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Public Policy Advocacy

Olmstead Plan Bill Passed!

Congratulations to Senior Staff Attorney Dianne DeLair and our entire Public Policy Team!  Their efforts, and those of Senator Kathy Campbell, were rewarded this week with the passing of LB 1033, the Olmstead Plan Bill.  The bill passed on a unanimous vote of 49-0 with no abstentions. Disability Rights Nebraska congratulates the Legislature on their recognition of this bill and its importance to Nebraskans with disabilities.

When the Olmstead decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court in 1999 we began an effort to get the state to develop what has become known as an “Olmstead Plan”.  Despite our many efforts, we were never able to gain any traction on this issue with the Governor’s office, the Department of Health and Human Services,  or within the Legislature.  This year we sensed that we might have the opportunity to move a proposal for an Olmstead Plan forward and we were asked by Senator Kathy Campbell to develop a draft of the initial language for what became LB 1033.  We continued to work closely with Senator Campbell’s office in developing the final version that was introduced.  We were encouraged when LB 1033 was passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee and placed on General File.

LB 1033 moved from General File (first reading), which requires a vote of the full Legislature, to Select File (second reading), and then from Select File, which also required a vote of the full Legislature, to Engrossment and Review.  The next step in the process is what is called Final Reading, which also requires a vote of the full Legislature.  We are pleased to announce that LB 1033 passed Final Reading on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

We are looking forward to the implementation of this bill and the beginnings of a long-overdue process.  The bill will require the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services to “develop a comprehensive, effective working plan for placing qualified persons with disabilities in the most integrated community-based service settings…”  The bill also creates a stakeholder advisory committee to assist in the development of the plan, and Disability Rights Nebraska will play a strong role in that process.

To learn more about the Olmstead Case and what it means for people with disabilities, please view a video introduction and an external source about Olmstead, the right to live in the community and beyond.

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