Minutes — August 2019 Public Policy Committee Meeting

2019 Council and Committee Meetings


  • Council Members Present
  • Lora Taylor,
  • Committee Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Ronnie Browning
  • Paul Cardarella
  • Andrew Crim
  • Kristen Cox
  • Jeff Miller, DRTx
  • Michael Peace
  • Molly Spratt
  • Amy Sharp, UT – CDS
  • Dana Williamson, HHSC, Title XIX/Medicaid
  • Committee Members Absent

  • Dalun Zhang, TAMU – CDD
  • Guests Present

  • Ricardo Atkinson
  • Floyd Browning
  • Kyle Cox
  • Amy Litzinger
  • Linda Litzinger
  • Lauren Rangel
  • Jay Smith
  • Toby Summers
  • Tiffany Williams
  • Staff Present

  • Scott Daigle
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Genessee Klemm
  • Linda Logan


Call to Order

The Public Policy Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) convened on Thursday, August 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 9:07 AM. A quorum was present. Jeff Miller was present as the representative from Disability Rights Texas and counts toward quorum but is not a voting member. Council Member Toby Summers had not yet completed his Council Member orientation and training; as such, he is listed as a Guest and was ineligible to vote on any of the action items.

  1. Introductions of Committee Members, Staff and Visitors
    Committee members, staff, and guests were introduced. Chair Taylor provided a brief overview of the responsibilities of the Committee.

  2. Public Comments
    Linda Litzinger offered comments to the Committee. She discussed looking ahead to the Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) process and strategies to increase and include funding for individuals who use a wheelchair and attend day habilitation programs. This funding would be used to modify transportation for these individuals. Litzinger also discussed Medicaid Buy-In and “Survivor Benefits” issues related to the total monthly income threshold.

  3. Consideration of May 2, 2019, Minutes
    The Committee reviewed the minutes from the May 2, 2019, Public Policy Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 2, 2019, Public Policy Committee meeting.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Hunter Adkins
    The motion passed without opposition.

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Taylor reviewed absences and discussed her activities of the previous quarter which included attending the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) conference in New Orleans.

  5. Member Updates
    Committee members provided personal updates from the last quarter, regarding their families and recent involvement with advocacy activities.

  6. Legislative Wrap-Up
    Public Policy Director Scott Daigle provided an update and overview of staff activities and key issues during the 86th Texas Legislative Session. He also provided an overview of Interim Charge recommendations.

    The Committee discussed the recognition of members of the 86th Texas Legislature who were leaders on disability issues. The Committee decided to recognize two members each from the House of Representatives and the Senate, with each pair consisting of a Republican and a Democrat.

    Motion: To nominate Representative Victoria Neave, Representative John Raney, Senator Lois Kolkhorst and Senator Judith Zaffirini to be recognized by the Council.
    Made By: Hunter Adkins
    Second: Michael Peace
    The motion passed without opposition.

  7. Grant Project Discussion
    Public Policy Specialist Ashley Ford led a discussion on the TCDD Policy Fellows project. She detailed the project changes in this RFP which included increasing the number of funded policy fellows and an increase in the overall funding amount for each project. Committee members provided comments regarding the length of the project as well as additional support for the fellows.

    Motion: To recommend Council approval of funding TCDD Policy Fellows at up to $77,500 per year, per project, for up to 10 project(s), for up to two years.
    Made By: Hunter Adkins
    Second: Kristen Cox
    The motion passed without opposition.

    Ford next led a discussion on the Developmental Disabilities Journalism Fellows Program. She provided information and recommended changes to previous Council funding of a project of this nature. Changes included funding six journalism fellows, shortening the project length to one year and funding of up to $75,000. Committee members discussed the project information and changes.

    Motion: To recommend Council approval of funding Developmental Disabilities Journalism Fellows program at up to $75,000 per year, per project, for up to 6 project(s) for up to one year. Made By: Hunter Adkins
    Second: Ronnie Browning
    The motion passed without opposition. Kristen Cox abstained.

  8. State and Federal Policy Update
    Public Policy Specialist Ford discussed her continued collaboration with REV UP. On January 13, 2020, REV UP will host a Presidential 2020 Forum at the University of Texas and Ford assisted with developing the forum’s questionnaire.

    Public Policy Specialist Linda Logan discussed attending the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – Texas Chapter (AAIDD-Tx) Conference with Ford and Public Policy Director Scott Daigle. Logan provided information that therapists and psychologists may not fully understand Supportive Decision-Making Agreements and that is an area that may need more education and information efforts in the future.

    System Change Specialist Danny Fikac discussed his attendance to the annual Texas Advocates Conference. Fikac attended the breakout sessions with three of the TCDD Peer Support Specialist Projects (Imagine Art, University of Massachusetts and Texas Advocates). Fikac discussed activities and the progress of each project.

  9. Public Input on Committee Discussion
    There was no further public input on the Committee’s discussion.

  10. Other Discussion Items
    The Committee discussed voting and voter registration opportunities.

  11. Future Agenda Items
    No additional future agenda items were discussed or requested. The next Public Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for November 7, 2019.


Committee Chair Lora Taylor adjourned the meeting at 11:57 AM.