Messenger e-Newsletter

March 1, 2023

The 88th Texas Legislature convened on January 10, 2023, and is already starting to heat up. Review our major legislative priorities below, plus some ways to get involved with CTD this session!

CTD Legislative Priorities for 2023

Attendant Wages

The community attendant workforce is crucial to keeping Texans with disabilities and older adults healthy and in their own homes. But recruitment and retention of these workers is at high risk due to an extremely low base wage, no benefits, increasing demand, and alternative employers paying much higher wages.

After decades of advocacy on this issue, we feel we are closer than ever to get attendants the raise they have deserved for far too long. Solid legislative leadership, big jumps in media coverage and organizational partnerships, and an unprecedented state budget surplus are all on our side as we advocate to raise the base wage of community attendants in Texas.

This session, we are asking the Legislature for an increase in the hourly base wage to $15 in 2024 and $17 in 2025.

Take action now! Email the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article II about funding a meaningful attendant wage raise. We've drafted everything you need to get started.


Criminal Justice

In 2021, CTD made major strides into the area of criminal justice. This is critical work because it is well documented that people with disabilities are over represented in the criminal justice system, as well as more likely to be victimized while in the system and receive less access to supportive services.

CTD continues our work this session to ensure that both kids and adults with disabilities have the support they need in both county and state facilities. Our criminal justice priorities in 2023 include: improving medical care, increasing the use of medically recommended parole, and accessible and equitable educational and reentry programming.


Healthcare Costs

Access to the right medication at the right time is best decided between a consumer and their doctor. This session, we support measures to protect Texas consumers from insurance practices that put needed medications out of reach. These include:

  • restricting Non-Medical Switching, a set of tactics that health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) use to switch stable consumers off their already-prescribed medications for non-medical reasons.
  • limiting the use of Copay Accumulators. When a consumer receives copay assistance, a copay accumulator prevents those funds from counting toward their annual deductible or other out-of-pocket requirements. This makes it harder for consumers to meet their deductible or maximum, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs.

Increase the Number of Texans with Health Insurance

Texas' rate and number of uninsured citizens continues to be the highest in the nation—and it's growing. Texans with disabilities currently not eligible for coverage would gain it with Medicaid expansion. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry is one of the best at employing people with disabilities, a demographic with a high unemployment rate. We are members of and support the Cover Texas Now coalition and Sick of It TX campaign in advocating for health insurance expansion.


Mental Health & ID / DD

Access to quality treatment continues to be a problem for individuals with intellectual and / or developmental disabilities (ID / DD) experiencing mental illness. Significant workforce shortages and limited knowledge and training for mental health and ID / DD professionals create substantial barriers. In 2023, CTD urges the Legislature to establish an advisory committee to study and establish best practices for those at the intersection of mental health and ID / DD.


Oral and Dental Care

CTD is the lead advocate supporting legislation relating to Medicaid reimbursement for dental services provided to adults with disabilities. After several sessions of incremental progress, language about a preventative benefit passed in 2021. However, the Texas Health & Human Services Commission (HHSC) has not yet implemented the program due to budget constraints. Now that the huge barrier of including the benefit into statute is achieved, our advocacy in 2023 moves to securing the funding.


School Discipline & Mental Health Supports

Over the last few years, CTD and our partners noted an alarming uptick in news articles and reports about students with disabilities being violently, and even lethally, disciplined in public schools across the state. Right out of the gate this session, CTD helped to organize a powerful press conference on harmful student restraint in schools (view the recording, closed captioned in English and Spanish) to educate lawmakers about the dangers of such practices—and policy solutions to end them.

In addition to banning violent, harmful restraints, the Legislature should strengthen school-based mental health supports and eliminate exclusionary disciplinary methods.

Special Education & Schools

As the state strives to best serve all students, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Legislature must not leave students with disabilities behind by neglecting to support special education programs and to fund public schools. In addition to advocating for student safety in school, CTD will also be urging the Legislature to:

  • transition to a service intensity-based special education funding formula system
  • extend full day Pre-K eligibility to include students with disabilities
  • oppose voucher initiatives that take money away from public schools
  • reject censorship in the classroom


State Budget & Appropriations

As the 2023 Legislature convened, State Comptroller Glenn Hegar released a mind-boggling revenue estimate of $188 billion. The early budget bills from the House and Senate are little more than an extension of many parts of previous spending, leaving roughly $50 billion on the table. But the Texas constitution limits the amount of increase over the previous biennium’s budget. Some policymakers claim that means that most of the record surplus should be left unspent; others say the limit can be worked around to deal with unmet needs. CTD supports tapping into the surplus to address years of neglect and pressing crises in disability services.


Youth Justice

Like their counterparts in the adult system, many Texas youth in under the care of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) have a mental health diagnosis or ID / DD. Both federal and state investigations in recent years have revealed that state facilities are sites of multiple forms of abuse and inadequate mental health support, and may violate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) rights of the youth in their care. In support of the Finish the 5 Campaign, CTD calls upon the state to close the remaining 5 state secure juvenile detention facilities in Texas and redirect resources to community-based support that would better serve these individuals.


Get Involved with CTD this session!

Bold, block letter A in gold, with a navy blue Texas at its right foot.

A-Corps Registration open

Want to step up your advocacy game this legislative session? CTD is launching our Advocacy Corps program to provide in-depth information about disability advocacy in the Texas Legislature. Offerings include virtual 4 trainings this spring (dates to be announced), plus support throughout the Legislature.



Raise Your Voice! for 2023

The Texas Legislature is back, and so are we! Our Raise Your Voice! Advocate Connection Program has begun for the 88th legislative session, join us!

Each week, the CTD advocacy team and self-advocates from around the state meet on Zoom every to discuss the latest on legislation affecting Texans with disabilities and how to get involved.


I Live Here I Give Here, Amplify Austin

Amplify Austin Day 2023

Amplify Austin Day, our city's annual day of giving, begins today, Wednesday, March 1, at 6 pm CT, and runs through Thursday, March 2 at 6 pm CT.
You can schedule your donation now, or mark you calendar to to support CTD any time during the 24 hours of Amplify this year.

Thank you to our 2023 Raise Your Voice! sponsors

Superior Healthplan
Bristol Myers Squibb
Amerigroup, an Anthem Company
Touch of CLASS
We Work for Health Texas

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