2012 Legislative Summary
Posted on June 08, 2012 by Ann Conrath, Public Policy Intern
The 2012 Missouri Legislative Session provided many opportunities to fight for disability rights. While there were several pieces of legislation that were on our radar this session, some of the victories include passage of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Bill of Rights, preventing barriers to voting, funding for CILs and home and community-based services, and protecting the Human Rights Act. Here is a summary of some of the bills that we followed.
Although there are several ways to advocate for civil rights, doing so on the policy level can have tremendous impact. Through legislation, we want to ensure that individuals with disabilities have choices, self-determination, and opportunities to be full participants of society. As disability advocates we were able to make our voices heard, help pass beneficial legislative initiatives, and stop harmful pieces of legislation from becoming law. Advocacy efforts included telling legislators to "Take Note-We Vote!" on Disability Rights Legislation Day, informing and educating policy makers about programs and services that are important to us, and testifying against bills that aim to restrict our rights. Joint community efforts were crucial in effectively advocating for or against policy measures that directly pertain to our lives and well being.
A strong feeling of empowerment is often felt when taking action and advocating for issues that are important to you. This is a powerful motivator to continue to strive and work towards enacting policies that promote equality in our state. It is more important than ever to get involved and join advocacy efforts to fight for our rights. We need to keep this momentum going. There are a myriad of ways to get involved through Paraquad, some of which include becoming informed on legislative initiatives that affect you by signing up for CAN updates, contacting legislators and educating them about how legislative proposals and state programs affect you, or joining the Community Advocates team. Every bit of action, no matter how small, has a purpose and can help to ensure our civil rights.