Jill Smith, grant officer for The Arc Indiana, and Kelsey Cowley, President of Self-Advocates of Indiana, testified before an interim study committee of the Indiana General Assembly in support of supported decision making as an alternative to guardianship. Cowley stated: “An important part of self-advocacy is choice. We believe all people should have the choice to choose where, how and with whom they live their lives.” The committee recommended no action be taken until data from a pilot project in Wayne County is available.
The Colorado General Assembly has adjourned with many victories for The Arc Colorado including:
- HB 1343, which creates a conflict free case management system, meaning that case management agencies cannot also be service providers, unless the only willing provider of case management in a region is also the only willing service provider;
- HB 1276, which bans prone, mechanical, or chemical restraint in public schools except in cases where a student displays a deadly weapon, it is performed by a trained police officer who has made a law enforcement referral, or it occurs at a school under the jurisdiction of the Division of Youth Corrections;
- HB 1087, which creates a pilot office of public guardianship for incapacitated adults without family or friends able to serve as guardian or enough money to pay a private guardian;
- HB 1046, which eliminates derogatory terms such as “mental retardation” and “mental deficiency” from state law and replaces them with “persons with an intellectual and developmental disability” and “persons with a mental illness”; and
- HB 1188, which makes harassment based on disability or sexual orientation a class 1 misdemeanor, bringing it to the same level as harassment based on race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin.
The Arc Indiana continues its advocacy as the session moves into its final month. They have been supporting several bills including:
- HB 1001, the biennial budget bill, which passed the Senate with The Arc Indiana’s requested Medicaid Waiver rate increase for DSP salaries;
- SR 44, which would have urged the legislative council committee to study the issue of supported decision making, was pulled due to time constraints;
- SB 15, which establishes a registry for physicians, nurses, individuals, and caregivers for the use of cannabidiol to treat intractable epilepsy, and a pilot registry for physicians who want to study the use of cannabidiol to treat intractable epilepsy, and which has passed both houses and has been returned to the Senate with House amendments; and
- HCR 61, A resolution commemorating the 65th anniversary of ADEC, a Chapter of The Arc in Elkhart County, IN, which passed both houses.
The Arc Tennessee is advocating for passage of SB264, The Supported Decision Making Act. This bill makes supported decision making a legally recognized option for adults with disabilities. Under a supported decision making agreement, an individual with a disability maintains all legal decision-making rights and receives help in making decisions from a trusted person. It is an extension of the “least restrictive alternative” principle that guided the movement from segregation to inclusion in education, housing, and workplaces. More information can be found in The Arc of Tennessee’s action alert.
The Arc of Indiana, through a grant from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making and the Administration for Community Living, recently published the report “Supported Decision Making in Indiana: Guardianship, Civil Rights and the Case for a Less Restrictive Environment.”