2018 Issue #8

Issue 8, 7/5/2018

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Record numbers of Iowans turned out to vote in the June primary election, picking their favorites for Governor, Congress, Secretary of State, and more.  The winners of this primary election will be on the November 6 General Election ballot, when Iowans will vote for the following offices:  

U.S. Representative (all districts)

Governor/Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, Treasurer of State, Secretary of Agriculture, Attorney General, State Senator (odd-numbered districts 1-49), State Representative (districts 1-100)

Some County Supervisors, County Treasurer, County Recorder, County Attorney

Some township officers, county public hospital trustees, soil and water conservation district commissioners, county agricultural extension council members, and any judges that are up for retention. 

With the primary fresh in our minds, it's a great time to make sure you are ready for November!  The Secretary of State has an excellent Vote Ready website (voterreadyiowa.org)  with dates, information, videos and more.  It's a great resource to answer all your voting questions - if you have time and access to the Internet, start there.  

If you are not able to get online, here are a few quick steps you can take to make sure you are ready to vote in November:

  • First, check to make sure you are registered to vote at your current address.  You can check online here or by calling your county auditor.  To avoid the extra paperwork and stress of Election Day voter registration, pre-register to vote anytime before October 27, 2018.  Don't procrastinate on this; save yourself a lot of extra work and make sure you are registered now.  If you are not registered:
    • You can register to vote online if you have a state ID or driver's license that has not expired (click here).  You can also update your voter registration (including change of address) on this site.
    • If you do not have a valid state ID or driver's license, you should call your county auditor.  They can help you with the proper documentation you need.
    • For more information, watch the Iowa State Association of Counties' informative (and entertaining) video on voter registration at https://vimeo.com/186286517.
  • Second, make sure you have the identification you will need to vote in November.  Iowa's new voter ID law went into effect this year, so you will be asked to show an ID when you vote.  If you have an Iowa driver's license or state ID, you can use them (but don't let them expire).  If you do not have one of these, there are other forms of ID you can use, including a passport, military ID, veterans ID or tribal ID or the state issued Voter ID card. In 2018, if you don't have one of the necessary ID's, you will be asked to sign an oath verifying their identity and will be allowed to cast a regular ballot .
Now that you are Vote Ready, become a voting advocate!  Many organizations work to register other voters and help them know their rights. You can get more involved by contacting your local League of Women Voters of Iowa, ACLU, or ID Action. 

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You can now register for ID Action's annual Make Your Mark! self-advocacy conference for Iowans with disabilities, which will return to Honey Creek Resort on September 27-28, 2018.  Don't miss this fun and informative conference, which will focus this year on Living Your Best Independent Life with session topics such as managing your money, cooking, employment, and much more.  

With the general election happening just a little over a month after the conference, Friday (Sept. 28) will be dedicated to civic and political education and will welcome back one of our favorite political correspondents, Dave Price.

And this year, thanks to a one-time anonymous sponsor, ID Action is able to offer FREE* conference registration for up to 150 individuals with disabilities, family members and direct support professionals accompanying a participant!  Click here to register!

If you would like to attend this year, book your room now. Call Honey Creek Resort at 641.724.1450 and let them know you are with the ID Action Make Your Mark! Conference to make your reservation at the discounted rate of $92.00 + tax and fees. Room rates are guaranteed through Saturday, August 11, 2018.

*We are not able to cover other conference expenses such as travel and hotel. You must register in advance; walk-ins/day-of registration will not be accepted. Attendance will be limited to 150. If you are no longer able to attend after you register, please contact our office immediately to notify us so we can adjust our numbers or offer the spot to someone who may be waitlisted. Registration rates still apply for professionals not providing direct care support.

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National Disability Voter Registration Week is coming up July 16-20. This is a national effort to make the disability vote more influential. This effort, known as the REV UP Campaign, has designated this week as National Disability Voter Registration Week in advance of the November elections. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!

This is a big year for the Iowa elections. The November general election will determine our governor, executive officers, all four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 25 of our state Senators and all 100 of our state Representatives.

Get involved with the REV UP Campaign by hosting a disability voter registration drive in your community. We are here to help you. We will provide you with information, training and materials to help you prepare to register and educate as many people as you can. Contact ID Action by clicking here or calling 866.432.2846 to start planning a voter registration event in your community.

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As a part of ID Action, we do not tell our network what to say to elected officials, candidates, and other community leaders.  We simply want to connect our advocates with the information resources they need to develop their own messages and provide opportunities to tell their stories.  For those of you that have asked us for "talking points," we have a resource for you!

