2013 Session Overview
Based on DRW's policy analysis, priority input and feedback from people with disabilities, the following issues have bills, proposed for the 2013 session, which would be of benefit to the disability community.
Reduce incarceration of people with disabilities
"Age Wave" joint task force on disability, senior issues
Improvements in the abuse response system
Rights for those moving from developmental disability institutions
Reassessment of eligibility for developmental disabilities services
Disability accommodation in higher education
Service animals in housing
Notice of restraint in schools
Abolish death penalty
Adult family home task force recommendations
"No paid services" caseload
DRW has been investigating conditions and wait times in county jails for people with disabilities – mental health, TBI and developmental disability. We recently published a report called “Lost and Forgotten: conditions of confinement while waiting for competency evaluation and restoration."
As a result of the report and advocacy efforts of people with disabilities and their family members, the legislature has two bills to address the competency evaluation process in jails - HB 1627 and SB 5551. In counties where there is a backlog of people waiting in jail for an evaluation, these bills allow the counties to appoint evaluators and bill DSHS for the cost. This could provide significant short term reduction in the wait times.
2.24.13: Both bills have made it through the policy committees and are in the fiscal committees. They will need to have a hearing in the fiscal committees and be voted out by March 1. HB 1627 has been amended to ensure that competency evaluations are of high quality; SB 5551 has not yet been amended. DRW supports the amended House version, HB 1627.
3.1.13: Both bills had positive hearings with testimony. HB 1627 was voted out of the House Committee of Appropriations into the House Rules Commitee, and SB 5551 likewise was voted out of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means into the Senate Rules Committee. Each bill must now be "pulled to the Floor" for a vote by the entire House of Representatives or the entire Senate, respectively.
3.6.13 All proposed legislation for this session must make it out of its house of origin by March 13.
3.11.13: House bill 1627 was voted out of the House and is on its way to the Senate.
3.13.13: Senate bill 5551 also passed a Floor vote, to move onto the House of Representatives.
3.22.13: House bill 1627 is scheduled for a public hearing, March 25, in the Senate Commitee on Human Services and Corrections at 10 am. The Senate version of the bill, 5551, was heard yesterday in the House Committee on Judiciary, where Senator Conway referred to the DRW report, Lost and Forgotten, and staff attorney Emily Cooper provided testimony captured here on TVW's report (at approximately 4 minutes). Next for SB 5551 is a scheduled executive session in House Judiciary, where it will need to be voted out of committee to move forward.
4.5.13: House bill 1627 resides in the Senate, and Senate Bill 5551 resides in House Appropriations. The deadline to be out of fiscal committee is April 9th. There was money in the Senate budget to implement this legislation, but it fell short of what is needed.
4.23.13: Though the House bill met its demise in Senate Ways and Means, Senate bill 5551 was voted out of the House of Representatives on April 16.
These bills will help Washington State prepare for the coming increase in the number of seniors as the population ages. This will result in a significant increase in the number of people with disabilities, as half of all individuals over age 75 have a disability. HB 1631 creates a joint legislative task force on aging and disability to plan for the challenge of this demographic shift. SB 5519 also creates a task force, and in addition sets up reports on Aging and Disability Resources Center expansion, caregiver support, and long-term care funding options.
2.24.13: Efforts are underway to expand HB 1631 to include the additional provisions found in SB 5519. HB 1631 is in House Rules, and SB 5519 is in Senate Ways and Means. Both must be voted out of these committees to continue, unless they are designated, “Necessary to Implement the budget”.
3.1.13: SB 5519 didn't make it out of its fiscal committee in the Senate, so it is dead, unless revived as "necessary to implement the budget." HB 1631 made it into Rules in the House, where it is awaiting being pulled for a vote on the Floor.
3.6.13: HB1631 passed when pulled to the Floor for a vote and will now be heard in the Senate.
4.5.13: Concern emerged over language from HB1631 that was deleted, which would have created a study on long term care financing, among other activities. This language resurfaced in the Senate Budget, released this week. This bill remains eligible to be necessary to implement the budget, which may keep it safe should it not make the April 9 fiscal cutoff deadline.
There are bills that implement recommendations from DRW’s report , “Too Little Too Late”. That report showed the state is failing to respond to abuse and neglect allegations in supported living programs for people with developmental disabilities. Senate bill 5370 (prime sponsor Senator Kline) and House bill 1574 (prime sponsor Representative Kagi) levy a certification fee on supported living programs (reimbursed by Medicaid), and use the proceeds to pay for additional abuse investigators. Priority in investigation is assigned to investigating the incident. Senate bill 5370 also gives the state additional authority to levy fines, stop placements, and issue other sanctions to ensure that programs comply with rules relating to abuse and neglect.
