You were AMAZING during the 2023 spring legislative session and we were heard!
While we didn’t get all that we wanted, we actually got more than most, and more than previous years.
Early in the spring, the Governor proposed a $1.50 per hour increase in wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who provide vital support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 3,400-page state budget that was voted in very early in the morning of May 27 includes a $2.50 per hour wage increase for DSPs and frontline workers -- $1.25 as a direct pass-through for base wage increases and the other $1.25 to be used more flexibly for wages to help retain employees.
How did we get here?
The They Deserve More coalition with your unwavering support sprang into action throughout session – meeting with legislators; sharing facts, real life experiences and significant challenges; a powerful video; generating news media stories, digital posts and most of all, coming through strong with calls and emails and witness slips. Together, you made:
*1,776 calls to key House and Senate members (220 to each member) and
*More than 16,000 emails in our final push – over 1,000 to each key House member .
Earlier in the final week, we learned that the budget would include more than the Governor’s proposed $1.50 DSP wage increase, but the amount being proposed was stuck at $2.00. With lots of direct outreach, reinforcing our compelling statistics and facts, we achieved the additional funding.
It's important to note that during the debates on both the Senate and House floors, legislators were actively talking about the critical need for more funding to stabilize the community system of support and using many of our data points and quoting our key messages. We believe this will set us up positively for future advocacy efforts.
Here are the links to the votes:
House roll call link
Senate roll call link
Please thank your legislator if they voted in support.
There were many worthy causes that received half of their ask and we did better by securing $2.50 (against our original $4 per hour ask). Every call, every email mattered. So, thank you. You can and should feel very good about your impact on this critically-needed funding.