Disability Services, New River Bills by Asm. Manuel Pérez Clear Policy Committees

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California State House

 

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, three bills by Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez received strong support in Assembly policy committees.

 

AB 1231 and AB 1232 were heard in Assembly Committee on Human Services, both passing with votes of 6-0.

 

AB 1231 authorizes the use of tele-health and tele-dentistry as treatment options within the State’s regional center system for developmental disability services.  This will help ensure that Californians with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities have access to the services they require.  ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability in California, affecting approximately two-thirds of all new consumers entering the State’s regional center system.  As autism prevalence increases, innovative treatment models are needed to increase access to critical intervention services.

 

This is not only beneficial for families living in remote or medically under-served parts of the state, but also because people with ASD experience a range of conditions that can interfere with the delivery of services in a traditional setting. Tele-health and tele-dentistry offer those with ASD the opportunity to interface with professionals in a preferred setting, such as their home or school, accompanied by professionals who can facilitate the interaction.

 

AB 1232 seeks to ensure that California’s regional center system of developmental disability services is meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer population.  According to the “Preliminary Report by the Taskforce on Equity and Diversity for Regional Center Autism Services,” prepared by the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, many California families due to linguistic and cultural barriers lack access to vital behavioral therapy services.

 

The State has had a quality assessment program in place for its regional center system for more than ten years, though it does not collect data on cultural and linguistic competency of services.  That means that as the state grows more diverse, it is lacking important information related to the equitable provision and utilization of state services.  AB 1232 addresses this critical issue in a cost-effective manner, gathering the data needed to ensure California’s developmentally disabled are being served in an equitable manner.

 

“April is Autism Awareness Month, and what better time to focus on the accessibility and equitable provision of critical state services for this swiftly growing population,” explained Pérez. “AB 1231 and AB 1232 will help us uphold the inclusive spirit of California’s Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act of 1969 while ensuring it remains up to date to meet the needs of today’s families.”

 

AB 407 passed the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials on a vote of 6-0.  AB 407 entails the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to establish and administer the “New River Watershed Water Quality, Public Health, and River Parkway Development Program” to coordinate the funding and implementation of the recommendations from the New River Improvement Project Strategic Plan.

 

In 2009, the Pérez bill AB 1079 brought much needed state attention and funding to kick start the development of a New River Improvement Strategic Plan. Experts and community stakeholders spent two years researching and developing the solutions in the Plan. The bill also requires CalEPA and the Resources Agency to work with the City of Calexico to develop a joint powers agreement to oversee the environmental review, permitting, funding, and operation of a water treatment and conveyance facility for the New River in Calexico.

 

“This bill is a critical follow up to my 2009 legislation to address one of California’s most vexing and long-standing pollution and environmental justice problems,” said Pérez.  “Now that the New River Strategic Plan is complete, AB 407 will formally recognize and codify it in state law, a key step for maintaining the momentum we have generated so far.”

 

AB 1231 will next be heard in the Assembly Committee on Health, and AB 1232 and AB 407 will head directly to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.  To read the bill language, please visit www.leginfo.ca.gov.