Coalition Testifies at Hearing on SDM Legislation in Massachusetts

Group of five people testifying remotely at the virtual hearing held by the Massachusetts Legislature on the SDM bills
(Left to right, bottom row) Morgan Whitlatch (CPR), Ellen Taverna (The Arc of Massachusetts), Paul Lanzikos (not pictured) (Dignity Alliance Massachusetts). ()Left to right, top row) Anna Krieger (Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council), Jennifer Honig (Massachusetts Association for Mental Health)

On November 22, 2021, CPR and a coalition of diverse advocates testified in favor of Supported Decision-Making legislation in MassachusettsS.124 / H.272. To learn more about the bill see the bill fact sheet and our page on the legislation.

CPR testified alongside other members of the Massachusetts Advocates for Supported Decision-Making (MASDM) Coalition, as well as people with disabilities and their supporters who talked about how SDM can transform lives.

Thank you to Representative Paul Tucker and Senator Joan Lovely for your testimony and your leadership on these critical bills.

Group of three people testifying remotely at the virtual hearing held by the Massachusetts Legislature on the SDM bills
(Left to right) Sandra Heller (Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and Supporter in CPR SDM Pilot), Nancy Gardner (Supporter), Jonathan Gardner (Decision-Maker)

“SDM makes me feel involved with my life and choosing how and when I will be getting my treatments. I can let my body and voice guide me with the support of my Mom and Dad. I don’t have many choices when it comes to have Cancer, but at least I can control when and how we do it.” – Jonathan Gardner, 18 years old.

woman testifying remotely at the virtual hearing held by the Massachusetts Legislature on the SDM bills
Malia Windrow-Carlotto (Supporter in CPR/Nonotuck Pilot)

“Cory has flourished since he started using Supported Decision-Making. . . . He is currently living in his own apartment, has traveled the country with friends, and is now working full-time . . . I could not be prouder.”– Malia Windrow-Carlotto, Supporter in SDM Pilot Project (CPR/Nonotuck)

Speakers on MASDM Panels at Hearing

Written Testimony of Other SDM Pilot Participants

 In the past year, I have gone through some major health changes . . ., and I leaned on my SDM Team to help me understand what was happening to me and what the doctors were saying.  [They] helped me through each step.Amanda Benoit, SDM Pilot Participant (written testimony)

. . . I was the first person in Massachusetts to have my guardianship relinquished for the Supported Decision-Making Model.  This moment was very special, because I felt my own freedom for the first time.”Cory Carlotto, SDM Pilot Participant (written testimony)

 My SDM Team has helped me so much in achieving my dreams . . . I was happy to advocate for SDM, because it helps people with disabilities keep their voice and make the final decisions in things with support from a team, if needed.Jimmy Cowell, SDM Pilot Participant (written testimony)

SDM brings people together.  It brings families closer.  Service providers are more involved, more aware of the participant and closer to the family.  But most importantly, the participants grow, have control of their lives and experience love, pride, joy and happiness.

George Fleischner, Nonotuck Resources Associates (written testimony)

My SDM Team helps me grow in my skills, such as with my banking, making health decisions at doctors and dentist appointments, and buying healthy food choices.  My SDM Team is very important to me, and I trust them.

Johnathan Jenkins, SDM Pilot Participant (written testimony)

Please vote yes so that Supported Decision-Making agreements can be put in place for more people to make their own decisions with help just like me.

Craig Kinney, SDM Pilot Participant (written testimony)

Amanda knows who is in her life and who she trusts. She is also capable of making decisions . . . Amanda [gets] moral support from her SDM Team, one-on-one discussions, conversations going over the pros and cons, and getting info on the big picture of the decision.

Sandy Dear-Robinson, Supporter in SDM Pilot (written testimony)

If you support the SDM bill in Massachusetts, see how to make your voice heard!