Leo’s Letter: Spotlight On Two Priority Bills Being Heard In Committee

On October 29, two hearings will be held that include bills on The Arc platform, one by the Joint Committee on Public Health, and the other by the Joint Committee on Children, Families,  and Persons with Disabilities.

The latter committee covers most of our supported bills and testimony includes 10 bills that day. Chairs Michael J. Finn and Adam Gomez head the joint committee respectively for the House and Senate branches.

You can find a list of all the hearings scheduled for October 29 here. The Joint Committee on Public Health will hear two bills on The Arc platform.

I want to highlight two of the bills at the Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities Committee here.

S137, “An Act to protect persons with disabilities in MassHealth day habilitation programs,” was filed by Senator Michael O. Moore. It expands the registry to MassHealth by targeting the day habilitation program.

Although the registry is in its first phase of implementation, advocates and the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) recognize that day habilitation is a key program to include now. Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are most, if not all of those served through MassHealth day habilitation. In addition, day habilitation services are in large part offered by agencies that deliver other adult services. Thus, we are placing agencies in a catch 22 situation if they have no way to screen out a person for day habilitation who they legally refused to hire in a DDS day or residential program.

Expanding eligibility for persons with developmental disabilities (DD) as federally defined is another bill being heard on October 29, with bills filed by Representative James O’Day (H261) and Senator Joan Lovely (S122) respectively. Common examples of disabilities among adults with DD, aside from autism and intellectual disability, are cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and those with significant sensory impairments which result in delays.

Eligibility criteria for developmental disability is a high barrier for adults, for example, requiring “substantial function limitations in three or more … areas of major life activity” and “manifested before the individual attains age 22.” Persons with DD can access housing and employment assistance. But they do not have access to support which could help them achieve independence and community inclusion.

These bills are in the public interest as they both protect and advance the rights of persons with disabilities. Learn about all the supported bills by visiting our platform on our website.

Bills to be heard at Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities

  • DPPC Language H218 & S117
  • Abuse Registry S137
  • Hospital Training H219
  • Relative to Persons with Disability H261 & S122
  • ABA H184 & S115
  • Katie’s Law H240 & S114

Bills to be heard at Public Health

  • Hospital Training S1469
  • Operation House Call H2279 & S146

One Comment:

  1. Please help support our most vulnerable be protected from predators. Please expand the registry

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