April 20, 2011

Parents ask help opposing legislation in the RHC debate

The budget debate over the survival of residential habilitation centers keeps evolving – we hope towards preserving services for some of this state’s most vulnerable developmentally disabled citizens.

Our parent allies oppose late-session legislation. The worst is Senate Bill 5943, sponsored by Sen. Margarita Prentice of the 11th District and Sen. Joe Zarelli of the 18th District.
SB 5943 takes away the statutory authority for Frances Haddon Morgan Center and Rainier School, opens up profiteering in the state-operated SOLA community program and, in the words of one parents group, “assumes all RHC residents are second-class citizens.”
So let’s unite with our RHC parents and call 1-800-562-6000 to oppose SB 5943. Closing and privatizing residential habilitation centers is the wrong way to go. 

In the House, HB 2096, sponsored by Rep. Tami Green of the 28th District also aims at transitioning RHC residents. It would, for instance, turn two houses at the Morgan Center into state-run SOLA facilities. And it gives any resident in a facility that closes who moves to a community setting up to a year to move back to an RHC. It’s unclear if HB 2096 is meant as a starting point to add amendments that provide reasonable and acceptable alternatives. So stay tuned on HB 2096.

Hearings have not been scheduled yet for these two bills.

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