Jessica Oppenheim, Esq., Director of the Criminal Justice Advocacy Program at The Arc New Jersey, was honored last month by the Middlesex County Bar Association. She received the Criminal Trial Practice Award at their 12th Annual Practice Area Awards Dinner.
The Arc Maryland continued their robust legislative advocacy last week. They testified in favor of several bills including:
- SB 872, The James W. Hubbard Inclusive Higher Education Grant Program, which would create competitive grants for universities to develop inclusive higher education programs for students with I/DD;
- HB 1061, which creates a task force to study and make recommendations on how to properly accommodate students with disabilities during emergencies and evacuations;
- HB 696/SB 849, which prohibits discrimination in private schools accepting public funds based on disability or other protected statuses;
- HB 1066, which aligns school fire drill procedures with the Maryland Fire Prevention Code and which The Arc Maryland is seeking to amend to address disability accommodations;
- HB 1222, the Maryland School Discipline Reform Act, which requires reporting of student discipline data disaggregated by disability and other statuses and requires standardized training practices on student discipline for public school security personnel;
- HB 1287, which creates a commission to explore ways to close the school-to-prison pipeline that is disproportionately leading students with disabilities into prison or juvenile detention centers; and
- The Developmental Disabilities Administration Budget.
The Arc Maryland has been named as a partner with the Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates as Educators. The alliance was formed as the result of a bill passed in response to the death of Ethan Saylor, a man with Down Syndrome, at the hands of police officers. The goal of the Alliance is to recruit and train 15 self-advocates to work alongside law enforcement trainers to train police officers on interactions with people with I/DD. Click here to read more details about the partnership. For more information about the self-advocate positions and to apply, visit here.
The Arc of Illinois Supported and Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 3106. The law previously allowed courts to admit testimony by alleged victims of sexual assault with moderate, severe, or profound intellectual disability not made in the presence of the accused. The bill expands the law to additionally allow such testimony by people with mild intellectual disability, developmental disabilities, or cognitive impairments.
The Arc of Illinois supported and Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 4257. This bill directs the Department of Human Services to make wallet-sized disability identification card available to individuals with I/DD and persons with cognitive, affective, or relational disabilities upon their request. Additionally, the bill requires that when an eligible individual applies for a Disability Identification Card, the Secretary of State must notify that individual of the availability of the wallet card.
The Arc of Colorado advocated for the passage of HB1254, which requires the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to provide a training curriculum on abuse and exploitation of individuals with I/DD who are 18 or over. Governor Hickenlooper recently signed this bill into law.
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a groundbreaking criminal justice bill that The Arc of California fought to help pass over the last two years. AB 1272 helps crime victims with I/DD by notifying licensing agencies of misconduct by their licensees and requiring investigations. It will also aid in the prosecution of alleged abusers by requiring courts to make reasonable efforts to assist prosecuting attorneys in avoiding more than one case involving certain crimes against people with disabilities and other cases on the same day. This will help district attorneys assign trained, experienced prosecutors to these often complex and difficult cases.
The Arc of Tennessee helped secure the passage of SB1485/HB1512, which expands the categories of missing citizens for whom a media alert is sent to include people with disabilities.