For this weekly feature, the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) profiles a noteworthy bill that is currently going through the legislative process. The bill may relate directly to TCDD’s Public Policy Priorities or another disability-related issue.
Bill: House Bill (HB) 4571, relating to the statewide intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) coordinating council.
Bill Author: Rep. Toni Rose, Texas House District 110 (Dallas)
What does the bill do?
HB 4571 would establish a statewide IDD coordinating council with the purpose of ensuring a strategic statewide approach for IDD services.
The duties of the council would include:
- Developing and monitoring the implementation of a five-year statewide IDD strategic plan
- Developing a biennial coordinated statewide IDD expenditure proposal
- Annually publishing an updated inventory of state-funded IDD programs and services, including a description of how these programs and services further the purpose of the statewide IDD strategic plan and an estimate of the number of individuals interested in receiving those programs and services
- Potentially facilitating opportunities to increase collaboration for the effective expenditure of available federal and state funds for IDD services in Texas
The council would be comprised of one or more members from each of the following entities:
- The Department of State Health Services
- The Department of Family and Protective Services
- The Texas Workforce Commission
- The Texas Education Agency
- The Texas Center for Disability Services at the University of Texas at Austin
- The Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University
- The Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- The Texas Commission on Jail Standards
Additionally, the following members would be appointed by the executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC):
- A representative of a local IDD authority
- A representative of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
- A representative of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
- A representative of the Arc of Texas
- A representative of a managed-care organization
- A provider of Medicaid long-term services and supports
- A person or family member of an individual with IDD
- A representative of HHSC’s Office of the Ombudsman
- Representatives of HHSC, with one representative appointed from each division of the commission with responsibility for:
- Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program services
- IDD behavioral health services
- Health and specialty care system employment
- Health, developmental, and independence services
- Access and eligibility services
- Additional members as needed who are recognized experts serving individuals with IDD or who represent the interests of individuals with IDD
The executive commissioner would determine the number of representatives that each entity may designate to serve on the council. Additionally, the council may authorize the designation of representatives from other state agencies or institutions that provide IDD services with the use of appropriated funds. The bill indicates that council members would serve at the pleasure of the designated entity and that the executive commissioner would designate a member of the council to serve as its presiding officer.
Under the terms of the bill, the council will meet at least once quarterly or more frequently at the call of the presiding officer.
HB 4571 would take effect immediately if it passes with a two-thirds vote of all members of each chamber. Otherwise, it would take effect on Sept. 1, 2021.
In 2015, legislative action established the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council with a directive to develop a collaborative five-year behavioral health strategic plan. In February 2019, the group published its Texas Statewide Behavioral Health Strategic Plan Update (PDF) for fiscal years 2017-2021. That document also included a “Foundation for the IDD Strategic Plan” that lays the groundwork for a coordinated plan of action for IDD services across the state, since one does not currently exist. The foundation included a brief overview of the challenges faced by the IDD population in Texas, as well as the system of services and supports available.
Additionally, the foundation detailed the results of an IDD strategic gap survey, which was conducted to “gather statewide stakeholder input to identify gaps in the Texas IDD system and inform the development of the Statewide IDD Strategic Plan.” The survey was distributed online by HHSC and received nearly 5,000 responses.
The work to develop the IDD strategic plan continued in 2019 and 2020, as HHSC conducted another survey and a series of listening sessions across the state. Additional meetings were conducted with key stakeholders, including TCDD, to gather information and formulate the plan. It is TCDD’s understanding that the IDD strategic plan is currently in the final stages of review by HHSC, though there is no timeline as to when it will be made public. The council created by HB 4571 would be charged with overseeing the implementation of this IDD strategic plan.
It is worth noting that TCDD is itself a statewide council focused on IDD issues; however, its purpose, membership, and activities are different than those of the entity proposed by this legislation. As seen above, TCDD would have a designated representative on the new council.
Statement from the bill author, Rep. Toni Rose:
“According to data collected by United Cerebral Palsy and the ANCOR Foundation, Texas ranked 49th overall in efforts to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. … HB 4571 allows experts to share crucial information on improving the lives of our IDD population so that we can make informed decisions on how to most effectively utilize the resources they need.”
Where is the bill in the process?
