FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2001
Persons with disabilities would be ensured appropriate care settings, and Texas would comply with court orders under Senate Bill 367, which the Texas Senate passed today (Monday). Authored by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, the bill reflects the state's response to a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that focused on appropriate care for persons with disabilities.
In L.C. and E.W. v. Olmstead, the court affirmed that unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities is unconstitutional under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and that states are required to place persons with disabilities in community settings, rather than in institutions, when:
- the state's treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate;
- the transfer from institutional care to a less restrictive setting is not opposed by the affected individual; and
- the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the state and the needs of others with mental disabilities.
"SB 367 is about appropriate care and individual and family choice," Sen. Zaffirini said. "It is a significant response to the Olmstead decision and demonstrates that the state is determined to ensure that persons with disabilities are provided information about care options. Our legislative intent is to establish guidelines for determining the most appropriate care for a person with disabilities."
Provisions of SB 367 protect an individual's or a legal representative's choice; create a community-based alternatives pilot program; and underscore that the bill is meant to ensure the most appropriate care for persons with disabilities based on a person's medical, behavioral and individual needs.
Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, will sponsor SB 367 in the House of Representatives.