Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 3, 2009
Contact: Dave Nelson (817) 424-3446

REFORM PLAN STRENGTHENS PROTECTION FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

AUSTIN — Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today introduced SB 643, seeking stronger protections for Texans with developmental disabilities. "We must never tolerate the abuse or neglect of our most vulnerable citizens," she said. "These special Texans deserve to be protected and treated with dignity and respect. That is the goal of this legislation."

SB 643, declared emergency legislation today by Governor Rick Perry, establishes an Office of Independent Ombudsman to audit state schools annually and serve as a confidential intermediary for parents, clients and guardians. Additionally, this legislation:

Texas has been working to improve conditions in its state schools since 2005 when reports surfaced of widespread abuse, neglect and misconduct. A federal investigation is ongoing. The Senate Health & Human Services, chaired by Senator Nelson, led an interim review into the challenges (link to report).

Earlier this session, Senator Nelson filed SB 67 with the intent of requiring that all direct care providers for the disabled, elderly and children submit to FBI fingerprint background checks. She also filed SB 70 transferring authority to investigate licensed Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded from DADS to the Department of Family & Protective Services. SB 72 by Senator Nelson requires health & human service agency employees to complete training in a timely fashion.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.

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