GOP-sponsored disability-related bill passes House, but dies in Senate
Popular in the House, a Republican-based bill to broaden the Developmental Disability and Mental Disability Act failed in committee due to Democrats' denial.
Sponsored by Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), HB4836 amends and “provides that in one's ‘own home’ includes a facility that is licensed by a unit of local government authority with 4 or 5 other adults unrelated to the adult with a mental disability who do not provide home-based services to the adult with a mental disability,” according to the bill synopsis.
After the measure passed the House 93-13 on April 26, STARS Family Services President Ray Chase, accompanied by Ives, presented his testimony confidently on May 15 at the Senate Human Services Committee, noting the current legislation predates the Homestead Act, and the addition from three to five residents in a Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) is a small change.
“It offers an alternative to many families in communities that would otherwise have no choice but to put their children in a state-run facility,” Chase said.
Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Chicago) didn't agree.
“To create a new category or entity that is effectively unlicensed from the state's point of view seems to open up a giant loophole,” Biss said.
Though it could reduce the cost to the state, Biss said it could come with many risky unintended consequences. Though the Democrat denied the proposal, GOP Sens. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) and Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) voiced their support for the bill.
After Syverson said providing for five residents rather than three to live together is more cost-effective, he asked about the present care the disabled adults are receiving now. Chase said the residents are living at home with their elderly parents, which is not a permanent solution.
“They are going to die sometime,” Chase said.
Syverson said a community setting of three to five would offer more interaction and oversight than if they lived with their own elderly parents.
“It seems to make sense,” Syverson said.
Righter thanked Chase for his out-of-the-box thinking.
“I have been involved in this arena and one of the things I have learned is despite the best efforts of legislators and administration officials, the state licensure oversight process does not guarantee quality or safety,” Righter said.
But despite the Republican praise, HB4836 failed 4-6 with only the GOP senators voting for the bill.