2.24.13: HB 1574 has been voted out of its policy committee, and has had a hearing in House Appropriations. It must be voted out of Appropriations by March 1 in order to continue toward passage. SB 5370 is dead for this year.
3.1.2013: HB 1574 was voted out of House Appropriations on February 27, and needs two pulls from House Rules for a floor vote by March 13, so it can move onto the Senate.
3.7.2013: Yesterday HB 1574 was voted out of the house with 69 yays and 28 nays. Proponents hope to garner more support as this bill moves through the Senate. DRW presented with others in a work session this morning, where legislators learned how supported living works and heard concerns about the state's abuse response.
4.5.2013: HB 1574 rests in Senate Ways and Means. It would be elilgible to implement the budget. Concerningly, funding for this legislation did not make it into the proposed Senate budget, though assurance it would be added in an amendment surfaced later this week.
4.17.2013: Though the House bill did not move beyond Senate Ways and Means, there is still hope that certification fees to cover investigative costs in residential services and supports will be necessary to implement the budget. There is also still concern that it this line item won't last budget reconciliation.
People who live in Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs) and their families and guardians should be able to count on quality services in the community. Senate bill 5370 (prime sponsor Senator Kline) and House bill 1527 (prime sponsor Representative Appleton) guarantee that services will be available to meet their needs, require planning for transition, and ensure that former residents can return if needed.
2.24.13:The provision that prohibited DDD from reassessing eligibility of adults was removed from HB 1527. SB 5370 died in the Senate.
People with developmental disabilities are often “reassessed” to see if they continue to meet the eligibility criteria of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). In recent years, DDD has made it more difficult to obtain eligibility by requiring additional documentation, denying eligibility to people who have several disabilities, and excluding conditions that formerly could have resulted in eligibility. House bill 1527 (prime sponsor Representative Appleton) prevents DDD from reassessing eligibility for people who are eligible at age 18.
2.24.13: A substitute bill for HB 1527 passed out of the committee, and it has been referred to House Rules. When it was moved out, the provision that prohibited DDD from reassessing eligibility of adults was removed from HB 1527.
Many students with disabilities have difficulties obtaining the accommodations they need in higher education. In addition, students who have extensive testing to show disability in high school find that they have to pay for additional testing in college or technical school. These and other barriers to higher education are addressed by this Senate bill 5180 (prime sponsor Senator Shin), which creates a task force to develop and implement recommendations for improvements.
2.23.13: SB 5180 has moved to Rules Committee in the Senate.
3.13.13: SB 5180 has moved out of the Senate and is making its way through the House of Representatives.
4.5.2013: SB 5180 has made its way through the House and was passed to Rules for a second reading.
4.23.2013: This bill passed the House, was signed by the Speaker and, today, was delivered to the Governor to be signed into law.
The federal Fair Housing Act protects the right of a person with a disability to have a therapy animal in their home, but the Washington state Law Against Discrimination only protects this right where the animal is a dog or miniature horse and is trained to perform a task. Federal funding will be available to enforce the right of people to own therapy animals, but only if the Washington law provides the same level of protection as federal law. The Human Rights Commission is asking the Legislature to make the changes necessary to assure federal funding for complaint response with House bill 1024 (prime sponsor Representative Moeller) and Senate bill 5645 (prime sponsor Senator Kohl-Welles).
2.24.13: HB 1024 has had a hearing in House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, and must be voted out of Appropriations by March 1. The bill has had technical amendments, but continues to have the impact described above. SB 5645 is dead for this year.
3.1.2013: HB 1024 was voted out of House Appropriations into the Rules Committee, where it must be voted out by March 13, to makes its way through the Senate. The vote fell along party lines, so those interested in this bill may wish to share stories with their legislators. This will help legislators understand this is a bipartisan issue.
4.5.2013: Though this bill appeared to be dead, the federal money that would have been assumed by HB 1024 showed up in the proposed Senate budget, which would revive this legislation with a "necessary to implement the budget" designation. The next step for survival is to make it into proposed the House budget, as well.
Schools are currently not required to inform parents when their son or daughter is restrained or secluded while in school. Sometimes there is reference to restraint as an option in the student’s Individual Education Plan, but the parent may not hear about the use thereafter, even where it is frequently applied. Senate bill 5569 (prime sponsor Senator McAuliffe) and House bill 1688 (prime sponsor Representative Stonier) would require written notice to parents when restraint or seclusion is used.
2.24.13: HB 1688 has moved out of House Education and is in House Rules. SB 5569 is dead for this year.
3.1.13: This bill is still in House Rules and needs to be pulled, so it can be voted out of the House and move onto the Senate. Those working this bill say legislators need to hear constituent stories, so they understand the scope of the problem.
3.13.13: Though proposed clarifying amendments seemed poised to bog down process, HB1688 was pulled to the floor and voted out of the House of Representatives.
