California’s protection & advocacy system
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Each year Disability Rights California legal and legislative staff identify possible legislative fixes for issues affecting people with disabilities. Several legislative proposals are written, and based on priority, political climate and the approval of our Board of Directors, among other factors, we decide which if any bills it will sponsor. Then legislative staff work on finding the right legislator to become the author of each bill, and persuading that legislator to take on the bill. This year we are sponsoring:
In the last legislative session, DRC sponsored AB 1235 (Gipson) that would have increased the Home Upkeep Allowance to allow Medi-Cal recipients in nursing homes to retain funds to use to return to their home or to obtain a home for their return. That bill was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee last year after only receiving one “no” vote in the Assembly and the Senate Health Committee. Assembly Member Gipson has reintroduced this legislation again as AB 286.
This bill has been amended from last year’s bill to tie the allowance to 100% of the federal poverty level, which would raise the amount from $209 per month to $990. This is a lower amount than previously proposed in AB 1235 after receiving some informal technical assistance from the California Department of Health Care Services last year indicating that the lower amount may be feasible. Inasmuch as the Home Upkeep Allowance has remained unchanged since the 1970s, this increase could provide a significant opportunity for nursing home residents who can return to their homes.
This bill requires a school district to provide a parent with a copy of the individualized education plan (IEP), any revisions, and certain documents discussed at an IEP team meeting in the native language of the parent, within 30 days of the meeting, if requested, or within 30 days of a later request. It requires translation of the documents by a qualified translator in the native language of the parent during the planning process for the IEP. SB 354 ensures that parents whose native language is not English have timely access to a translation of their child’s IEP and key documents to allow for meaningful involvement in their child’s education.
In January 2017, DRC released a report on oversight of California’s nursing homes and failures in the state licensing and enforcement process. There were several findings and recommendations in the report that include the lack of consistency in applying citation levels and inadequate penalties for facility violations. AB 1335 is a response to the report.
This bill conforms the causation definition used by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to determine Class AA violations (the highest citation level for a death within a facility resident due to facility negligence) to current negligence law applied by state courts. The bill requires that for repeated Class A violations (the citation level for facility conduct that poses an imminent danger, probability of death, or serious harm to residents) where a death occurs DPH must consider suspending or revoking the license for 12 months and for a third or subsequent violation begin proceedings to suspend or revoke the license.
In 2008 legislation, SB 1608 (Corbett) required at least one building inspector in each local jurisdiction be a certified access specialist (CASp). A CASp is a consultant/inspector who has been tested and certified by the state of California Division of State Architect as an expert in disability access laws. SB 1608 set up a process whereby business owners can voluntarily hire a CASp specialist to inspect their buildings to ensure compliance with disability access standards and obtain an inspection report. Building inspector CASps play a crucial role in preventing accessibility violations as they provide permitting and plan check services for new construction, as well as renovations requiring permits. These activities ensure people with disabilities are not denied equal access to places of public accommodations and can fully participate in society. SB 1608 also required each local jurisdiction to have a sufficient number of local building inspectors, but no less than one certified CASp.
Current law, which funds the program with a one dollar fee on business licenses sunsets on December 31, 2018. AB 1379 is intended to provide additional resources to local jurisdictions to assist with CASp training and certification of local building inspectors by increasing the business license and building permit fees. The bill will also extend the sunset date.