Minutes — August 2017 Public Policy Committee Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Patty Anderson, DRTX
  • Kristen Cox
  • Sue Fielder, HHSC — Older Americans Act
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Ruth Mason
  • Meagan Sumbera, TAMU — CDD
  • Amy Sharp, UT — CDS

Committee Members Absent

  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kristine Clark
  • Michael Peace
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Jami Snyder, HHSC — Title XIX — Medicaid
  • Lora Taylor, Committee Chair

Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair

Guests Present

  • Anne Fotenot
  • Alexandra Noble
  • Rona Statman

Staff Members Present

  • Ashley Ford
  • Maeve Hurson
  • Linda Logan
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director

Call To Order

The Public Policy Committee convened on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in Longhorn Room at the Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 Hotel Drive, Austin, TX 78719. Public Policy Committee Chair pro tempore Stephen Gersuk called those present to order at 2:01 p.m.

  1. Introductions
    Chair pro tempore Gersuk asked the Committee members, staff, and guests to introduce themselves and to describe a recent act of kindness or courage they had recently witnessed.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered to the Committee.

  3. Consideration of Minutes
    The Committee reviewed the minutes from the May 4, 2017 Public Policy Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 4, 2017 Public Policy Committee meeting.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Meagan Sumbera
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair pro tempore Gersuk reviewed absences.

  5. Member Updates
    The Committee received updates from member Ruth Mason regarding her healthcare advocacy efforts during the quarter which included giving presentations to others regarding Medicaid block grants and how they could impact people with disabilities and their family members.

    The Committee also received updates from member Kristen Cox regarding her son’s trip to the Rockies and the documentary filmed during his excursion.

  6. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    The Committee discussed strategies and actions to address disproportionality and disparities including the outcome of legislation that would have added people with disabilities as designees of the state’s Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program contracts.

    The Committee recommended that staff consider exploring opportunities to help people with disabilities who are also people of color to qualify for state HUB status as proof of concept. The Committee also recommended that staff consider exploring federal opportunities to help people with disabilities who own a small business gain status as a Small Disadvantaged Business under the federal Small Business Act, which would make them eligible for bidding and contracting benefit programs involved with federal procurement.

    The Committee reminded staff to look for ways to limit exploitation of people with disabilities in the program. The Committee suggested staff should also vet recommendations with Paul Gibson who runs the state’s HUB program.

  7. Public Policy Staff Activities
    The Committee received updates from staff regarding state policy issues and staff activities including public comments submitted by the Policy Council for Children and Families and TCDD staff and partners during the quarter. The Committee discussed 2017 Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS) Manual comments submitted on behalf of Disability Rights Texas, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, The Arc of Texas, and TCDD. The Committee expressed concern regarding the elimination of discipline indicators from the PBMAS Manual because it could disproportionally affect students in special education by decreasing the transparency and collection of discipline data in schools.

    The Committee received updates from staff regarding state supported living centers (SSLCs) including the sale of SSLC services to people in community-based services and SSLC budget issues.

    The Committee received updates from staff regarding recent federal policy issues including the implications of federal action on the state’s Medicaid program.

  8. Other Discussion Items
    The Committee received updates from TCDD Policy Fellow, Alexandra Nobel, regarding general residential operations (GROs) and the work she is doing involving supporting families with EveryChild Inc.

    The Committee discussed the state’s policy that children should grow up in families and TCDD’s historic role in dramatically reducing the number of children living in nursing facilities in Texas.


There being no further business, Committee Chair pro tempore Stephen Gersuk adjourned the meeting at 3:46 p.m.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council