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TCDD Bill of the Week Update

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For this weekly feature during the regular session, the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) profiled noteworthy bills that were going through the legislative process. Each bill related to TCDD’s Public Policy Priorities or another disability-related issue.

May 31 marked the end of the 140-day regular session of the Texas Legislature. During that period, lawmakers filed over 7,000 bills and joint resolutions, and sent nearly 1,100 bills and resolutions to the governor’s desk. Sunday, June 20, was the final day for the governor to sign those bills, veto them, or let them pass into law without his signature, thereby bringing a close to the work of the session.

As the lawmakers convened, TCDD highlighted 18 separate pieces of legislation, on topics such as special education, employment, accessible parking, and criminal justice. The TCDD Bill of the Week feature provided in-depth summaries of what the bills would do, who supported or opposed them, and how much their implementation was expected to cost the state. Additionally, we included a quote from the author of each bill regarding why they filed it. The posts can be found here. We are pleased to now offer a summary of where they all ended up in the legislative process.

Eleven Bills of the Week were signed into law. They include the following and, unless otherwise noted, go into effect on Sept. 1:

House Bill (HB) 119 by Rep. Brooks Landgraf, which bans organ transplant discrimination against people with disabilities. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Judith Zaffirini.

HB 159 by Rep. Mary González, which will improve training and staff development for educators to serve all students. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.

HB 797 by Rep. Donna Howard, which allows home health nurses to administer any FDA-approved vaccines. Upon its signing, the bill went into effect immediately. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Dawn Buckingham.

HB 1535 by Rep. Stephanie Klick, which expands the eligibility for medical use of low-THC cannabis. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Charles Schwertner. It is worth noting that the final version of the bill is less expansive than what was detailed in our original post.

HB 2107 by Rep. Gene Wu, which allows outpatient services for children who are unable to proceed in juvenile court proceedings due to an intellectual disability. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. José Menéndez.

HB 2256 by Rep. Bobby Guerra, which creates a bilingual special education certification for teachers. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Brandon Creighton.

HB 2831 by Rep. James White, which creates an advisory committee on the confinement of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in county jails. It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Borris Miles.

Senate Bill (SB) 25 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst is the Senate companion to Bill of the Week HB 892 by Rep. James Frank. It enables residents of long-term care facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation. Additionally, a similar ballot proposal will be considered by voters on Nov. 2, 2021, as a result of the passage of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 19.

SB 50 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, which develops a competitive integrated employment initiative for working-age adults with disabilities. It was sponsored in the House by Rep. Victoria Neave.

SB 89 by Sen. José Menéndez, which requires schools to provide an individualized education program supplement for students enrolled in special education during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was sponsored in the House by Rep. Mary González.

SB 776 by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., which creates an adaptive sports program for students with disabilities. It was sponsored in the House by Rep. Alex Dominguez.

Seven Bills of the Week failed to pass this session. They include the following:

HB 24 by Rep. Alex Dominguez, which would have increased the number of inclusive and accessible playgrounds in Texas. It was placed on the House Calendar for consideration but was not brought up prior to the deadline to consider bills. Its Senate companion, SB 520 by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., did not receive a public hearing.

HB 168 by Rep. Mary González, which would have prevented child care providers from discriminating on the basis of disability and improve services for children with special needs. The bill was not voted out of committee, and its Senate companion, SB 1140 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, did not receive a public hearing.

HB 412 by Rep. Terry Meza, which would have created a low-interest loan program for entrepreneurs with physical and mental disabilities. The bill did not receive a public hearing and had no Senate companion.

HB 908 by Rep. Julie Johnson, which would have required private health insurance plans to cover early childhood intervention services. The bill did not receive a public hearing. A similar piece of legislation, HB 843 by Rep. Ray Lopez, was placed on the House calendar for consideration but was not brought up prior to the deadline to consider bills.

HB 2309 by Rep. Alex Dominguez, which would have provided an educational parking course as a penalty for accessible parking violations. It passed out of the House but did not receive a public hearing in the Senate and had no Senate companion.

HB 4571 by Rep. Toni Rose, which would have established a statewide coordinating council for intellectual and developmental disability services. It passed out of the House but did not receive a public hearing in the Senate and had no Senate companion.

SB 54 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, which would have studied the best practices for assisting higher education students with autism. It passed out of committee but was not placed on the Senate calendar for consideration. It had no House companion.

Disability Policy Academy

Our next Disability Policy Academy, titled “A Capitol Recap: Disability Policy in the 87th Legislature,” will take place at 10 a.m. CT on Thursday, July 15. The event will feature an overview of new disability-related laws, a summary of disability issues that remain unaddressed, a discussion on topics lawmakers will cover in special session and a Q&A session.

Please join us for this legislative wrap-up and discussion with policy experts from TCDD and the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD).

The event will be held via Zoom. Participants must register ahead of time. Registration for the event is free.

Registration Details

Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021
Time: 10-11:30 a.m. CT
Register to attend the Disability Policy Academy

Accommodations

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) service and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided. If you need other accommodations, please contact Koren Vogel at koren.vogel@tcdd.texas.gov or 512-948-2035.

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