- Published: Friday, December 11, 2015 11:59 AM
Access Living recognized five current and former state lawmakers, including Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Wednesday evening for their efforts this year to protect services for Illinoisans with disabilities.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized alongside some of my legislative colleagues for our work fighting potentially devastating budget cuts that posed a very real threat to the independence and well-being of thousands of Illinoisans,” said Biss, who is chairman of the Senate’s Human Services Committee.
Also receiving legislative awards were Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), former state Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).
Access Living specifically cited the legislators’ efforts to fend off changes by the Rauner administration that would have slashed home- and community-based services, such as personal attendants and home care workers, for thousands of disabled and elderly Illinoisans by raising the Determination of Need, or DON, score. The cuts would have forced many of them to seek expensive nursing home and institutional care as alternatives to in-home assistance.
Gov. Rauner reversed the cuts in November after pressure from lawmakers and social service advocates.
Access Living is a Chicago-based organization that advocates for disability rights.
(Pictured, left to right: Rep. Greg Harris; Sen. Daniel Biss; Rep. Robyn Gabel; Amber Smock, director of advocacy and external affairs for Access Living; and Daisy Feidt, executive vice president of Access Living. Photo credit: Bianca Barr)