Administration News: Budget, Other Legislation

A substitute version of the FY2016-2017 biennial budget bill (HB 64) now is being reviewed by members of the Ohio Senate (see Pipeline EXTRA!, overview of House changes). It would: require all DODD decisions on sheltered workshops to come before the legislature; create a Developmental Center (DC) Closure Commission and decrease DC funding by $80 million over the biennium; adopt a new Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) policy agreed to by stakeholders and the Administration; and, decrease state waiver funds.

Budget Testimony, Tomorrow

DODD Director John Martin will offer testimony on the FY2105-2016 biennial budget tomorrow at approximately 11:00 a.m., before members of the Ohio Senate at the Statehouse. Director Martin will testify regarding the need to restore the as-introduced budget, as all initiatives are related, and are required to achieve our policy objectives. Also tomorrow, advocates will testify and attend to otherwise show support and air concerns, following Director’s Martin’s testimony during the Senate Medicaid Committee hearing.

Legislation Currently Under Consideration

Other legislation currently under consideration that affects Ohio’s developmental disabilities community includes HB 158. The Ohio House of Representatives is reviewing the bill, which would remove any remaining usage of the words ‘mental retardation’ or ‘mentally retarded’ from state law, and proposes replacing the terms with ‘intellectual disability, or ‘a person with an intellectual disability.’ Beginning in 2009, lawmakers made comparable moves to change language in the Ohio Revised Code, including removing the words ‘mental retardation’ from the names of state and local developmental disabilities agencies.

In addition, the House Finance and Appropriations Committee last week advanced a measure that allocates more than $50 million in the next biennium to expand the foster care system to include individuals up to age 21. The measure, HB 50, directs the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to submit an amendment to the State Plan for child welfare services to expand foster care and adoption assistance, and make payments to persons up to age 21 who agree to meet certain job and education requirements. Currently, foster care and adoption payments cease on an individual’s 18th birthday. In addition, the measure includes provisions related to a ward’s Bill of Rights.

For more information on these and other topics, check the online DODD Newsroom. We also invite you to share your feedback.