Friday, March 11, 2011

Missouri advocates descend on Capitol to fight for disability rights, community living

From Ozarks First:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's advocates for people with disabilities arrived March 9 at the State Capitol in full force.

People crowded the rotunda, the balconies and hallways chanting for civil rights, the end of institutionalization and the appropriation of adequate resources to provide everyone in need with community services.

Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee's Summit, chairs the House Special Standing Committee on Disability Services. He told the crowd the committee is considering a dozen bills designed to respond to advocates' desires, including the total removal from existing state law of terms related to handicap or mental retardation.

Other legislative priorities include protecting the parental rights of people with disabilities and the creation of a special tax fund where Missourians can opt to send donations to support community services.

The state still faces a backlog of about 5,000 people waiting to receive community services.