Jim Baugh, executive director of Disability Rights Idaho, told the House and Senate Health & Welfare Committees today that legislation is needed to correct an unintended situation in which people with developmental disabilities are being pushed out of the supports they need to work. “What’s happened here is an unintended consequence of HB 260,” Baugh said. “It said the department could only make an exception to people’s individual services budgets if the people could show they needed the exception for reasons of health and safety. Employment is not a reason of health and safety.” Baugh said, “The unintended consequence is instead of supporting people to go to work … we created a barrier to work.”
Baugh said, “We are suggesting a change in the statutory language.”
House Health & Welfare Chairman Fred Wood, R-Burley, said Baugh and others have come to see him. “I have a preliminary draft of that legislation,” he said. “We certainly heard you today. I personally visited this program with a young man in Burley and see the value of this program. Unfortunately I can’t make any promises on behalf of the Legislature, but we’ll certainly look into it and if possible run that legislation this year. … We heard you.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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