It’s been quite a year in California politics for people with disabilities and their advocates.
Last year, they offered perhaps the loudest institutional opposition to California’s new assisted death law. Protests asserting that programs for the disabled have not shared in the bounty of a rejuvenated state budget became a fixture at the Capitol. Republicans, long allied with such programs, continued their push, and every one of them in the Assembly voted for a disabilities services increase this week (though fewer voted for the accompanying tax deal to fund it).
This weekend launches a developmental disabilities public policy conference to look at what’s happened and what comes next. It kicks off with an Arc California board of directors meeting on Saturday. At noon Sunday, inspirational speaker Emily Travis, diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, will deliver the keynote address. Following that comes a series of speeches and panels expected to include a Monday address from California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley and a Tuesday reception to honor Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. Events will take place at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza.
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CRABBY: The quest to help California’s pinched crab fishermen survive a catastrophic algae bloom continues. Gov. Jerry Brown has already sought economic assistance via a federal disaster declaration, and today Democratic U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier of Hillsborough and Jared Huffman of San Rafael will announce legislation allocating $138 million in financial aid during a 10 a.m. press conference at Scoma’s Restaurant in San Francisco.
FEELING SPECIAL: A little recap for a sleepy Friday: in case you missed it, this has been a momentous week for the special healthcare session last year. Already having yielded an assisted death law, the session this week produced big deals on healthcare taxation and on tobacco control.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assembly Speaker-Elect Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, who will take over the lower house next week at the age of 48. Read our interview with him here.