4.5.13: The legislation has made it through the House and has been referred to Ways and Means from the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education. It will need to be voted out of Ways and Means for the April 9 fiscal committee deadline.
4.17.13: This legislation passed the Senate, and must go back to the House, in order to reconcile Senate amendments.
4:23:13: Yesterday, the House of Representatives concurred with Senate amendments and voted final passage of this legislation, which will now make its way to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.
People with disabilities – especially mental illness and traumatic brain injuries – are subjected to the death penalty. House bill 1504 (prime sponsor Representative Carlyle) and Senate bill SB 5372 (prime sponsor Senator Kline) will abolish the death penalty in Washington State.
2.24.13: Neither HB 1504 nor SB 5372 have had a hearing. In order to continue to move forward, these bills will need to be designated “necessary to implement the budget”, and will need to have a hearing and voted out by the policy and fiscal committees.
3.1.13: A hearing is scheduled for HB 1504 in the House Committee on Judiciary, March 6. No such signs of life are detected for Senate counterpart, SB 5372, though this could still be salvaged with a "necessary to implement the budget" determination.
3.6.13: A public hearing was held in House Judiciary for HB 1504 with strong, supportive bipartisan testimony.
Adult family homes task force recommendations
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman convened a workgroup including advocates, adult family home providers, state officials, and others that developed recommendations for improving investigations, complaint response, and service quality at adult family homes. House bill 1701 (prime sponsor Representative Moeller) and Senate bill 5630 (prime sponsor Senator Bailey) has been developed that implements some of the recommendations, including increasing the training requirements for homes that “specialize” in serving certain people, and increasing the specialties (to include “traumatic brain injury” and other disabilities). These bills will also increase the availability of information about individual adult family homes to assist those trying to select a home, and expanded “stop placement” authority. The bills also allow homes to avoid a citation for a minor violation by correcting it at the time of the inspection.
2.24.13: SB 5630 is in Senate Rules, and HB 1701 is in House Appropriations. It will need to be voted out by March 1 in order to continue this session.
3.1.13: SB5630 was unanimously voted out of the Senate and referred to the Health Care and Wellness Committee in the House of Representatives. Counterpart HB1701 also lives on, passed to House Rules.
4.5.13: HB1701 never made it out of the House Rules Committee. SB5630 was passed through the House and is in the House Appropriations Subcommittee, slated to move onto House Rules.
4.17.13: SB5630 was voted out of the House, but needs to return to the Senate for a final vote, so amendments made in the House are agreed upon.
There are 15,000 individuals with developmental disabilities who qualify for services by the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) but don’t receive any paid services. House bill 1546 (prime sponsor Representative Green) and Senate bill 5358 (prime sponsor Senator Becker) require outreach by DDD to these individuals, and assistance in applying for Medicaid Personal Care. This also expands the availability of respite care, and requires the state look at the needs of these unserved individuals when forecasting budget needs.
2.24.13: These bills (HB 1546, SB 5358) passed out of their policy committees with very compelling testimony. Unless they are determined to be “necessary to implement the budget”, both must be voted out of their fiscal committees by March 1. HB 1546 is in House Appropriations, and SB 5358 is in Senate Ways and Means.
3.1.13: HB1546 languishes in House Appropriations, and its bicameral counterpart SB 5358 in Senate Ways and Means, neither having made today's deadline to move beyond its respective fiscal committee. Without a "necessary to implement the budget" edict, no-paid services caseload legislation will perish.
4.5.2013: Both bills died, and the Senate budget did not incoprorate funding for the No-Paid caseload. There is a slim hope that an amendment may surface in a budget with this proviso.
DRW is monitoring the following bills:
- Confidentiality Statute Revision
- POLST (SB 5562)
- Competency to stand trial (HB 1114, SB 5176)
- Training for police (SB 1559, SB 5532, HB 1315)
- Juvenile mental health diversion (HB 1524)
- Outpatient commitment (HB 1573, SB 5234)
- Staff safety at state hospitals (HB 1571, SB 5122)
- County tax for mental health (SB 5005)
- Health Care Reform Implementation
Budget Issues that DRW will monitor in the 2013 legislative session include:
- Restore Dental Coverage
- Office of Public Guardianship
- Personal Care Cuts
- TBI Fund Appropriation
- Abuse Investigation
- TVW Close Captioning
- Prisons: disability accommodation, mental health services
Information for Legislators
Disability Coalition – “Disability 101” Orientation for New Legislators
Information about work to improve Children’s Mental Health (TR v. Dreyfus)
Report on Impact of Jail Delays on People with Disabilities: “Lost and Forgotten”
Report on Abuse Investigations in Supportive Living: “Too Little Too Late”