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2022 Iowa DD Council Legislative Agenda

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council wants to make sure individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity and integration and inclusion in all parts of community life.  They say limited disability services and supports could be a thing of the past and a fully accessible Iowa is possible if the state takes the first steps in making Iowa a more inclusive state.  Their 2022 legislative agenda asks legislators to:

  • Fully fund healthcare services and community-based supports to address the workforce crisis in both rural and urban areas.
    • Increase the direct care support wage by at least 6% to allow providers to recruit, train and retain quality employees.
    • Financially support evidence-based training for direct support professionals.
    • Allow guardians and family members to be paid to provide support through Iowa’s self-direction options for both children and adults.
    • Support creative workforce solutions (tax cuts for direct support professionals, loan forgiveness programs, recruitment incentives)
  • Support an inclusive community for all Iowans.
    • Invest in addressing barriers to community living such as family restrooms and accessible sidewalks in all public spaces.
    • Improve access to reliable transportation that allows people with disabilities to live, work, and play in their communities.
  • Reduce or eliminate Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiting lists.
    • Invest in community-based services and eliminate Iowa’s institutional bias revealed in the recent US Department of Justice report.
    • Simplify the current waiver system to increase the ability to serve the varied needs of Iowans.
    • Hold managed care organizations accountable to provide creative and specialized services that encourage community integration.

Brooke Lovelace, Executive Director for the DD Council, asks legislators to create change for all Iowans with disabilities. “Thousands of Iowans adapt to life while having a disability every day. Our rural and urban communities should not compound these hurdles by being inaccessible. We must do better. Iowa must invest in its workforce, in its communities, and in its services so that all Iowans can live their most productive and independent lives possible.”  

You can watch the 30-minute Iowa DD Council Open House (ASL Version here), where Iowans with disabilities share their stories to demonstrate the need for each of the Council's three priorities.  It's also a really good way to see how others tell their stories to legislators!

There is a workforce crisis is rural and urban areas of Iowa that can be alleviated. A 6% increase in direct care support wages along with incentives like free training, tax cuts, or loan consolidation will encourage more quality health care providers to work in Iowa. This gives people like Tucker in Waterloo hope that one day he won’t have to worry if he will have a caregiver’s help each morning.

Rob, a husband and father in NW Iowa, looks forward to when life is no longer limited by inaccessible public spaces.  Rob wants to attend his kids’ activities without having to worry about who will assist him if he needs to use the restroom. Investments in community living such as family restrooms, accessible sidewalks, and reliable transportation allow people like Rob to easily manage everyday experiences many people take for granted. 

In Clear Lake, Rylee has been on a waiting list for essential services for two years and expects to wait at least two more. This is in stark contrast to our neighbors in Minnesota where there are no waiting lists. By investing in services, simplifying the current waiver system, and holding managed care organizations accountable to provide services that encourage community integration, more Iowans will live the independent lives that they deser 


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