HB 4571 was passed out of the House on May 8, 2021. It has been sent to the Senate where it awaits referral to a committee. The bill received a public hearing before the House Committee on Human Services on April 6, 2021. You can watch the discussion here, beginning at the 3:54:00 mark.
Who supports the bill and why?
The following comments were taken at the April 6, 2021, public hearing:
- The Arc of Texas: Jennifer Martinez, speaking in her role as CEO of The Arc of Texas, offered the following remarks: “The wide array of services provided to Texans with IDD is complicated, disjointed, and sometimes duplicative. Texas would benefit from a purposeful review of the entire system. … The solution is a coordinated council of state agency decision-makers and IDD stakeholders that provide input about how the entire IDD support system can provide quality, cost-effective services to Texans with IDD.” Martinez also recommended modifications to the bill, some of which were included in the version which passed out of the committee. The adopted recommendations included providing an estimate of individuals waiting for or interested in IDD services and programs in Texas. The recommendation also added the following key organizations to the council: the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. Recommendations to include Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) on the council and to add language regarding the “most integrated setting” for individuals with IDD were not adopted in the version passed out of the committee.
The following groups also registered their support for the bill but did not provide testimony: the Texas Medical Association, the Providers Alliance for Community Services of Texas, the Texas Council of Community Centers, Texas Parent to Parent, the Statewide Leadership Council, the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, Baylor Scott and White, the Center for Pursuit, Reach Unlimited, Avalon House, the Private Providers Association of Texas, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, and United Ways of Texas.
Who opposes the bill and why?
No opposition to the bill was registered at the public hearing.
- DRTx: Susan Murphree, senior policy specialist for DRTx, submitted the following written comments on the bill: “DRTx served on a workgroup to create an IDD strategic plan that resulted in a ‘foundational’ plan and a second IDD strategic plan developed in 2020 that has yet to be posted publicly. We are eager to see HHSC release and post the 2020 plan. Having an IDD statewide coordinating council modeled after the Statewide Behavior Health Coordinating Council would help provide a more clear picture and strategic future direction for IDD services in Texas.”
How much will the bill cost?
The Legislative Budget Board determined the bill would not impact the state budget in a significant way.
Is there a Senate companion to the bill?
There is no Senate companion to HB 4571.
- HB 4061 by Rep. Terry Meza would establish a pilot program for the coordination of disability services. The bill was referred to the House Human Services Committee but did not receive a public hearing.
- HB 4572, also by Rep. Toni Rose, would establish another statewide coordinating council, this one focused on interagency aging services. The bill has passed out of the House and awaits referral to a Senate committee.
For the latest information about where HB 4571 is in the process, follow the bill on the Texas Legislature Online. To receive future legislative updates from TCDD, subscribe to TCDD eNews or follow us on Twitter.
Bill of the Week Updates:
HB 144, the House companion to Bill of the Week Senate Bill (SB) 89, was recently passed out of the House with unanimous support. The bill, which would require schools to provide an individualized educational plan supplement for students enrolled in special education during the COVID-19 pandemic, now awaits referral to a Senate committee.
HB 2107, which would allow outpatient services for children who are unable to proceed in juvenile court proceedings due to an intellectual disability, was passed out of the House on May 8, 2021. The bill now awaits referral to a Senate committee.
HB 2831, which would create an advisory committee on the confinement of individuals with IDD in county jails, was passed out of the House on May 11, 2021. The bill now awaits referral to a Senate committee.
SB 50, which would develop a competitive integrated employment initiative for working-age adults with disabilities, was recently reported favorably out of the House Human Services Committee. It now awaits scheduling for consideration by the full Texas House.
Lastly, the following bills were placed on the House calendar for consideration but were not brought up prior to the May 13 deadline for that chamber to hear HBs. The bills are effectively dead for the session, though there is always a chance that the measure could appear as an amendment to another piece of legislation.
- HB 24, which would administer funding to school districts to provide inclusive and accessible playgrounds
- HB 843, legislation that is identical to Bill of the Week HB 908, which would require private health insurance plans to cover early childhood intervention services
- HB 2193, legislation that is identical to Bill of the Week SB 776, which would create an adaptive sports program for students with disabilities. SB 776, however, awaits a hearing by the House Committee on Public Education and still has a chance of passing.