2021 Public Policy Platform

2021 Public Policy Platform

Consistent with the adopted Disability Rights California (DRC) Advocacy Platform, the DRC Public Policy Platform recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed our lives over the course of mere weeks. It has highlighted structural problems in our healthcare, housing, and justice systems that have led to disproportionate harm to California’s Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian Pacific Islander communities which intersect with persons with disabilities Thus, the Legislative Platform will be effected through the lens of confronting systemic racism, ableism, homophobia, sexism, and structural barriers that bar equal access to services, systems, and legal protections for persons with disabilities. Likewise, we will join the work of disability and civil rights groups who fight for dignity and equality for Black, Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, immigrant, and LGBTQIA2S+ communities, and for people with disabilities who are members of these communities in advocating for systemic change.

The following legislative proposals represent identified priorities but are subject to decisions on available resources and legislative interest.

Goal 1: Stop abuse, no matter where and when it occurs. Improve Quality of Care.

  1. Reintroduce legislation similar to AB 506 (Kalra) to clarify the causation standard in nursing home death case citations and implementing recommendations from the May 2018 California State Auditor’s report Skilled Nursing Facilities: Absent Effective State Oversight, Substandard Quality of Care Has Continued (#2017-109).
  2. Engage in systemic advocacy to limit the use of restraint and seclusion in public and private facilities by:
    1. Monitoring the implementation of the data reporting requirements in AB 2657 (Weber);
    2. Introducing legislation to expand the data collection on restraint and seclusion incidents in Non-Public Schools; and
    3. Engaging the Department of Developmental Services to explore improvements in the processes for regional center vendor mandatory reporting to DRC of restraint and seclusion incidents.
  3. Monitor legislative policy and budget proposals to ensure that physical and mental health care and addiction treatment are integral components of addressing homelessness.
  4. Develop a public policy strategy, that includes seeking additional funding, to reduce barriers for persons with disabilities in seeking domestic violence services.
  5. Reintroduce legislation similar to SB 862 (Dodd) to provide protections to persons with disabilities during deenergization events.

Goal 2: Stop discrimination, eliminate stigma, and protect civil rights.

  1. Oppose state and federal legislation which limits physical and technological access rights for persons with disabilities.
  2. Monitor state and federal legislation that impact conditions and placements within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) immigration detention systems and oppose legislation that endangers detainees in the systems.

Goal 3: End segregation. Increase community living options so people can live and fully participate in barrier-free communities of their choice with the services and supports they need to thrive.

  1. Advocate for an EVV system that gives consumers the greatest amount of personal privacy possible with the fewest burdens or restrictions and is consistent with the principles specified in the 2018-19 Budget Act.
  2. Advocate for programs, funding and program changes that help people transition out of institutional living and prevent the loss of homes for people who receive care in a hospital or nursing facility, such as funding for California Community Transitions and a Home Upkeep Allowance and addressing Home and Community Based Alternatives (HCBA) waiver waitlists, including:
    1. Introduce legislation similar to AB 1042 (Wood) that establishes eligibility and other requirements for a Home Upkeep Allowance and a transitional needs fund for Medi-Cal patients residing in long-term care facilities. 
    2. Monitor implementation of SB 214 (Dodd); reintroduce legislation that would establish a state of California Community Transition program, and support federal legislation to continue funding of the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration.
  3. Introduce legislation similar to SB 512 (Pan) along with CADA to establish California Long-Term Services and Support Benefits Trust Fund with a funding source.
  4. Develop public policy strategies to ensure that suspended services for regional center consumers are restored such as social recreation and camping and/or loosen restrictions regarding the use of generic resources when those restrictions impose access barriers.
  5. Reintroduce legislation similar to AB 1643 (E. Garcia) to improve regional centers’ notices of action.
  6. Develop a budget strategy to strengthen regional center gap funding obligations and streamline the process for health and safety waiver exemption requests made to regional centers.
  7. Introduce legislation to expand supported living services to include individuals living in their family home.
  8. Participate on the Master Plan for Aging Stakeholder Advisory Committee and the LTSS subcommittee and monitor and advocate for implementation of the plan and its recommendations.

