Tom Waring, the Wire
Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Tom Murt (R-152nd dist.) to create a bill of rights for those with special needs has passed the House Human Services Committee.
“My legislation would help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive the opportunity to live in their homes and participate in their communities, to independently make choices about their lives, contribute to society, and to experience full integration and inclusion in the mainstream of society in this commonwealth,” Murt said.
House Bill 133 requires the Department of Human Services to develop and submit a plan to address the waiting list for community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities.
Specifically, the bill would require DHS to develop a five-year plan to eliminate the current (as well as any future) additions to the critical and emergency waiting list for individuals with intellectual disabilities who are in need of allowable supports and services. This plan would be submitted to the governor, the General Assembly and the county intellectual disability program administrators within one year of the effective date of the act.
The bill would require that DHS’s plan include statistical information on the current and projected annual increase in the waiting list on a county basis, and budget projections taking into consideration DHS’s current budget year; projected annual costs associated with the elimination of the waiting list; financial information on the amount of additional federal, state or other funds in each county, which may be required annually for the operational costs associated with the elimination of the waiting list in each county; and the projected annual waiting list in each annual plan update.
The legislation would require public comment from individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families and guardians and providers of services to the intellectual disability community obtained from public hearings held by DHS.
“This is critical legislation that, when implemented, will guarantee those with special needs receive the help they so desperately need,” Murt said.
The bill now moves on to the whole House for a vote.