Disability Nonprofit Celebrates MOLeg Wins

May 19, 2023

[SPRINGFIELD, MO]— The recently concluded 102nd Missouri General Assembly 2023 Missouri Legislative Session saw significant advancements in promoting inclusivity, equality, and enhanced support for individuals with disabilities and the Deaf community. Senate Bill 106, passed last Friday, introduces crucial improvements to earnings and asset rules for people with disabilities, alleviating the undue penalty faced by those in need of personal attendants due to minimal income or the financial situation of their spouse. The addition of Rep. Melanie Stinnett's amendment, mirroring HCS HBs 971 & 970 to HCS SS SCS SB 106, contributed immensely to this positive outcome.

Another noteworthy accomplishment is the successful integration of Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) language, as proposed by Sen. Greg Razer, into HB 447. The bill, which received Truly Agreed and Finally Passed status on May 10, 2023 signifies a significant stride forward in ensuring equal opportunities and linguistic development for deaf children.

In addition to these milestones, we are delighted to announce increased funding for vital programs supporting independent living and Consumer Directed Services (CDS). Budget Bill 2 secures a commendable $700,000 boost for independent living centers, while Budget Bill 10 reflects a remarkable $42 million increase for the CDS (Consumer Directed Services) program. We extend our sincere gratitude to Sen. Lincoln Hough for his tireless efforts to advocate for a considerably higher CDS line item. This crucial investment is urgently needed to address the needs of individuals who require comprehensive support, particularly recognizing the detrimental effects of the existing sixty percent cap in the program.

The implementation of the sixty percent cap since FY2018 has imposed limitations that prevent some individuals from safely remaining in their homes with the necessary CDS support. The cost of care exceeds sixty percent of the expense associated with nursing home care, forcing affected individuals into nursing homes or compromising their ability to receive adequate support while living independently. It is imperative that we continue working towards eliminating this cap and ensuring every Missourian can access the assistance they require.

These positive developments in the Missouri Legislative Session underscore the dedication and commitment of legislators and advocates who strive for a more inclusive and supportive society. By addressing barriers and enhancing opportunities for individuals with disabilities and the Deaf community, we move closer to building a state where everyone can thrive.

Note: HCS - House Committee Substitute; HB - House Bill; SCS - Senate Committee Substitute; SS - Senate Substitute. ###