Minutes — November 2016 Committee of the Whole Meeting

2016 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Patty Anderson, DRT
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Rachel Jew, DSHS
  • Jennifer Kaut, DARS
  • Ruth Mason
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Dana Perry
  • Ron Roberts, TEA
  • Amy Sharp, UT CDS
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Richard Tisch
  • John Thomas
  • April Young, HHSC
  • Donnie Wilson, DADS
  • Dalun Zhang, A&M CDD

Council Members Absent

  • Kristine Clark
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Brandon Pharris

Guests Present

  • Justin Babineaux, DADS
  • Melinda Bect
  • Angela Biggs
  • Jan Brown, JAS
  • Isabel Evans
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Ted Johnson, JAS
  • Steve Kester
  • Amy Litzinger
  • Linda Litzinger
  • Tonya McFarland
  • Karen McKinnon, JAS

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Linda Logan
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Meghan Regis
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, November 3, 2016, in the Colony C Ballroom of the Sonesta Bee Cave — Austin, 12525 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave, TX 78738. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:30 AM.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests introduced themselves.

  2. Public Comments
    Public comments were deferred until later in the meeting.

  3. 85th Texas Legislature Preparation
    Public Policy Specialist Linda Logan discussed public education issues in Texas. She began with federal policy Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that returns a great deal of control to the states in determining how they achieve federal goals regarding standardized testing, accountability and remedies for failing schools. Logan next discussed the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Section 511 provisions for transition age youth.

    Logan discussed Texas specific issues for special education services including the number of Texas students receiving special education services; positive behavior interventions and supports; and use of restraint and seclusion; supported decision-making; and disproportionality in special education.

  4. Public Comments
    Chair Durheim allowed public comments to be offered at this time in the meeting when all guests were present. Public comments were received from Linda Litzinger and Maggie Souter on teacher qualifications and legislation that would require general education teachers to have training on special education and inclusion services.

    Angela Biggs offered comments on her daughter who is a resident at a State Supported Living Center but has a referral for community placement and hopes to be able to receive the services she needs in the community.

  5. 85th Texas Legislature Preparation — continued
    Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos discussed the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR). She reviewed highlights of the Exceptional Items Requests which include funding for: maintaining caseloads for Early Childhood Interventions, Promoting Independence initiatives, Interest List reductions, State Supported Living Centers and State Hospitals, Intensive Behavioral Interventions for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, community attendant wages, and day-habilitation compliance. She also discussed proposed rate reduction options that could have an impact on consumer services.

  6. Screening of “Bottom Dollars” Documentary
    Members viewed a documentary film produced by the Washington State protection and advocacy agency called Bottom Dollars. The film looked at sub-minimum wage employment policy and highlighted individuals currently or previously working in these settings. It also featured individuals with significant disabilities working in competitive employment.


Council Chair Durheim adjourned the Committee of the Whole at 1:10 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council