On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on House Bill 30 and Senate Bill 20. Both bills would implement additional jail time, from 3 to 8 years, for a person who pleads guilty or is convicted of a felony offense that results in a permanent disability and the victim was under the age of 6. The committee adopted changes to both bills, increasing the age at which the penalty applied from a child age 6 or younger to a child who is less than 10 years old. The committee passed House Bill 30 out.
On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the House Health Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on House Bill 557 (Art Therapist Licensing Requirement). The bill would require the State Medical Board to regulate the licensing and practice of art therapists. The bill defines art therapy as the use of psychotherapeutic principles and methods with art media and the creative process to assist individuals to improve cognitive or sensory-motor functions, to increase self-awareness and self-esteem, to cope with grief or a traumatic experience, to enhance cognitive abilities, to resolve conflicts or distress, and to enhance social functioning. State Representative Marlene Anielski provided SPONSOR Testimony on the issue, focusing on the benefits of art therapy for individuals with mental illness or victims of abuse.
This update was provided from the National Association of Council’s on Developmental Disabilities with regard to the federal government passing the 2018 federal budget:
“The DD Councils have been given a $3million increase finally reaching our goal of $76m. Our sister programs, the UCEDDs and P&As received a $2m. increase and PNS received a $2m. increase as well. This news shows that Congress really values the DD Act programs and our contributions to systems change. As my colleague in Chairwoman Murray’s office said in an email this evening, ‘in a time when level funding is considering a win, the increases and commitment toward the DD community in this bill is a grand slam.’”
The federal budget bill also included provision of other legislation that has been sought by advocates for some time (Kevin and Avonte’s Law). The bill includes $2M per year in federal grants to state and local law enforcement and public safety entities to provide for training and technology for individuals prone to wandering (alzheimer’s, dementia, and autism as examples).
President Trump threatened to veto the bill, but signed it on Friday, March 23, 2018.
NEXT Week in Public Policy: March 26 - 30, 2018
Legislators will be on a two-week Spring Break.
However, the Managed Long-Term Services and Support Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. The committee will hear presentations from non-state-agency members of the committee on, “topics including barriers to improving care quality and outcomes; best practices in service delivery to promote consumer choice; state rule redundancies; and challenges with managed care contract terms and conditions.” The hearing will take place in the Riffe Center, 19th Floor, Room 1948.
The US House and Senate will also be on Spring Break for the next two weeks.