GCPD Issues 2024-2025 Policy Recommendations Report to the 88th Texas Legislature

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Office of the Texas Governor, Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities

2024-2025 Policy Recommendations From The Governor's Committee

The Governor’s Committee On People With Disabilities (GCPD) released the 2024-2025 Biennium Policy Recommendations Report to the 88th Texas Legislature. The Committee is charged with releasing a report containing recommendations to the Governor and Legislature regarding state laws and policies related to people with disabilities. This report offers guidance on issues and challenges facing Texans with disabilities and GCPD's recommendations to best address those challenges. The recommendations cover the Committee’s targeted policy issues areas related to access, communication, education, emergency management, employment, health, housing, recreation, and transportation.

These policy recommendations, with the support of all Committee members, focus on vital issues important to Texans with disabilities. The GCPD strives to identify and support the unmet needs of individuals with disabilities that are often overlooked due to the low incidence rates of a specific disability population. In doing so, the Committee encourages the Texas Legislature to invest in programs that will make the maximum impact in improving the lives of Texans with disabilities. The Committee recommends a broad, coordinated approach to policy adoption and implementation, as issues and challenges are often interrelated.

One of the most important facets of the GCPD’s work is identifying and amplifying the voices of Texans with disabilities who may otherwise be overlooked. The Committee gathered policy input from public hearings at the GCPD’s quarterly meetings, listening sessions with disability stakeholder groups, staff research, and input from committee-directed interagency workgroups on service animals, educational interpreters for Deaf students, and guardianship reform. The recommendations in this report represent the collective efforts of GCPD committee members and staff who held nine quarterly meetings across the state and dozens of subcommittee meetings on specific issue areas with input from six state agency Ex-officio members. Over one-thousand hours of committee research and deliberation yielded the recommendations in this report.

With the potential for more state resources available in the next biennium, the GCPD has identified vital investments in programs and services that can make the most significant impact on the future of Texans with disabilities. These recommendations offer an opportunity for our state to assess and plan for unmet challenges. The GCPD highlights the biggest need for more investment in long-term care services for Texans with disabilities by recommending a substantial increase in funding for community attendant care wages and benefits. This recommendation would make attendant care wages and benefits competitive with prevailing market wages at a level necessary to attract and retain personal care attendants covered by state Medicaid waiver programs while facilitating consumer-directed care. The GCPD also supports a continued recommendation to invest in the establishment and funding of a Support Service Provider/Co-Navigator (SSP/CN) program to assist Texans who are DeafBlind facing significant challenges and lack any public program to assist them in accessing their community.

Some of the committee’s greatest efforts have identified education reforms and proposed changes to the Texas Education Code to protect vulnerable students, increase literacy support for students who are blind and students with dyslexia, and ensure that every student with a disability receives transition planning services to ensure a successful transition to work and/or post-secondary education.

The GCPD encourages members of the Texas Legislature to support the many policy recommendations within this report that will help people with disabilities best lead more independent and productive lives. As noted in Governor Abbott’s 2022 ADA Proclamation: Through continued commitment to fairness and equality of opportunity, we can ensure a better, brighter future for all residents of the Lone Star State and together, we can work to create a state that is accessible and inclusive for all Texans.

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