Minutes — February 2018 Public Policy Committee Meeting


Committee Members Present

  • Lora Taylor, Committee Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kristine Clark
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mary Faithfull, DRTx
  • Sue Fielder, HHSC, Older Americans Act
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Ruth Mason
  • Michael Peace
  • Amy Sharp, UT – CDS
  • Dan Zhang, TAMU – CDD

Committee Members Absent

  • Brandon Pharris
  • Stephanie Stephens, HHSC, Title XIX/Medicaid

Staff Present

  • Ashley Ford
  • Linda Logan
  • Josh Ryf
  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director

Guests Present

  • Jan Brown
  • Alexandra Noble,TCDD Policy Fellow
  • Rona Statman
  • Christa Walikonis, TCDD Policy Fellow
  • Tiffany Williams, TCDD Policy Fellow

Call to Order

The Public Policy Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) convened on Thursday, February 8, 2018 in Maple/Mesquite Room of the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor called those present to order at 1:01 p.m.

  1. Introductions
    Chair Taylor asked the Committee members, staff, and guests to introduce themselves and share one word that they would use to describe what the Public Policy Committee does or what role the committee plays in the disability community.

    It was noted that Stephanie Stephens was present as a representative from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for Title XIX/Medicaid but is not a voting member.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered to the Committee.
  3. Consideration of Minutes
    The Committee reviewed the minutes from the November 2, 2017 Public Policy Committee meeting.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 2, 2017 Public Policy Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Hunter Adkins
    The motion passed without opposition. Mary Faithfull abstained from voting.

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Taylor reviewed absences and welcomed Christa Walikonis, the TCDD Public Policy Fellow recently hired by Disability Rights Texas (DRTx).
  5. Member Updates
    Committee members provided personal updates regarding their family and recent involvement with advocacy activities.
  6. Advocacy Strategies and Resources
    The committee discussed TCDD’s audience, resources, and advocacy strategies including Public Policy Committee’s purpose and role in the disability community, the Council’s role in education and advocacy versus lobbying, and allowable advocacy activities determined by the Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). The committee determined that having summaries regarding TCDD’s past grant activities would improve the advocacy work of TCDD.

    MOTION: To approve the development of an executive summary by staff for a summary report on TCDD’s past grant projects to discuss at the May 2018 Council Meeting.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Hunter Adkins
    The motion passed without opposition.

    The committee discussed ideas for future advocacy activities including inviting the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) to a meeting to discuss shared policy goals, identifying “Friends of TCDD” to address the Council’s lack of racial and ethnic diversity, hosting a policy fellow academy on disability-related issues similar to the academy hosted by the Hogg Foundation, and asking legislative offices what disability issues are brought to their office the most.

  7. Public Policy Staff Activities
    The committee received updates regarding recently submitted public input by staff including public comment to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) regarding proposed rule changes to investigations in Adult Protective Services (APS) and a letter to the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals to support the establishment of a Mental Health Commission and a specific charge to expand the scope of the Commission to focus on individuals with an intellectual disability.
  8. State & Federal Policy UpdateThe committee received updates regarding federal policy activities including:
    1. the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD) letter to the Department of Justice regarding recent withdrawal of guidance and technical assistance documents concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
    2. the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) letter to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) regarding TEA’s 8.5 percent special education representation indicator
    3. the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,
    4. the estimated prevalence of children diagnosed with developmental disabilities in the United States, and
    5. NPR’s Special Series: Abused and Betrayed regarding the sexual assault epidemic among people with intellectual disabilities.

    The committee received updates regarding state policy activities including:

    1. the TEA Response to OSEP letter,
    2. the Texas’s Aging State Plan,
    3. the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Legislative Appropriations Process, and
    4. the date of the Texas Disability Issues Forum on August 27, 2018.

    The committee discussed opportunities to submit public comment on TEA’s corrective action plan before it is submitted to the Department of Education in April.

  9. Public Policy in Grant Projects
    The committee discussed public policy in grant projects including the Texas Developmental Disabilities Network Partners’ Texas Medicaid Stories survey results, and opportunities to share the Strategic Education Solutions’ Virtual Job Coach web-based resources, and health and fitness projects with the Texercise health and wellness program at HHSC.
  10. Other Discussion Items
    The Committee discussed other ways for the committee to achieve the Council’s mission and opportunities for the committee to use its role in the disability community to create change.


There being no further business, Committee Chair Lora Taylor adjourned the meeting at 3:48 p.m.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council