Austin, TX, May 16, 2017
Lilliana L Lopez
News from the Capitol
The Easterseals Central Texas advocacy team has represented Easterseals well this legislative session. Under the leadership of Jolene Sanders, Advocacy Manager, and along with our colleagues in the community, progress is being made.
SB 680, which reforms step therapy or "fail first" protocols is headed to the Governor's desk. Easterseals was part of a large group of advocates who supported this bill. This is a huge win for Texas patients and healthcare providers!
SB 160, which prohibits the Texas Education Agency (TEA) from ever again implementing a cap on special education enrollment has passed both houses, We are very proud of our work on this bill. It was a top policy priority for Easterseals going into session. Working on this piece of legislation also led to Easterseals and partner organizations forming the statewide group Texans for Special Education Reform (TxSER) which now has over 1,100 allies across Texas.
ECI and Medicaid therapy cuts:
Easterseals has largely focused advocacy efforts this session on Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) funding, and restoring Medicaid therapy cuts. In 2011 ECI took a brutal hit in funding and eligibility was narrowed. Providers still have not recovered. With 70% of ECI clients on Medicaid, it is vital that the Senate supports to fully restore therapy cuts to ECI.
To date, a number of amendments in the House budget look promising; proposing to restore the cuts and bolster ECI funding. The Advocacy Department continues to be instrumental in educating legislators on program issues and funding needs as Budget Conferees meet to finalize the state budget.
If you would like to learn more about our Advocacy program and get involved, sign up to receive email updates from the Easterseals Coalition Serving Texas and join our grassroots advocacy team.