HARRISBURG— The state House has unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) to create a bill of rights for those with special needs.
“My goal is to help those with special needs live independently and make autonomous choices about their lives, and to experience full integration and inclusion in mainstream society,” Murt said. “It requires the state to give a full accounting of how many people are on the waiting list for special needs services.”
House Bill 1363
requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop and submit a plan to address the waiting list for community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities.
Within one year of the bill’s effective date, DHS must develop a five-year plan to eliminate the current and future critical and emergency waiting list for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This plan would be submitted to the governor, the General Assembly and the county intellectual disability program administrators.
The bill would require that DHS’s plan include statistical information on the current and projected annual increase to the waiting list on a county basis. It would also require DHS to examine the costs associated with eliminating the waiting list.
The legislation would require public comment from individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families and guardians and providers of services to the intellectual disability community obtained from public hearings held by DHS.
House Bill 1363 now moves to the Senate.
“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this so we can ensure those with special needs receive the help they so desperately need,” Murt said.
Representative Thomas P. Murt
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster