The Arc California is supporting SB 354, which requires school districts to translate IEPs and other communications with students and parents to their primary language. The bill passed the California Senate 30-6 and is pending in the Assembly Committee on Education.
The Arc Arizona has wrapped up its legislative session with many victories, including:
- HB 2208, which allows schools to offer inhalers to students when permitted by a physician, was signed by Governor Doug Ducey;
- SB 1030, which adds occupational therapy as a benefit under Medicaid, was included in the state budget;
- SB 1031, which creates a “Committee on Incompetent, Nonrestorable and Dangerous Defendants” to evaluate short and long term treatment and supervision that will include a person with expertise in developmental disabilities, was signed by Governor Ducey;
- SB 1102, which would have increased reimbursement rates for services provided through the Division of Developmental Disabilities was not heard in committee, however the state budget included increases to cover the cost of compliance with the state’s minimum wage increase;
- SB 1103, which would have provided funds for home and community based services provided through Area Agencies on Aging, was not heard in committee, but was included in the state budget;
- SB 1104, which increases funding for providers of services to the elderly and persons with disabilities, was not heard in committee, but was included in the state budget;
- SB 1317, which allows specially designed instruction aligned with an IEP to be delivered by general education teachers or other certified personnel and requires the State Board of Education to amend its rules to eliminate confusion on the instruction options for students with disabilities, was signed by Governor Ducey.
The Maryland General Assembly has adjourned sine die, leaving The Arc Maryland with many accomplishments to celebrate. Several bills the chapter supported have passed including:
- HB 1/SB 230, which requires employers of more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave and employers with fewer employees to provide unpaid sick leave;
- HB 197/SB 485, Peyton’s Bill, named for a student undergoing cancer treatment, which provides grants to public schools to purchase remote technology to allow a student to attend a school virtually;
- SB 710, which requires that school districts give parents the opportunity to consent or refuse consent of a decision to enroll their child in an alternate education program that does not provide credit toward a high school diploma, identify their child for the alternate assessment aligned with the state’s alternate curriculum, or to include restraint or seclusion in the child’s IEP; the school may file a complaint if they disagree with the parents’ decision, but as the complainant, they will have the burden of proof;
- HB 644/SB 180, the Independent Living Tax Credit Act, which creates a tax credit for 50% of the cost of renovating a home for the purpose of making it more accessible for people with disabilities; and
- HB 1061, the James W. Hubbard Inclusive Higher Education Grant Program, which provides competitive grants to state colleges and universities for creating pilot programs for inclusive higher education programs for students with I/DD.
The Arc Maryland is busy this legislative session with testimony provided or planned on 36 bills. They are supporting twenty-five, supporting six with amendments, opposing four, and monitoring one. In the week of February 6, they testified in favor of HB 1, the Maryland Healthy Families Act, which requires employers of more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave; SB 180, the Independent Living Tax Credit Act, which provides a tax credit for improving home accessibility; HB 197, Peyton’s Bill, which provides grants to public schools for technology that allows students who couldn’t otherwise attend school to attend remotely; HB 174, which gives parents the right to give or withhold consent on certain IEP decisions and requires the schools to file for due process if they disagree; and SJR2, which rescinds Maryland’s application for a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution pursuant to Article V.
The Arc Wisconsin has been working with the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities to develop initiatives that help youth in transition secure employment. As a result of the chapter’s advocacy, these efforts are now included in Governor Scott Walker’s budget, which proposes $5.1 million in awards to school districts that help students with disabilities obtain employment and $1.5 million to help school districts improve transition programming that connects students with disabilities to jobs.
S451, recently signed into law by Governor Christie, establishes the Office of the Special Education Ombudsman in DOE. The duties of the Ombudsman include, among other things, serving as a resource for the public to better understand state and federal laws governing special education, providing support to parents of students with disabilities in navigating the process of obtaining special education services, educating parents about the available options for resolving special education disputes, identifying patterns of special education complaints and recommending strategies for improvement to NJ-DOE, and serving as a general resource for disability-related information and referrals.
S447, recently passed out of the Senate Education Committee, requires NJ-DOE to maintain an electronic database of all decisions rendered by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law in a special education due process hearing. NJ-DOE must make the database available on its website so that it can be easily accessed by the public.