The Arc Colorado Wraps Up Successful Legislative Session

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 Maryland Celebrates Accomplishments at Conclusion of Legislative Session

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 Pennsylvania Releases Legislative Priorities

The Arc Pennsylvania has released its budget and policy priorities for the legislative session including:

  • Enacting new revenue measures to fund a waiting list reduction such as a $2 admission fee at each establishment with slot machines, an additional four cent tax on cigarettes, and an increase in the tax on table games from 12% to 14%;
  • Continuing efforts to close the remaining state institutions;
  • Improving school climate by expanding Statewide Positive Behavior Supports and ending unnecessary restraint and seclusion;
  • Ending organ transplant discrimination; and
  • Placing the burden of proof on school district rather than parents in IDEA disputes.

The Arc Michigan Successfully Advocates for Ban on Non-Emergency Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

The Arc Michigan successfully advocated for passage of HB 5409-5417. This package of bills prohibits the use of restraint of seclusion in public schools except in emergency situations; prohibits mechanical or chemical restraint or restraint that inhibits breathing; requires parental notification; and requires staff training. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley was instrumental in getting this legislation passed.

The Arc of Colorado Secures Passage of Bill Limiting Use of Restraint and Seclusion

The Arc of Colorado supported HB 1328, recently signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper. This bill strengthens the safety provisions for the use of restraint and seclusion on individuals being detained by a state or local agency. The bill makes it clear that absent a demonstrated emergency, restraint and/or seclusion must never be used as a punishment, sanction, as part of a treatment plan, for retaliation, or for protection. The bill also established a committee to produce a research report for the legislature on the effects of restraint and/or seclusion on youth.

The Arc of New Jersey Advocates for Bill Limiting Use of Restraint and Seclusion

The Arc of New Jersey has supported a number of special education bills:

S1163 seeks to establish mandatory, statewide regulations restricting the use of restraint and seclusion. In the fall, The Arc of New Jersey will work to support the passage of the bill through the state Assembly.