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GOP lawmakers pushing for more service hours for those living in group homes

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(The Center Square) – Senate Republicans are demanding that Gov. J.B. Pritzker reverse course on a plan to reduce service hours for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in group homes, claiming cutting hours will increase problems at the group homes.

The plan is to cut 2.5 million Direct Support Professional workers’ service hours in group homes where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities live.

The pushback was led by State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who penned a letter to Pritzker, demanding the governor not cut hours.

“Governor, this is more than a request that these cuts be rescinded. Due to the unconscionable severity of your Administration’s proposal, on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, their families, and those on the direct lines of providing service to our developmentally disabled populations, we demand that you rescind these draconian cuts,” Rose’s letter reads.

These homes have had several issues regarding care over the last several years, which state Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okwaville, said will increase if these cuts are made.

“We haven’t had quality workers in these homes in the past, where rapes have occurred, or we find a resident sitting in the middle of the highway, there are problems all over the board,” Meier said. “The extra hours and extra workers would be good.”

So far, 19 senate Republicans have signed the letter with Rose to stop the potential cuts, including state Sen. Don Dewitte, R-St.Charles.

“These alarming cuts would affect about 10,000 of our most vulnerable citizens who rely on their state government for assistance,” said DeWitte. “This equates to an approximate $87.7 million cut in state funding for this population of residents. It’s appalling.”

Rose said Pritzker continues to have his focus on the wrong issues.

“It’s very difficult to ignore that you’ve increased funding for noncitizens by over a billion dollars across the board, seemingly while your administration is pushing this rate cut for the developmentally disabled,” Rose said. “It’s obvious your priorities are not with the citizens of this state who are the most underserved.”

The Senate Republicans will meet later this week to discuss the cuts further.

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