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Public Policy Highlights
February 2019
First Timers at Disability Day on the Hill
By Karen Mevis
First Time Advocates at Community Reception
Numerous families made the trip from Upper East Tennessee to network with other advocates and to bring their concerns to their legislators on Disability Day on the Hill. Three of the families are pictured here at the Community Reception at the Millennium Maxwell House hotel.  All of them said they were expressing support for the Katie Beckett waiver proposal among other items, and all of them said after the event, that they felt good about their experiences and the impact they had, and said they would participate in DDH again, if possible.  Read more about their experiences...
Photo of Martez WilliamsMartez Williams came to the Hill to meet with Rep. Harold Love Jr., over some housing concerns he has, and said he also shared his concerns about scooters. A Davidson County resident, and member of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, he said accessibility for persons with disabilities is a topic he talks about a lot. “I’m sure I had an impact,” he said. “The whole day was worth my time,” and he especially praised the DDH panel discussion that featured leaders in the disability field talking on a variety of topics and public policy issues.
The father of a 14-month-old, Adam Kaufman of Dickson County, met with Sen. Kerry
Roberts, Rep. Mary Littleton, and at the urging of Sen. Roberts, also met with Rep. Sam Whitson, to share his family’s story and express support for the Katie Beckett waiver.  Sen. Roberts and Rep. Whitson are sponsors of the Katie Beckett waiver bill. He said he felt good about helping educate his lawmakers on his daughter’s situation, and said they were surprised to hear him talk about having to leave Tennessee and his farm business. Read More >>
Patti and Kathleen LeHigh came from Cordova to Capitol Hill to talk about employment.  Patti has two adult children with disabilities, and employment is a subject very important to the whole family. “There’s nothing out there for my son,” said Patti, a Partners in Policymaking graduate. She said her son is on the referral list for the Employment and Community First (ECF) Choices waiver, and that it is a very long list. Read More >>
Top Public Policy Priorities for Three Disability Organizations
Compiled by Karen Mevis from information provided by
Lauren Pearcy, Director of Public Policy, Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
Sarah Simpson, Deputy Director, Tennessee Disability Coalition
Carrie Guiden, Executive Director, The Arc Tennessee

Tennessee State Capitol
Three distinguished statewide disability groups have prioritized the Katie Beckett/TEFRA waiver proposal in their top public policy issues for this legislative session.  The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Tennessee Disability Coalition which consists of 40 disability organizations, and The Arc Tennessee are supporting and educating disability advocates and legislators on this bill which would provide access to Medicaid funding for children with disabilities who do not qualify for TennCare due to their parents’ income.  Read more about this and other policy priorities >>
Call Pathfinder
By Karen Mevis
CALLER: Hi. I am the mom of a four-year-old son with a long list of diagnoses, medical equipment, and ADLs he can’t do.  I don’t know the first thing about how to reach my legislator. I’ve heard about the Katie Beckett waiver from another special needs mom, and I know it is important to tell them how much that would mean to my family. I worked February 12 so I couldn’t go to Disability Day on the Hill, but I want to help and advocate for my child. If I’m not going to advocate for him, what chance does he have?  But I’m embarrassed because I cannot remember my legislators’ names. How do I find them?   Read more for Pathfinder's response >>
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This project is partially funded under grant contracts with the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

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