The Georgia General Assembly is preparing for another legislative session coming up in January. The Georgia Legislative session will start the second Tuesday of January and go until early or mid-April. During Georgia’s Legislative session, the state House and Senate will come together to discuss issues impacting Georgians.
One of the most important things they will be covering is the state budget. The state budget helps fund Georgia’s programs and projects throughout the state. They will also be deciding how to move forward with Georgia’s waiver programs like NOW/COMP. Currently, we have a waiting list of over 7,000 people who are waiting for waiver services. This means we have an excellent opportunity to advocate around this issue. The Georgia Senate passed a Senate resolution to have a study committee meet across the state of Georgia to hear the impact of how important these services are to the community.
Before the start of the legislative session, it is a great time to reach out to your state representatives to make sure they understand disability issues and why they are important to you. When you reach out to your State Senator or House member, remember that our state legislators are not going to be knowledgeable on every issue We can educate them. Sometimes it is helpful to have a quick elevator speech ready. A good way to think of having a great elevator speech is to keep it short and simple.
The elevator speech will help you confidently talk to your legislators. When you are reaching out, make sure you tell them that you are a constituent and a voter in their district and that you would like to talk to them about disability issues. When you connect with a legislator whether it be by email, phone call, or meeting, make sure the legislator knows the best way to contact you if they have questions. If your legislator ever reaches out and you don’t know the answer to their question, it is more than okay to tell them you do not have the answer, but you will get back to them. You can always use the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) as a resource.
For more advocacy opportunities, mark your calendars for GCDD’s upcoming Advocacy Days beginning in January. This year, Advocacy Days will be a hybrid event to make sure more people are able to participate. There are two advocacy days each month, the first day being a virtual meeting with an opportunity to learn how to advocate at the capital. The second day, we will go to the capital to advocate.
This year we are advocating about Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE) on January 24 and 25. February 15 and 16, we will focus on NOW/COMP waivers and Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Finally on March 7 and 8, the topic will be Employment First/Ending Subminimum wage. To register for our Advocacy Days, click here.