Messenger e-Newsletter

May 7, 2024

Spring is springing, and new beginnings are all around us at CTD! Groundwork is in progress for the upcoming 2025 Legislature, and staff and leadership transitions are well underway. In this issue, we're giving a rundown of Senate Interim Charges, detailing more staff changes, and giving a heads up to upcoming events.


Senate Interim Charges

Lat month, the Lt. Governor released his 2024 Interim Charges to the Senate. But what exactly are "interim charges," and why do they matter?

Interim charges are an important indicator of what issues state leadership is really interested in for the next legislative session. During the interim session (when the Legislature is not meeting), the Lt. Governor and the House Speaker direct the Senate and the House, respectively, to study up on a number of their priority issues. The document they release with these directions, or charges, prepares the Legislature to get to work quickly in the short 5 months they meet.

This interim charge document also tells the rest of us Texans what legislative leadership is going to prioritize. When an issue we've been working on shows up as an interim charge, that's good!

So back to the Senate interim charges. There are a few that relate to CTD's own priorities, including maintaining election security, several public education items, and access to healthcare. Here's a full list of the interim charges CTD has noted, organized by Senate committee.

A number of our partner organizations have similar lists of what they're watching from the Lt. Governor's interim charges to the Senate:

Finally, even if a particular topic does not appear as an interim charge, it may still come up during the Legislative session. For example, from the news, we've heard that both the Governor and Lt. Governor are committed to passing a school voucher or education saving account (ESA) program. Vouchers don't come up in the Senate Interim Charges document, but we know it will be a major topic during the 2025 Legislature.


More Staff Changes: Thank you, J! Welcome, Louise!

Last month, Dennis Borel, CTD's Executive Director of 24 years, retired, and our long-time Deputy Executive Director, Chase Bearden, took over. This has been a major transition—and it's not the only one going on! Earlier this year, our 2-year Public Policy Fellowship ended, and we brought a new employee on board to our communications team.

Thank you, J Canciglia!

J joined CTD's advocacy team as our 2022-2023 Public Policy Fellow. Initially, his focus areas were increasing the wages of community attendants and the addition of a Medicaid dental benefit for adults with disabilities. By the time the Fellowship had concluded, he had added a number of issue areas to his workload and led or contributed significantly to advocacy efforts for 2023 legislation that:

  • bans copay accumulators for certain drugs.
  • bans prior authorization abuse by health insurance companies for people with autoimmune conditions.
  • provides protection from payment discrimination for some housing voucher recipients.

In addition, he worked closely with our team to secure the appropriation of an additional $2.4b in general revenue for Medicaid community attendants, a major CTD accomplishment.

J's excellent communication skills, unshakeable commitment to quality output, and commanding presence as the voice of an issue were just a few of the assets he lent to CTD during this Fellowship. Thank you, J! We'll miss you and hope to see you in the halls of the Capitol in 2025!

Welcome to the team, Louise Ho!

Louise joined our team in April as a Communications Associate. She is a local mutual aid organizer with a background in film exhibition. The mutual aid group she co-founded in 2019, Street Forum, supports over 200 unhoused Austinites a week at a pop-up in Republic Square Park that provides hot food and hot coffee, hygiene supplies, tents and sleeping bags, help navigating social services, harm reduction supplies, and even live music, arts and crafts, and games. 

Louise has a BA in Cinema Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has a decade of experience with live event production, with a special emphasis on film screenings. Louise has worked with We Luv Video, Hyperreal Film Club, Alamo Drafthouse, and the Blue Starlite Drive-in to contribute to Austin’s vibrant movie culture. She is passionate about film as a vehicle for community building and social change.

During her first month as CTD's Communications Associate, Louise has jumped into behind-the-scenes work on the Film Festival, the leadership transition, and supporting our advocacy team. You can expect to see her on Raise Your Voice! calls, at Cinema Touching Disability this fall, and lots more!

Capitol Care CDS

Did you know? CTD operates Capitol Care CDS, a program that allows Medicaid STAR+PLUS and STAR Kids recipients to hire and manage the people who will provide their attendant services.

If you, a loved one, or a friend have attendant care needs, Capitol Care CDS may be the answer!

Coming up at CTD

A Brown hand is gripping a black lightning bolt. The hand and bolt are inside a circle of a variety of colors.

Thunder & Lightning Poetry Collective (TLPC) May Workshops

The Thunder & Lightning Poetry Collective continues its 2024 creative writing workshop series, with support from CTD and Art Spark Texas. Led by Disabled BIPOC & Disabled Queer Poets, these virtual workshops will explore the written word within a warm community. May 13, 16, & 29. Sliding scale, CC provided.



Raise Your Voice! Monday May 20

Our next Raise Your Voice! call is on Monday, May 20, at 2 pm CT on Zoom. Our advocacy team and guest speakers will host a conversation around employment for Texans with disabilities. If you or your friends or family members have encountered barriers to getting or staying employed, we hope you can join us!


IDRA. Children First, Transforming Education
Texas Appleseed

DAEP Listening Sessions through June

The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) and Texas Appleseed want to hear from students, parents, caregivers, teachers, school and district leaders, lawyers, and community advocates to learn about your experiences with disciplinary alternative education programs (DAEPs) in Texas.


Thank you to our 2024 Raise Your Voice! sponsors

Superior Healthplan

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