Lee has worked as a Legislative Policy Advisor, most recently for Senator Henry Stern, in the Senate as well as having worked in the Assembly. Alex has worked on issues including public safety, housing, education, climate change, and seniors.

Assembly District 33 – Big Bear
Rick Herrick was first elected to the Big Bear Lake City Council in November 2006, then re-elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018 and is now serving as Mayor for the city and as the Chairman for the Nay Foundation, Big Bear Alpine Zoo endowment. Previously serving as the City of Big Bear Lake Mayor, Chairman of the Big Bear Fire Department, Chairman of the Big Bear Fire District, and the Chairman of Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency. In addition, Mr. Herrick has served as the President of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce and a Director for the Big Bear Valley Parks and Recreation District.

Assembly District 37 – Santa Barbara/Ventura
Steve Bennet has a long history of public services as a Ventura County Supervisor, an environmental leader, and a public high school economics teacher with over 20 years of experience in education.

Assembly District 38 – Santa Clarita
Suzette Martinez Valladares worked as a district representative for former local Congressman Buck McKeon. In 2012, she left the public sector and became Executive Director of Southern California Autism Speaks. In 2018, she assumed the role of CEO of Little Steps of Faith, a faith-based non-profit preschool that provides quality childcare to underserved families in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Assembly District 57 – Whittier/Hacienda Heights/La Mirada
Lisa Calderon comes to the Assembly as the daughter of farm workers, the first in her family to go to college, and a successful businesswoman. She has a long history of advocating for the advancement of issues and people who the system leaves behind.

Assembly District 67 – El Sobrante/Lake Elsinore/ Murrieta
Kelly Seyarto is a retired Battalion Chief and served a firefighter for 35 years. He served the Murrieta City Council from 1997 – 2006, and most recently returned to serve as the Mayor of Murrieta. In addition to his public service over the years, Mr. Seyarto has been a community leader in nonprofit and community organizations including on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club, the League of California Cities Public Safety Committee and the Western Riverside Council of Governments.

Assembly District 72 – Garden Grove/Seal Beach/Santa Ana
Janet Nguyen was elected to the Senate in 2014 and served through 2018. She is a small-business owner and had a long history of public service as a former Orange County Supervisor and Garden Grove City Council Member.

Assembly District 73 – Laguna Nigel/Dana Point/San Clemente
Laurie Davies was elected to the Laguna Niguel City Council in 2012. She was appointed Mayor in 2015 and re-elected in 2016. Currently, she is serving as Mayor. During her time in office, she has a proven record of accomplishment. She served as a Board Member on the Transportation Corridor Agency, Chaired the League of Cities Committee on Transportation, Communication and Public Works, was elected to the OCTA where she serves on the Transit Committee and Chairs the Legislation Committee as well as sitting on the Board of the Association of California Cities Orange County where she serves as President.

Assembly District 78 – San Diego/La Jolla
Chris Ward was elected to the San Diego City Council in 2016, and has focused on housing, homelessness, economic development, public safety and other critical local goals. He has served as Chair of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless, City Council Chair of the Land Use and Housing Committee, and past chair of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. He previously served as the Chief of Staff to State Senator Marty Block, representing most of the 78th Assembly District.

An Unusual End of Session

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session was like no other! What started out to be a promising 2-year session, with significant interest in our community from many legislators, ended with abrupt interruptions, two separate significant delays during session, modified hearing schedules, technology challenges, and a request from legislative leadership for legislators to dramatically reduce the number of bills they planned to carry. As a result of COVID-19 many good bills never got to see the light of day. The leadership in both houses identified the top legislative priorities – COVID-19 related issues, homelessness, and wildfires – and asked legislators to focus their agendas on the identified priorities. Soon thereafter, the nationwide unrest and cries for social justice caused by the killing of George Floyd created an urgency for legislators to include police reform bills as a priority somewhat late in the session.

