In preparation for the upcoming Texas Disability Issues Forum (TxDIF), the Forum organizers sent the following questions to each of the invited candidates. Through their answers, we hope to gain some insight into each candidates’ stances on disability issues. View the survey questions below or download them here. Candidates’ responses will be posted the Forum homepage as they are received.
Intro: Texas faces a growing need among our youth, young adults, aging citizens, and disabled veterans for support and services in the state to allow Texans with disabilities to integrate into our communities. At the same time, reduced federal funding may place more responsibility on the State of Texas to meet the needs of Texans with disabilities.
- If elected, would you lead by example by hiring qualified Texans with disabilities on your staff?
- What steps should the State of Texas take to increase access to public transportation for urban and rural Texans with disabilities?
- What steps would you take to ensure that Texans with disabilities have the same access to voting (registering and casting a ballot) as Texans without disabilities?
- There were approximately 45,000 individuals served by Medicaid Home and Community Based Waivers in FY 2013. However there are approximately 160,000 children, young adults, adults and seniors with disabilities waiting for services in their communities. What steps would you take to eliminate the current waiting lists for home and community services?
- Many people wait for over 12 years to receive services in the community yet there is no wait to enter nursing homes or other institutions. Would you support creating a plan to eliminate the institutional bias in the funding of Long Term Services and Support (LTSS)? If so, how would you do so?
- Do you support or oppose turning Medicaid into a system of block grants?
- In the Olmstead v. L.C. decision, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. What more, if anything, can the State of Texas do to implement this requirement?
- If elected, would you support or oppose legislation prohibiting insurance companies conducting business in Texas from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions?
- What action would you take to increase access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing for Texans with disabilities? Do you support increased funding for the Housing Trust Fund?
- Some analysts predict a critical shortage of community attendants to provide services to seniors and Texans with disabilities who are living in their homes. What steps would you take to alleviate such a crisis?
- Many believe that the current base wage of $7.50 per hour is a major reason for the growing shortage of community attendants as well as the current high turnover rate. What would you do to help raise wages and benefits?
- State and federal law provide that students with disabilities have a right to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Do you support or oppose increased funding to ensure that Texas public schools and teachers have the resources and training necessary to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities?
- In particular, do you support or oppose increased funding for special education, higher education and student loans to assist Texans with disabilities to gain the education they need?
- Segregated programs and sheltered workshops often pay sub-minimum wage to people with disabilities who want to work in competitive integrated settings. What steps would you take to allow Texans with disabilities to move from sheltered employment to community-integrated employment of their choice?
- What steps should the State of Texas take to ensure that Texans with disabilities have access to, and are informed of, new innovations in assistive technology and durable medical equipment?
- Texas’ 13 State Supported Living Centers (SSLC) have about 3400 individuals residing there. Despite a 42% decline in the SSLC population since the 1990’s and the Legislative Budget Board’s recommendation to close Centers, Texas has not closed a single SSLC. Would you support or oppose creating a plan to consolidate and/or close State Supported Living Centers and use those funds to expand community integration of Texans with disabilities?
- If elected, would you support legislation to waive sovereign immunity in cases involving the state’s violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act?
- What do you think the State of Texas should do to assist families and caregivers of Texans with disabilities?