Sharing Information Loud and Clear

Winter 2024

In This Issue:

  • Message from the Chair
  • SPIL News and Updates
  • SILC Public Comment Process Guidelines
  • What’s Happening at the Legislature: Winter 2024
  • Don’t forget to Vote this November!
  • CA YLF Application Period Open
  • Notice of SILC office closures and meeting date updates

Message From The Chair

¡Hola y feliz año nuevo! Hello and happy new year!

I would like to begin by thanking everyone in our community, whether it be individual community members, or community-based organizations, thank you for your commitment to improving and creating a positive quality of life for our community this past year. We need many different perspectives, we are all different, but we all intersect and are interconnected. We need each other.

For many of us the beginning of a new year symbolizes reflection, direction, and a new start. Reflection is important to evaluate what has worked out, what has not, and why. With reflection, we understand where we can do better, like Maya Angelo said, “when you know better, you do better.” Reflection will help pave our direction, and a new start.

Currently, there is fear, suffering, trauma, frustration being experienced locally and abroad. Our community has had to constantly fight for the little that we have and yet still it is always in jeopardy of being changed or completely removed. Disability is usually an afterthought. When there is a budget deficit or concern about funding, some of the first things to be cut are our services and support for our. From the lack of in-home care, lack of access to medical care, unstable transportation, inadequate and unattainable housing, non-equitable access to education, and so many more things, how can our community not be fearful, traumatized, and frustrated? Abroad folks with disabilities suffer from so much destruction and chaos. How can we help, what can we learn from that, how does this all impact our direction and new start? Where is our energy best used?

Again, thank you to everyone who is part of our community, and your commitment to creating a positive quality of life for our community members. What will be your direction and new start for this year? What issues will be your highest priority and what will you do to create positive change? All of us together can change the system that is horribly broken for folks with disabilities. Strength in numbers! Everyone in this community has a purpose, everyone has a part in social change. What will be your purpose? What would be your part in social change?

I look forward to this year being fruitful in changing the systems that keep people with disabilities from thriving with all of you!

If you have questions or comments, the SILC is here for you. Feel free to reach out to us at or by contacting the SILC Executive Director, Carrie England, at

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”-Angela Davis

In Unity and Solidarity,

Ligia Andrade Zuniga, SILC Chairperson

State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) News and Updates

The State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) is a crucial document that outlines how a state intends to provide and improve services for individuals with disabilities, promoting their independence and integration into their communities.

Developed in collaboration with various stakeholders, including individuals with disabilities, Independent Living Centers (ILCs), and advocacy organizations, the SPIL serves as a blueprint for the state’s Independent Living (IL) program.

The approval process for the SPIL involves several key steps. Initially, the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), comprised of representatives from diverse disability communities, drafts the plan in collaboration with the ILCs. The SILC ensures that the SPIL aligns with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, particularly Title VII, which focuses on IL services. Once the SILC completes the plan, and it is voted on in both the SILC SPIL Committee and SILC Executive Committee, it undergoes a public comment period to gather additional input from the community and stakeholders.

Following the public comment period, the SPIL is signed by the Chair of the SILC (after the full council has voted) and at least 51% of the ILC Executive Directors. It is then signed by the State Designated Entity, in this case the California Department of Rehabilitation. This signature is not an approval, but an agreement that they will abide by the assurances in the document when administering the funds.

The final SPIL is then submitted to the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) for review by June 30, 2024. Approval is contingent on the plan’s adherence to federal guidelines and its responsiveness to the needs of individuals with disabilities in our state. The ACL provides feedback, and if necessary, the state may revise and resubmit the SPIL until it meets the required standards.

In essence, the SPIL and its approval process are integral components in ensuring that states are committed to fostering independence and empowerment for individuals with disabilities through effective IL programs. The California SILC intends to have a draft SPIL ready for public comment by April 2024. The new SPIL will go into effect as of October 1, 2024.

Work Groups, composed of both SILC members and members of the community, are currently working to draft goals which may be included in the SPIL. If you would like to get involved, reach out to any SILC staff member at so we can help you connect to your interest.

