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Please Support 2015-16 Down Syndrome Legislative Priorities

The members of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress respectfully request that you support the following policy and budget priorities this session. These items are critical to providing support for people with Down syndrome in Massachusetts and will pay lifelong dividends. 

  1. HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES H1064/S672 An act to create higher education opportunities for student with intellectual and devepmental disabilities - Sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro and Sen. Barbara L'Italien. We hope you will also request tha tthe Budget Conference Committee adopts the House budget line item 7009-9600 for the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) for $1.2 million. 
  2. ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION NON DISCRIMINATION H3271 An act concerning nondiscrimination in access to organ transplantation - Sponsored by Rep. James Cantwell. Your support will offer much needed protection for our most vulnerable citizens. 
  3. FUNDING DOWN SYNDROME SERVICES IN DDS LINE ITEM Please continue to support the 5,000 people with Down syndrome in Massachusetts with funding for the MDSC in line item 5911-1003. We have received this funding for the past three years, and it was included in the FY16 House budget, but not the Senate version. The exact language is: "provided further that no less than the amount appropriated in line item 5911-1003 in chapter 139 of the acts of 2012 shall be expended for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress." 
  4. OTHER DDS LINE ITEMS Full funding for other critical disability line items in DDS' FY16 budget, including Day/Employment Programs, Respite/Family Support, Adult Autism Services, Transportation, Employment Blueprint, Children's Autism Division, Turning 22, and MassHealth. See a complete list here. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7rn8fbzvNu9UndSV0NhQUFXWGVucFRGYUFmdmYyWEpuaHow&authuser=0?
  5. FUNDING UMASS MEMORIAL DOWN SYNDROME CLINIC (for Central Mass Residents Only) Please support $150,000 in funding for the Multidisciplinary Down Syndrome Clinic at UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. The much-needed clinic was created just last year but is not funded in this year's budget. There are approximately 400 children in Central Mass who have Down syndrome. Their families have to travel considerable distances to gain access to coordinated care in Boston. This clinic will provide outstanding comprehensive care for Down syndrome patients in a coordinated manner to enhance communication among the many UMass Memorial specialists who all share a special interest in Down syndrome. The exact language that should be placed into Line Item 4510-3010 in the FY16 state budget is as follows: "For a grant to the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center Massachusetts Down Syndrome Clinic based on the patient centered medical home concept. ............$150,000." 

Please see here for more information on each of these items: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7rn8fbzvNu9ZTAwdkZoX0FiYU0&usp=sharing?

Thank you for your time and please let me know if you have any questions. 

Sincerely 

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

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