Minutes — February 2019 Public Policy Committee Meeting

2019 Council and Committee Meetings


  • Committee Members Present
  • Lora Taylor, Committee Chair
  • Patty Anderson, DRTx
  • Kristen Cox
  • Kristine Clark
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Meagan Orsag, TAMU – CDD
  • Michael Peace
  • Amy Sharp, UT – CDS
  • Dana Williamson, HHSC, Title XIX/Medicaid
  • Committee Members Absent
  • Ruth Mason
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Guests Present
  • Richard Atkinson
  • Molly Comeaux
  • Christa Walikonis
  • Tiffany Williams
  • Staff Members Present
  • Scott Daigle
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Linda Logan


Call to Order

The Public Policy Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) convened on Friday, February 8, 2019 in the Yucca/San Pedro room of the Embassy Suites Austin Central, 5901 North IH-35, Austin, TX 78723. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor called those present to order at 8:35 AM.

  1. Introductions of Committee Members, Staff and Visitors
    Chair Taylor asked the Committee members, staff, and guests to introduce themselves.
  1. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered to the Committee.
  1. Consideration of November 9, 2018 Minutes
    The Committee reviewed the minutes from the November 9, 2018, Public Policy Committee meeting.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 9, 2018, Public Policy Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Taylor reviewed absences and notified members that Public Policy Committee member Stephen Gersuk resigned from the Council.
  1. Member Updates
    Committee members provided personal updates regarding their family and recent involvement with advocacy activities.
  1. Capitol Event Follow-Up
    The Committee discussed the Council member’s informational event at the Texas Legislature which took place the day before. Members reflected on their engagement with legislators and legislative offices during the meet and greet event and during their scheduled office visits with the members who represent them in the Texas Legislature. The Committee also discussed next steps, including whether the Council should pursue additional legislative visits during the May 2019 meeting.

    Members requested information and/or support related to the Council’s 2019 Public Policy Priorities, advocacy efforts, and other policy topics including:
    • Interest list counts for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waivers
    • Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) legislation, such as HB 1295 by Rep. Sarah Davis
    • Recommendations for transportation-related legislation
    • Wages of direct support professionals employed by state supported living centers (SSLCs)
    • Awards for key disability advocates of the Texas Legislature
    • Opportunities for engaging with legislators during the interim
  1. State and Federal Policy Update
    The Committee received a brief update regarding state and federal policy activities including state legislation prohibiting the restraint of all students in public school and the Disability Policy Consortium’s (DPC) book of issue briefs compiled and formatted by TCDD staff.
  1. Public Input on Committee Discussion
    The Committee received no public input on the Committee’s discussion.
  1. Other Discussion Items
    The Committee briefly discussed the high cost of cannabidiol (CBD) oil and how its cost could be a barrier for many individuals and families using CBD oil through the Texas Compassionate Use Act.
  1. Future Agenda Items
    No additional future agenda items were discussed or requested.


There being no further business, Committee Chair Lora Taylor adjourned the meeting at 10:04 AM.