Advocacy

4-5 minute read

CTD has built a reputation as one of the foremost advocates in the state for public policy that protects and benefits Texans with disabilities, their families, service providers, and communities. Whether the Legislature is in session or we're in an interim year, be assured that CTD is working for you at the Capitol!

The 87th Texas Legislature is scheduled to convene Tuesday, January 12, 2021 and adjourn Monday, May 31.

Read our 2019 Legislative Report

Top Priorities

Attendant Wages

Recruitment and retention of this crucial workforce has been at high risk for decades, due to an extremely low base wage, no benefits, increasing demand, and alternative employers paying much higher wages. We recommend an increase in the hourly base wage to $15.00 in 2021.

Access to Oral and Dental Care

More than 400,000 adult Texans in Medicaid receive little to no dental services. When these individuals have dental pain, their only option is the emergency room. Plus, poor oral health is linked to serious chronic conditions, like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. A dental benefit would not only improve the oral and overall health outcomes of this population, but also make better use of public funds.

Mental Health Services for Children & Youth

Children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to experience trauma and abuse than their peers. The Legislature should strengthen early childhood and school-based mental health supports and practices to foster a supportive school climate and ensure that school discipline policies do not target students with disabilities and/or mental health issues.

Special Education

Texas' public education system could be facing some radical changes in 2021. The Texas Legislature must NOT leave students with disabilities behind by neglecting to support special education programs. This means making sure that public schools have the resources they need to address the gaps in service provision due to COVID-19, ensuring students with disabilities at every level are identified and have access to the appropriate supports and related services, and that funding intended for public schools is not diverted to private schools.

State Budget & Appropriations

The coronavirus pandemic and related unemployment and economic impact have prompted speculation of severe budget cuts in 2021. With a massive Rainy Day Fund, extra billions coming from the federal government, and opportunities to close revenue loopholes, legislators have a choice to prioritize the needs of Texans and plan for the future. In 2021, we urge legislators to fund programs that support adults and children with all disabilities, personal attendants, and families in Medicaid managed care.

Voting

Mail-in ballots are one component of ensuring that Texans with disabilities can cast a private, independent ballot, but this system is not accessible to blind voters. In 2021, the Legislature should enable a mail-in ballot format that is accessible to all eligble voters, as well as address the state's faulty policies around mail-in ballot signature verification. In addition, CTD will oppose any legislation that would create a barrier to voting for Texans with disabilities.

Other priorities

Access to Medical Cannabis

We support the expansion of the Texas Compassionate Use Program to cover more Texans. Current policy on medical cannabis and qualifying conditions allows access to safe and legal cannabis too few Texans, when many more, include some with disabilities, could benefit.

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

We join lead organization Texans Care for Children in urging the Legislature to address funding shortfalls and program policies to sustain ECI. This investment will ensure that little Texans get the early intervention services they need to get on a strong developmental track and be ready for school. We also strongly oppose proposed cuts to ECI Respite Services as part of any cost containment strategy.

Employment Opportunities

Adding people with disabilities to the Historically Underutilized Business program (HUB) will increase entrepreneurship, support self-employment, and sponsor small business ventures for a historically disadvantaged minority. This will, in turn, provide the state of Texas with valuable goods and services.

Medicaid Expansion

We support the Cover Texas Now coalition in advocating to put Medicaid expansion to a public vote through a constitutional amendment ballot measure, a new approach to addressing this issue. Texans broadly support Medicaid expansion, but in 8 years, political leaders have not taken the necessary steps to expand health care for all Texans. Meanwhile, our rate and number of uninsured continues to be the highest in the nation and is growing.

Non-Medical Switching

As a member of the Coalition for Stable Patients, we support measures to end the practice of non-medical switching in Texas. Non-medical switching is a set of tactics health insurers use to switch stable consumers off their already-prescribed medications for non-medical reasons. It can take months or even years for a person with a chronic condition and their doctor to find an effective medication; insurance companies should not stand in the way of their stable health.

@TXDisabilities