Goal 4: Respect the autonomy, preferences, and choices of people with disabilities so they can be equal, passionate, and full participants in society.

  1. Monitor and advocate on legislation that proposes changes to LPS and AOT, including clarifying the substantive and procedural rights of individuals who are on 5150s who are not yet at designated facilities, and when the 72-hour clock triggering treatment and evaluation begins. Develop public policy strategies to address proposed revisions to LPS processes, and monitor implementation of LPS changes.
  2. Introduce legislation to implement selected recommendations from the July 28, 2020 California State Auditor report on LPS, California Has Not Ensured That Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses Receive Adequate Ongoing Care (#2019-119).
  3. Reintroduce legislation similar to SB 849 (Portantino) providing for excused absences from school for the benefit of the mental or behavioral health of a pupil.
  4. Reintroduce legislation similar to SB 1016 (Wieckowski) to protect rights of individuals with I/DD in conservatorship processes such as requiring counsel and the use of supported decision-making.

Goal 5: Protect and advance basic human rights to health care, housing, and education.

  1. Monitor and oppose federal initiatives that may decrease access to Medicaid or the ACA, and if that happens, develop strategies to maintain access in California.
  2. Monitor and oppose legislation that restricts sober living residences in communities.
  3. Develop public policy strategies to ensure that Department of Social Services licensing requirements require unaccompanied migrant children in ORR custody receive special education and related services.
  4. Introduce legislation to prohibit students from arrest and prosecution for “willful disturbance.”
  5. Introduce legislation limiting local housing authorities from contracting with local law enforcement to patrol and inspect subsidized housing and replace them with community safety partnerships.
  6. Introduce legislation to require permanent supportive housing providers to ensure tenants receive an administrative hearing process before instituting an unlawful detainer action.

Goal 6: Ensure access to government programs, transportation, and employment opportunities with competitive wages.

  1. Advocate for an increase in the SSI/SSP grants.
  2. Support public policies that promote accessible transportation and pedestrian safety, including advocating on the implementation of SB 1376, the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Access for All Act, and policies for the development and regulation of the use of autonomous vehicles.
  3. Increase employment for individuals with disabilities and access to employment services and supports, including:
    1. Introducing legislation to improve the LEAP program and other employment practices within the state civil service system to improve the employment of persons with disabilities in state service.
    2. Introducing legislation to phase out the discriminatory practice of paying people with disabilities less than the minimum wage currently allowed under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including in state facilities, and establish supports for employers that move toward a business model that encourages competitive employment for people with disabilities in California.
    3. Introducing legislation to expand requirements for hiring of persons with disabilities by state agencies and private entities which contract with the state.
    4. Introducing legislation to require state agencies to provide hiring preferences to applicants with disabilities.

Goal 7: Increase access to culturally and language competent services that value disability, diversity, culture, and ethnicity of each individual. Ensure that all services are accessible to people with disabilities.

  1. Support legislation that expands language accessibility and cultural literacy including limiting discrimination against Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, Low Vision, or Deaf-Blind people who are denied accommodations they need for effective communication.
  2. Support legislation establishing independent contractor status for interpreters and captioners.
  3. Support legislation that addresses impacts on people with disabilities that intersect with longstanding discrimination and systemic racism in the civil and criminal legal system, housing, education, public benefits, and health and behavioral care that disproportionately harms Black, Latino, and Native American people.

Goal 8: Ensure access to up-to-date knowledge and tools and advocate so individuals with disabilities can be effective self-advocates and access courts, administrative agencies, and legal services to defend and enforce their rights.

  1. Advocate for increasing the Equal Access Fund to meet the national average of state legal services funding.