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has a new resource to help you talk to the candidates running for office this year.  The REV UP! Issues Guide has something for everyone.  It provides a comprehensive overview of the issues, legislation, and regulations that have a significant impact on the disability community, without getting too wordy. The Guide is meant to serve as a tool for voters, advocates, candidates, and the media to be better informed on the issues that matter to people with disabilities.

The disability community represents an important and potentially influential voting bloc. To make the disability vote influential, people with disabilities need to be actively involved in the election process and push candidates for their positions on issues like these that are important to them. Candidates that support the equality and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities will benefit from the power of the disability vote.

  • Use this Guide to inform yourself and others on the priorities of the disability community, and to make an informed choice at the ballot box.
  • Use this guide when meeting with candidates formally or informally. Ask them how they will vote on legislation and what policies they will support. Remind them that the disability vote matters.
  • Use this Guide when talking with the media about the importance of disability issues in this upcoming election. With 1 in 5 Americans living with a disability, these issues are everyone’s issues.

As AAPD founder and "father of the ADA" Justin Dart said, “Vote as if your life depends on it – because it does.”  If you have any questions, please contact AAPD’s REV UP Campaign at programs@aapd.com.  Note: A Spanish translation of the Issues Guide will be available soon at www.aapd.com.

Click here to download a printable version of the Issues Guide.

Click here for more resources to help you get Rev'd Up to Vote!

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Thanks to the advocacy of Iowans with disabilities and the groups that were a part of the Complex Needs Work Group, legislative leaders have approved an interim committee to review the funding for the state's regional mental health and disability services (MH/DS) system. 

As you know, the Legislature has done a lot over the last decade to strengthen Iowa's local services system. Our regional MH/DS system continues to evolve, with new services added this year to address the needs of Iowans in crisis.  But the one thing that has been overlooked, set-aside, and never confronted head on is long term, sustainable funding.  This year, the Legislature asked for an interim committee to look at funding for the system, and make recommendations to make sure that the resources are adequate to pay for these services that so many Iowans depend upon.  On June 25, the Legislative Council (which makes decisions on interim committees) decided to move forward with the study.  A few things to note:

  • The Regional MH/DS Funding Interim Committee will include five Senators and five Representatives (three Republicans and two Democrats from each chamber).  Leaders will appoint these members sometime in the next few months - watch us on social media (@infonetiowa) and our website (www.infonetiowa.org) for updates.
  • The interim committee will likely meet only for 1-2 days, but that decision will be made in the coming months.  Election year interim committees usually meet after the election in November when legislators have more time. The final report is not due until January 15, 2019.
  • The committee's charge is to "analyze the viability of mental health and disability services funding, including the methodology used to calculate and determine the base expenditure amount, the county budgeted amount, the regional per capita expenditure amount, the statewide per capita expenditure target amount, and the cash flow reduction amount."  That charge is as complicated as the system of funding it is reviewing!  Basically, the committee will look at how we fund our regional system and if it is enough to meet current and future expectations. 

Iowa's regional MH/DS system picks up the costs of services for persons who are not eligible for Medicaid, or who need services that Medicaid does not cover. It is a safety net for many Iowans, so this is a very important interim.  We'll have action alerts coming out in the Fall on this, once we know the members and their timeline for meeting.

Other Interims Approved

The Legislative Council approved the continuation of the Health Policy Oversight Committee, which is the legislative watchdog on Medicaid managed care.  That committee will likely meet a few times late summer/fall to review ongoing issues with Medicaid managed care.  Committee membership & meeting materials can be found here.

In addition, there will be a review of small city clean water compliance this interim.  Another ten-member legislative committee will assess how Iowa's smaller cities are doing in meeting various state and federal regulations, and recommend changes that can help overcome challenges identified.

A full list of interims can be found in PDF form here.

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"Advocacy" doesn't have to be boring.  It can be more than a call or email.  Your county supervisors, legislators, and those representing you in Congress have more time now to listen and learn. 

Last week, a group of legislators toured a substance use treatment facility in Northwest Iowa, and earlier this month a group visited the Eldora State Training School.  Legislators and candidates appreciate these types of visits - a chance to see first-hand how the policies they make impact real Iowans, and how the funding they pass each year is used.  

Invite your elected officials and the candidates running for those offices to sit down with you where you work or live, or where you get services.  Take them on a tour, meet them for coffee at a local restaurant or invite them to special events you have in your community.   Send us pictures of visits, share pictures of these vists on social media or with your local news, and let us know how we can help!  

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