Currently Work Groups are meeting to discuss the following topics and to determine if we would like include goals related to these topics in the next SPIL:

  • Long Term Services and Supports/ ADRC
  • Supporting ILC involvement with Managed Care
  • ILC Tier Funding Formula
  • Systems Change Network Hub
  • Equitable Funding Formula Development and Implementation
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • ILC Capacity Building and Leadership
  • Youth Programming and Leadership

You can find more information, including agendas and materials, on the SILC SPIL Work Group web page.

The SILC Public Comment Process

Public comments play a crucial role in fostering transparency, accountability, and democratic participation in open meetings. They provide a platform for diverse voices, allowing citizens to express concerns, share insights, and contribute to decision-making processes. Inclusivity is enhanced as individuals from various backgrounds, with unique perspectives and experiences, can influence policies and initiatives.

Public comments serve as a valuable feedback mechanism, ensuring officials are informed about the community’s needs and sentiments. This engagement builds trust between the government and its constituents, reinforcing the principles of a responsive and representative governance. In essence, including public comments enriches decision-making by incorporating a wider array of viewpoints, ultimately leading to more informed and equitable outcomes.

The SILC Public Comment Guidelines provide a framework for conducting a public comment period that is organized, respectful, and focused on relevant topics.

  • Any member of the public wishing to speak on an item not on the agenda should let the Chairperson know during the public comment period.
  • Each public comment should not exceed 3 minutes. If you require an accommodation, please inform the Chair and your time for comment will be extended if needed to allow you to communicate your message.
  • Agenda items will be discussed in their turn and the public will have the opportunity to comment on each item.
  • Please use respectful and courteous language at all times. The SILC uses the Rules by Which to Meet Peacefully document as a guide.
  • Written comments may be submitted in addition to or instead of oral comments. Written comments may be sent to
  • The public comment period is not a question-and-answer session but an opportunity for individuals to express their views on items which may be of importance to the SILC.
  • Presenters and/or SILC Members who are addressed by members of the public during public comment period may thank the speaker for the comment, but should not engage in a “back and forth” dialog. Public comments are intended for people to share their ideas and feedback, not to have a dialog.

What’s Happening with the Legislature? Winter 2024

In California, the Legislature operates on a biennial session; the two-year session is based on a legislative calendar. 2024 is the second of the two-year session where both the Assembly and Senate meet from January until the end of November and then recess until January 2025.

The Legislature reconvened for the second year of the 2023-2024 Legislative Session on January 3, 2024. During this second year, legislators will have an opportunity to try and move forward with previous bills that did not meet legislative deadlines in 2023. January is a busy month for two-year bills. Two-year bills are bills that were introduced in the first year of a biennial session that failed Legislative deadlines but were not presented to the Governor for signature. January 12 is the last day for policy committees to hear and pass to fiscal committees any two-year bills keyed fiscal by Legislative Counsel that were introduced in 2023 but remain in their first house. January 19 is the last day for any policy committees to hear and pass to the floor any two-year bills that remain in their first house. Legislators have until January 31, 2024, to pass any 2-year bills that were introduced in that house in 2023 (this is known as the “House of Origin Deadline”).

All of this action on legislation will occur under the backdrop of the State Budget, which Governor Gavin Newsom must propose and submit to the State Legislature by January 10. The California State Legislature has until June 15, 2024, to approve and pass a Budget Bill for the upcoming fiscal year by midnight.

The final deadline to introduce new bills by both the Assembly and Senate is February 16, 2024. During a biennial session, the Legislature will consider approximately 7,000 bills in addition to numerous constitutional amendments and other resolutions.

A good resource for more information on bills introduced and chaptered during the 2023-2024 Legislative Session, is the California Legislative Information website. This website is a comprehensive resource for prospective bills and provides a legislative history for statutes chaptered from 1999 to the present.

The California State Senate and the California State Assembly websites can provide more information on the California State Legislators, Committee Membership, Committee Hearing Schedules, and the Legislative calendars. To find your California Representative, please go here.

