from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Leigh Flores
512/463-0121
May 7, 2001

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES COULD BE ENSURED APPROPRIATE CARE SETTINGS
Texas Senate addresses U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding needs of persons with disabilities

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:

"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.

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