Friday, May 28, 2010

Legislative Update May 28, 2010

Legislative Update May 28, 2010

HB 1 – Budget (OPPOSE)

· House Appropriations committee approved some amendments to HB 1 on 5-27-10.

· The fiscal amendments are being analyzed by DHH to determine the impact to OCDD and providers.

· One amendment “prohibits DHH from privatizing Acadiana Services and Supports Center UNTIL a commission is created to review and approve such a contract. Also provides for an oversight committee and an ombudsman after said contract has been instituted.”

· One amendment “prohibits DHH from transferring any resident to a community setting without first creating a commission to review that resident’s status and ability to function in a new setting.”

· One amendment allows 2.5 Million from the Community and Family Support Fund to be distributed to five Districts and Authorities to be used for NON-Reoccurring expenses for individuals with developmental disabilities. There is much debate on HOW this money should be distributed (statewide versus a focus on five areas), WHO the money should be distributed to, and WHAT the money should be used for. (Note: We are actively involved in these discussions and in the development of a proposal that will go to Rep. Connick next week.)

· House has not yet voted on the full bill.

· The Arc of Louisiana opposes this HB 1 because it includes cuts (3.1% - 3.7%) to community based services.

HB 1185 – Long term care bill (SUPPORT)

· This bill passed Senate Health and Welfare this week and will go to the House floor next.

· The Arc of Louisiana supports this bill because it requires DHH to fully implement the Resource Allocation Model which will result in using state and federal funds more efficiently. Cost savings from the RAM are being used to offset additional cuts to community based services.

HB 959 – Moratorium on implementation of the Resource Allocation Model (OPPOSE)

· Puts a moratorium on implementation of the Resource Allocation Model

· Voluntarily deferred by the author. (It is likely that this bill is dead.)

HCR 94 – DSW Registry (SUPPORT)

· This bill passed the House Health and Welfare Committee and House Floor. It has been assigned to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

· The Arc of Louisiana supports this resolution because it will suspend the DSW Registry for a period of time (until January 2011).

· The resolution calls for a stakeholder group to meet to develop a plan for addressing the protection of individual with disabilities from DSWs who abuse and neglect.

HB 405 – Seclusion and Restraints (SUPPORT in current form)

· This bill passed out of Senate Education committee this week. Will move to the Senate Floor next.

· The Arc of Louisiana supports this bill because it “requires the BESE to adopt guidelines for the use of seclusion and physical and mechanical restraint of students with exceptionalities.” NOTE: The bill was amended this week to change “guidelines” to “rules and regulations.”

· Rules and regulations regarding seclusion and restraints would protect individuals with disabilities from unnecessary and unwarranted seclusion and restraint. At present time, schools do NOT have rules and regulations and there are neither guidelines nor consistency in how this is applied across the state.

H.B. 1460 - Special Needs Trusts (SUPPORT)

· Will allow state civil service employees to name a special needs trust as the beneficiary to their LASERS retirement benefit.

· Currently when state civil service employees retire they cannot name a trust as the beneficiary and must name an INDIVIDUAL. This is particularly troublesome because many state employees have children with disabilities and rely on a special needs trust to help care for their child after their death while preserving other benefits that may be available to them.

· Will move next to the Senate Retirement Committee.

HB 865 – Waiver benefits for military personnel (SUPPORT)

· Allows recipients of waiver services who are called to duty to be placed first on the waiting list when they return to the state of Louisiana.

· Pending in the Legislative Bureau.

HB 732, 1343, and 1394 – Corporal Punishment in elementary and secondary schools (Several bills that all involve this same issue)

· 732 - involuntarily deferred (It is very likely that this is now a dead bill.)

· 1343 - protects children with disabilities from corporal punishment. This Bill passed through the Education committee and is pending passage in the House. This bill failed House final passage. It is now a dead bill.

· 1394 - allows parents to opt out, but does not exclude children with disabilities. Bill has been referred to House Education Committee.

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