At the close of the legislative session on August 31, 2020, the legislature sent approximately 40% of the typical number of bills to the Governor for signature. Among the bills awaiting the Governor’s signature are several that pertain to emergency services for people with Access and Functional Needs, In-Home Support Services, Mental Health Support, Office of Emergency Planning Guidance and Tele-Communication, Health Care and Essential Workers Personal and Protective Equipment, Community Transition Programs, and several Criminal Justice and Police Reform bills that could have a positive impact for our community. We are hopeful and will continue to advocate for the Governor to sign these important measures.



California Legislature Reconvenes

California Legislature Reconvenes

The California Legislature’s summer recess was extended by 14 days as a result of Assembly Members and staff being positive for COVID-19. The Legislature is scheduled to return July 27, 2020 with safety protocols in place that, among other things, allow at-risk members to remain in their district and vote remotely during committee hearings. The Senate will require members to be present, on the Floor, during the final 2 weeks of the session. The Assembly will allow proxy voting during the Floor sessions for members who cannot return to the Capitol.

As a result of the first closure in March lawmakers were asked to limit their bills and focus on three priority areas; COVID-19, wildfires and homelessness. Once again, as a result of the second closure, lawmakers have been asked to reduce their already reduced bill package. There are still hundreds of bills awaiting a vote so the next two weeks will consist of long days, long hearings and as many bills as the legislature can possibly get through in the limited time it has.

Upcoming Deadlines

July 31st – Last day for policy committees to hear and report bills to the fiscal committees

August 7th – Last day for policy committees to meet and report bills

August 14th – Last day for fiscal committees to meet and report bills

August 17th – Floor sessions only

August 21st – Last to amend bills on the Floor

August 31st – Last day for each house to pass bills

Once the legislature reconvenes, we will have a better idea of the narrow priorities that will be addressed in the short remainder of this legislative session. However, we do know that bills related to COVID-19 are still a priority for the legislature so we expect that many of those bills will proceed through the hearing process. Wildfires and homelessness are still a priority for the legislature as is police reform, but we may see the overall number of those priority bills decrease for this session with the expectation that they will address them in the next legislative session.

Getting Back on Track

The legislature and advocates are working hard to get the legislative session back on track or at least as close as possible to what a typical legislative session would look like. Although this year is anything but typical there are still many bills to be heard – most somehow related to the identified priorities of COVID-19, wildfires, or homelessness – and policy committees have been hearing bills accordingly. There have definitely been some challenges such as bills not being referring to more than one committee (known as double -referred) for policy discussions. Often the more complex bills impact more than one policy area, so they get referred to the respective policy committees for discussion ultimately resulting in a more thorough discussion about potential unintended consequences. However, the call-in option for public comment has been a good opportunity for the advocacy community since in previous years many people could not get to the Capitol to give public comment.

One thing that hasn’t really changed is deadlines – house of origin (policy, fiscal and floor), budget committee deadlines, and the constitutional deadline to pass the budget. Upcoming deadlines in the next few weeks include:

Last day for policy committees to hear and report to fiscal committees fiscal bills introduced in their house

Last day for policy committees to hear and report to the floor nonfiscal bills introduced in their house
Last day for policy committees to meet prior to June 1

Budget Bill must be passed by Midnight

Last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house
Last day for fiscal committees to meet prior to June 29

As we work our way through the next few weeks and the respective deadlines we will be reaching out and encouraging your participation in advocacy efforts.

The California Legislature Set to Return

The California Assembly will return to business, not quite as usual on May 4, 2020. Policy and Budget hearings will be held but the Assembly has issued strict guidelines related to participating in the legislative process during the COVID-19 Pandemic. There will be health screening at the entrance of the Capitol and limited public access to the hearing rooms for in-person public comment. The Assembly is encouraging public participation and comment through a dedicated phone line. The phone number will be given at the beginning, and throughout, the hearings. The Assembly memo detailing the new guidelines can be found here:

Next week’s hearings include an Informational Hearing on Critical Health and Human Services Related to the COVID-19 Crisis, Education Committee and Human Services. There are several other hearings scheduled but a significant number are still postponed. For current hearing information check the Assembly Daily File at:

The Senate is scheduled to return on May 11, 2020. For information about the Senate schedule check the Senate Daily File at: