Written Testimony on SB 31

Public Policy Input — 2019


TCDD logo
  Mary Durheim, Chair
Andrew D. Crim, Vice Chair
Beth Stalvey, MPH, PhD, Executive Director

6201 E. Oltorf, Suite 600
Austin, TX 78741-7509
Email: tcdd@tcdd.texas.gov
Website: www.tcdd.texas.gov
  Phone: (512) 437-5432
Toll Free: (800) 262-0334
Fax: (512) 437-5434

Senate State Affairs Committee

Public Comment on Senate Bill 31
Establishing a Guardianship Abuse, Fraud, and Exploitation Deterrence Program

March 11, 2019

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on Senate Bill 31, which would establish a guardianship abuse, fraud, and exploitation deterrence program. The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) is established by state and federal law and is governed by 27 board members, appointed by the Governor, 60% of whom are individuals with developmental disabilities or family members of individuals with disabilities. TCDD’s purpose in law is to encourage policy change so that people with disabilities have opportunities to be fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.

Guardianship is a legal proceeding that removes the civil rights and privileges of a person by assigning control of his or her life to someone else. Recent legislative changes in Texas have promoted alternatives to guardianship, including supported decision-making, as well as a bill of
rights for individuals under guardianship. These changes provide the foundation on which to advance the rights of, and protections for, individuals with disabilities. Senate Bill 31 would provide necessary oversight and support, and further assist the state in meeting the objectives of recent reforms.

  • It assists and provides additional resources to courts to review guardianships, audit
    accounts and make reports, develop best practices in managing guardianship cases, and
    report concerns related to abuse, fraud, and financial or other exploitation.
  • It facilitates the electronic collection of accessible and useable information, including
    inventories, lists of claims, required annual reports, and other reports required under the
    Estates Code.

Senate Bill 31 is consistent with the goals of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. Thank you for continuing to advance guardianship reform in Texas.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Logan, MPAff
Public Policy Specialist
Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities