St. Louis Society For The Blind & Visually Impaired Encourages Bi-Partisan Approach to Resolving State Budget Issues for Missourians Who Are Blind
As Missouri legislators this week discuss a state Senate plan to restore healthcare program funding for nearly 2,800 Missourians who are blind, the St Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired encourages the lawmakers to respect a bi-partisan approach to resolving the budget issue, and strongly advocates full funding of the program that assists so many needy citizens in Missouri's visually-impaired community.|
On April 24, 2012, the Senate voted to restore full funding for an assistance program for Missouri citizens who are blind after the House voted in mid-March to eliminate the $28 million program. The Senate's new plan to restore funding for the assistance program is subject to legislative negotiations this week in the state capital of Jefferson City.
Society President, David Ekin, ACSW, LCSW, said, "We are pleased that the Senate leadership has worked to restore funding for the healthcare needs for Missourians who are blind, and we are encouraged that Governor Jay Nixon and the state's Republican leadership also endorse funding for the program assistance that helps so many of Missouri's vulnerable and neediest citizens.
"We hope that this bi-partisan approach will serve as a model for Missouri legislators to work together to resolve this and other Missouri healthcare funding issues and that the Missouri House of Representatives will embrace the bi-partisan approach as a step forward to restoring the program funding that assists Missouri citizens who are blind and who greatly need it."
Missouri House and Senate leaders are expected to continue their negotiations over whether to continue funding the program in conference sessions this week as legislators work toward passing the state's proposed $24 billion spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1.
"For thousands of people in greater St. Louis and across Missouri, vision loss takes social and economic tolls that often include increased risk for health and personal safety, disability, loss of productivity and diminished quality of life," Ekin said. "We are troubled by the fact that blindness and serious vision problems impact so many people in Missouri."
St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired enhances independence, empowers individuals and enriches the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired including approximately 1,500 children, adults, and their families every year. Its caring, qualified staff provides specialized vision rehabilitation, adaptive education, assistive technology and support services. In addition, the nonprofit Society serves a growing number of older adults who are visually impaired, blind or deaf-blind due to age-related eye conditions by providing home-based services, specialized services, community activities and social programs. It also provides support to school-age students at school districts in Illinois and Missouri, and at its offices.
For information, contact the Society at 314 968 9000 or visit the website slsbvi.org. Media relations contact: Jeff Dunlap at 314.993.6925.