from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Leigh Flores
512/463-0121
May 25, 2001

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ENSURED APPROPRIATE CARE SETTINGS

U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding needs of persons with disabilities addressed in both Houses

Persons with disabilities would be ensured appropriate care settings, and Texas would comply with court orders under Senate Bill 367, which passed its last legislative hurdle Thursday (May 24, 2001). 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:

"Individual and family choice is the primary legislative intent of SB 367," Sen. Zaffirini said. "SB 367 also creates a community-based alternatives pilot program and underscores 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, sponsored SB 367 in the House of Representatives.

-30-