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Legislative Update

Sue Reeves

12/15/2015

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The new session of the Utah Legislature begins on January 26, 2016 and runs through March 10.

CPD staff will be attending and monitoring various committee meetings/actions and tracking disability related bills throughout the session and will provide regular updates. Staff will also be attending the Saturday Town Hall meetings with Cache Valley senators and representatives throughout the session. CPD personnel are encouraged to attend the meetings if they would like to connect directly with their senator or representative on specific issues. If CPD personnel have specific issues/bills/appropriation requests that they would like monitored and reported on lease contact Jeff Sheen.

The CPD specific legislative priority this session is to secure funding for the expansion of the Assistive Technology Lab by opening and staffing a satellite AT lab in the Vernal area.

Two major issues with significant implications for the disability community are 1) the ongoing debate and shifting the various proposals for Medicaid Expansion; 2) Determining whether or not the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation will remain under the jurisdiction of the State Office of Education, be moved under the Department of Workforce Services, or become its own stand-alone agency.

Here is an idea of other disability related agencies current legislative priorities and appropriations requests. These are tentative and constitute the initial wish list of the season. Agencies are waiting on the Governor’s budget to be released and for the legislature’s first set of revenue projections on December 15, both budgets will impact these priorities.

Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR): (Includes Independent Living Centers)

USOR Ongoing

  • Increased Facility Expenses--$ 60,000
  • Comp officer/Policy officer--$280,000
  • Independent Center Services--$300,000
  • Older blind spec and care travel in--$225,000
  • Hard of Hearing Rural Outreach--$50,000
  • Independent Living Assistive Tech--$200,000
  • Direct Client Services--$1,115,000

USOR Onetime

  • Independent Living Assistive Tech--$500,000
  • Blind Business Opportunity--$240,000
  • Interpreter Filming Cert--$60,000
  • Public Relations--$30,000
  • AG Attorney--$175,000

Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD):

Priorities:

      Mandated additional needs issue request for 1.7 million;
      DCFS cases put on waiver to access state funds need $900,000 to cover age out;
      Continuation of 3 year project re: access to services, have to wait to get services and then have to wait again because no staff available need 15 million over 3 years for direct care worker pay increases, got first 5 million will ask for 5 million this year; 4) waiting list request ongoing funds versus one-time money $1.175 million.

*No specific DSPD bills but interested in guardianship bill and community first.

Utah School for the Deaf and Blind (USDB):

  • Increase steps and lanes funding for teachers $460,000.
  • Teacher aide funding $277,000 ongoing.
  • Accessible materials for students program--$605,000 ongoing plus existing $700,000.
  • One-time--student housing upgrades- $320,000.
  • One-time--buy Nebo elementary school purchase $1.2 million.

Statewide Early Intervention:

  • Case-load growth $2.5 million (split between non-Medicaid children and Medicaid match for new children). Costs are currently 10 percent higher than funding received.

Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH):

  • Medicaid match $6.4 million one time last year; 1 to 3 dollar rate, need to make ongoing.
  • Mental health early intervention--3 pronged approach--mobile crisis, school intervention, and family response services; would like to double in size.
  • Justice reinvestment--ongoing funding based on Medicaid expansion happening; very underfunded until that happens.
  • Forensic Competency restoration funding.
  • Early Psychosis intervention on IHE campuses and suicide intervention.

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