The 2019 legislative session will begin on January 22. We’ll be fighting hard for a handful of bills that will help improve the lives of Oregonians with disabilities.
Snapshot: 2019 Legislative Priorities
Our legislative agenda will have a big impact on:
- People for whom a guardian has been appointed
- People who experience a mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system
- People with mental illness who are trying to access care in the community
- Parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities
For a deeper dive, you can read more below.
Guardianship: Greater Transparency & Scrutiny, Easier to Terminate
One of the most restrictive things that can happen to a person with a disability or anyone is having a guardian appointed. Guardianship intrudes on a person’s civil rights and self-determination, stripping them of their right to control their own residence, healthcare, and spending. Massive changes to a person’s life can be made while they have little to no voice in the process or the chance to object. And once guardianships are in place, there is very little monitoring.
To address that, we’ll be fighting for these two bills:
Strengthen process to limit guardianships only in cases where absolutely necessary:
If a guardian reports that the guardianship should not continue, the court must schedule a hearing to determine if guardianship should continue. This will make it easier for court to scrutinize and terminate guardianships.
Expanding awareness of guardian appointments and rights of an adult to appeal or try to terminate the guardianship:
Require that everyone is informed when a court appoints a guardian for an individual and that the individual is made aware of her/his right to appeal or to try to terminate the guardianship.
Reforming the Aid + Assist Process
We’ll fight to expand rapid evaluations, which have been successful in Multnomah County, to other counties. We’ll push for high-quality mental health services to help people get treatment, supports, and housing rather than punishment for psychiatric crisis.
Expanding the Mental Health Bill of Rights
We’ll fight to extend the Bill of Rights for people receiving community mental health services to those whose services are funded through Community Care Organizations.
Ban Use of Canines to Control in Jail Inmates
We don’t want a single county in Oregon to use canines to forcibly control or intimidate inmates. There are other proven techniques that counties can use that are safer for inmates and staff. Inmates who experience mental illness are more likely to be subjected to this practice and, those who endure the experience, are at greater risk of suffering physical harm. A ban will keep both jail deputies and inmates safe.
Read our report from last November.
Strengthening Parenting Abilities of People with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
Many people with disabilities are parents. Last session, we successfully changed Oregon’s law to make clear that questions about a parent’s ability should always focus on the individual and their capacity to parent, not on their disability.
This session we will push hard for a bill to strengthen the parenting abilities of parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We will advocate for legislation that will make clear that parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities must accept aids and services that allow them to fulfill their parental duties.
Thank you for supporting our work.