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The Senate committee slightly modified HB 2463. However, we continue to support HB 2463.
First chamber bill analysis:
The bill would mandate the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to consolidate the Independent Living Program for individuals who are blind or have visual impairments and the Independent Living Services Program for individuals with significant disabilities into one, comprehensive independent living services program. DARS must ensure the services are provided by the centers for independent living.
The bill would also require DARS to operate a comprehensive rehabilitation and children's autism program. The bill would define the administration of DARS direct services programs, including caseworker guidelines, the creation of a case review system, and program monitoring. The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) would be responsible for adopting the necessary rules to implement provisions of the bill.
Second chamber bill analysis:
In addition to the provisions above, the bill would transfer duties of the Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council to DARS. The Health and Human Services Transition Legislative Oversight Committee would be created to facilitate the transfer of functions to or from DARS.
The second chamber sponsor is Senator Campbell.
The purpose of the legislation is to reform the process of administering direct services to persons with disabilities by combining independent living program functions and streamlining service delivery by not treating blindness or visual impairments as a separate form of disability with its own independent living program. These proposed measures promote efficiency in government programs.
The enactment of HB 2463 is contingent upon the passage of SB 200 which is a Sunset bill that consolidates the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) into the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
We support HB 2463 on the grounds it promotes government efficiency.