Minutes — November 2019 Public Policy Committee Meeting

2019 Council and Committee Meetings


  • Committee Members Present
  • Lora Taylor, Committee Chair
  • Kristen Cox
  • Maverick Crawford
  • Mary Faithfull, DRTx
  • Randall Resneder
  • Michael Peace
  • Robert Schier III
  • Eric Shahid
  • Amy Sharp, UT — CDS
  • Dana Williamson, Title XIX/Medicaid – HHSC
  • Dan Zhang, A&M – CDD
  • Committee Members Absent

  • Kim Torres
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Guests Present

  • Ricardo Atkinson
  • Lauren Rangel
  • Kami Shahid
  • Coline Sperling
  • Regional Coordinators Present

  • Skyler Mueller
  • Richard Williams
  • Staff Present

  • Scott Daigle
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Linda Logan
  • Evan Marczynski


Call to Order

The Public Policy Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) convened on Thursday, November 7, 2019 in the Houston II room of the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Austin, 303 West 15th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor called those present to order at 9:08 AM. A quorum was present.

  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
    No public comments were offered to the Committee.

  3. Consideration of August 8, 2019, Minutes
    The Committee reviewed the minutes from the August 8, 2019, Public Policy Committee meeting. Corrections were noted regarding Toby Summers’ participation since he had not completed orientation. He will be listed as a guest on the August meeting minutes.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the August 8, 2019, Public Policy Committee meeting.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Randall Resneder
    The motion passed without opposition. Mary Faithfull abstained.

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Taylor reviewed absences and discussed her activities of the previous quarter which included attending the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival.

  5. Member Updates
    Committee members provided updates from the last quarter, regarding their families and recent involvement with advocacy activities.
  1. Selection of Nominating Committee
    Chair Taylor explained that Council policies provide for a Nominating Committee to be established each year at the fall Council meeting to nominate Executive Committee members for the following year. Taylor asked the Public Policy Committee to nominate one of its members to the Council’s Nominating Committee. Eric Shahid was nominated.

    Motion: To approve Eric Shahid as the designated Public Policy Committee member of the Nominating Committee.
    Made By: Robert Schier III
    Second: Maverick Crawford
    The motion passed unanimously.
  1. State and Federal Policy Update
    Public Policy Director Scott Daigle provided a presentation with an overview of TCDD’s work during the 86th Texas legislative session including TCDD’s Public Policy Priorities, Bill of the Week, Legislative News Updates, testimony that TCDD staff offered, and the fate of various legislative proposals. Daigle also discussed TCDD’s involvement with the Disability Policy Consortium (DPC), noting TCDD’s staff work on the DPC’s Disabilities & Public Policy: Recommendations for the 86th Texas Legislature booklet of issue briefs given to each legislative office. Committee members requested a copy of the booklet. Looking forward, Committee members asked policy staff for assistance in developing effective testimony for future legislative committee hearings and requested additional education to better understand advocacy activities allowed as a TCDD Council member. Daigle explained that the Committee will continue to discuss preparing for the legislative session in future meetings.

    The Committee discussed TCDD’s lawmaker recognitions including identifying potential award names to be used for the recognitions, scheduling meetings with the lawmakers for Council members to present the recognitions, and ideas for publicizing the recognitions to a broader audience.

    Public Policy Specialist Ashley Ford provided an update on her recent activities related to sexual assault including participating in the 1st annual convening to develop a national vision to address sexual abuses against persons with disabilities and presenting on serving survivors with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during a forensic exam to sexual assault nurse examiner students at Texas A&M University’s College of Nursing. Ford noted that the convening was an opportunity for stakeholders from various disciplines including disability services, advocacy groups, social services, adult protective services, law enforcement, health care providers as well as state and federal agencies to take part in a national conversation. Ford highlighted that during the convening, stakeholders expressed a need for states to organize their own convenings and networks to address sexual assault.

    Committee members discussed the pervasiveness and complexity of sexual assault within the disability community and determined that being able to listen to all sides of the issue and exchange ideas is important and can greatly inform future action across Texas’ system. The Committee requested that staff develop an executive summary to fund a Texas convening to develop a uniform statewide vision to address sexual assault against people with disabilities. The Committee discussed the importance of including district attorneys and prosecutors, male survivors, and survivors who do not communicate verbally in conversations to address the sexual assault epidemic within the disability community and asked that these groups be explicitly included in the executive summary for the Texas convening.

    MOTION: To request an executive summary for a Texas convening to develop a uniform statewide vision to address sexual assault against people with disabilities.
    MADE BY: Robert Schier III
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Public Policy Specialist Linda Logan discussed attending the 36th Annual NADD Conference and Exhibit Show. Logan highlighted the timeliness and significance of TCDD’s Complex Mental Health Needs and People with IDD RFP which is currently open, as the need for improvements in this area were emphasized during the conference.

    Logan explained that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) asked stakeholders to submit ideas and recommendations for the agency’s 2022-2023 Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) by November 22, 2019. Logan noted that TCDD staff is working with other disability organizations to develop ideas and recommendations.

    Logan also provided an update to the Committee regarding the Rider 42 Medicaid Waiver Program Interest List Study to be conducted by HHSC and submitted to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor by September 1, 2020. Title XIX/Medicaid representative Dana Williamson requested that the Committee provide ideas and feedback on the study as it is being developed to HHSC.

    The Committee discussed the importance of getting accurate information regarding the interest list for Medicaid waivers to families with children with IDD earlier to prevent unnecessary crisis or limited access to services and supports once they reach adulthood. Public Policy Specialist Ford noted that Community First Choice services and supports – which are Medicaid state plan entitlements – could help many individuals while they wait on the interest list, but awareness of Community First Choice appears limited. Title XIX/Medicaid representative Dana Williamson agreed to provide a presentation to the Committee during the February 2020 meeting on Community First Choice.

    Ford provided an update on higher education including TCDD’s appointment to a new advisory council on postsecondary education of people with IDD and a presentation she gave at the Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce’s college fair regarding federal financial aid for students with intellectual disabilities. Ford explained that the new advisory council will be tasked with developing educational outreach materials to raise awareness in Texas of postsecondary education opportunities and for distributing them to all Texas public schools. The advisory council will also study the accessibility of higher education for individuals with IDD and create recommendations on how to remove existing barriers, which will be published in an annual report. Ford noted that many involved with TCDD’s previous higher education grant projects were appointed to the advisory committee.

    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. Committee members requested additional information regarding the Forum and opportunities to get involved.

  2. Legislative Interim Charges
    Public Policy Director Daigle gave an overview of the interim charge process and highlighted disability-related interim charges recently issued by the Lieutenant Governor for committees of the Texas Senate to consider. Daigle also provided the Committee with the interim charge recommendations sent to the Speaker of the House on behalf of the Council. Daigle explained that the Speaker of the House has not yet issued charges for committees of the Texas House to consider during the interim. Daigle ensured Committee members that TCDD staff will keep Council members informed of developments related to interim charges, including opportunities to attend hearings and testify.

    The Committee discussed preliminary plans for a series of informational panel discussions at the Capitol regarding key disability issues. Daigle ensured members that staff will provide updates as new information on the series becomes available.

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

  4. Future Agenda Items
    In addition to the presentation on the Community First Choice program, a request to discuss individualized budgeting at a future meeting was made. The next Public Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for February 6, 2020.

  5. Other Discussion Items
    No other items were discussed by the Committee.


Committee Chair Lora Taylor adjourned the meeting at 11:53 AM.