If you are interested in learning more about what California Legislation that the SILC is following, we invite you to join us at our next Communication and Collaboration (C&C) Committee Meeting. We meet on the second Friday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During the C&C Committee meetings, SILC members and staff share and discuss pending California Legislation that may impact Independent Living as well as facilitate collaborations with other agencies. For more information on the Communication and Collaboration Committee or any of the other SILC Committee meetings, please visit our Committee Meetings page on our website.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the SILC Legislative Specialist, Allison Viramontes-Nhan, at for assistance.

Remember to Vote this November!

  • The last day to register to vote for the March 5, 2024, Presidential Primary Election is February 20, 2024.
  • All California active registered voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the March 5, 2024, Presidential Primary Election.
  • Your county elections office will begin mailing ballots by February 5, 2024.
  • Ballot drop-off locations open on February 6, 2024.
  • Vote-by-mail ballots can be returned by mail, at a drop-off location, or your county elections office.
  • Vote centers open for early in-person voting in all Voter’s Choice Act counties beginning on February 24, 2024.
  • Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by March 12, 2024.

For more information on the candidates, or for frequently asked questions about voting accessibility or deadlines, visit the Secretary of State page.

Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) Application Period is Open

Photo Description: Photo Description: YLF 2023 Volunteer Staff pose for a photo during our dance. Volunteer staff include alumni, young people with disabilities, community partners and allies to our community.

The California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) is a transformative initiative dedicated to empowering young individuals with disabilities to become leaders in their communities. This forum provides a unique platform for high school students, fostering personal growth, advocacy skills, and self-confidence. Through workshops, mentorship programs, and interactive activities, YLF cultivates a supportive environment where participants can explore their potential and develop the necessary skills to navigate societal challenges.

The forum focuses on instilling leadership qualities, emphasizing the importance of self-advocacy and civic engagement. Attendees have the opportunity to connect with successful role models who share their own experiences of overcoming obstacles, inspiring a sense of resilience and determination among participants.

By promoting inclusivity and breaking down societal barriers, YLF aims to create a more accessible and equitable future for individuals with disabilities. This forum not only equips young leaders with practical tools for success but also fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among participants. Ultimately, the YLF stands as a beacon of empowerment, fostering a new generation of leaders who are equipped to drive positive change and advocate for a more inclusive society.

Student applications are open through January 31! Visit the YLF web to learn more and to submit your application electronically!

The California YLF is also recruiting applicants to be part of their volunteer staff team.                                                              

  • When is YLF? July 14-20, 2024, in-person at California State University, Sacramento
  • Who is YLF For? Anyone looking for a great work experience and volunteer opportunity! We have a variety of positions available from emcee, facilitator, peer mentor, peer counselor, assistants, logistics, transportation, etc. Priority is given to YLF Alumni and young adults with Disabilities. All are welcome and encouraged to apply! Some positions may include a stipend, pending budget approval.
  • Cost: Free! All expenses including travel, accommodations and meals are covered for volunteer staff.
  • How to Apply: Complete an online application – YLF 2024 Staff Online Application
  • Deadline to Apply: Sunday, March 31, 2024

Additional information including position descriptions and application information can be found at

For additional questions, please send an email to or call the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities office at 855-894-3436.

Notice of SILC Office Closures and SILC Meeting Updates

 The SILC Office will be closed and staff will be out of the office in observance of the following holidays:

  • Monday, February 19, 2024 President’s Day
  • Monday, April 1, 2024 Cesar Chavez Day

Please save the following dates/times in your calendar for 2024 so that you don’t miss any! Dates and locations may have changed since our last newsletter. All meeting agendas and materials will be posted to our website at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.

  • March 5-6, 2024 SILC Full Council Meeting (all virtual using Zoom)
  • March 7, 2024 SILC Legislative Visits (virtual and by appointment for members only)
  • April 2, 2024 SPIL Hearings (all virtual using Zoom)
  • April 5, 2024 SPIL Hearings (all virtual using Zoom)
  • June 5-6, 2024 SILC Full Council Meeting (all virtual using Zoom)
  • June 30, 2024 2025-2027 SPIL Due to the Administration on Community Living (ACL)
  • July 14-20, 2024 Youth Leadership Forum
  • September 17-18, 2024 SILC Full Council Meeting in Sacramento (in person/hybrid using Zoom)
  • December 10-11, 2024 SILC Full Council Meeting (all virtual using Zoom)