2021 Legislative & Annual Report: Civil Rights

Organ Transplants

HB 119 (Landgraf) will protect organ transplant recipients from discrimination on the basis of their disability.

Health Equity

HB 4139 (Coleman) would have reinstated Texas’ Office of Health Equity to look into health and health access disparities among many populations in Texas that face significant barriers to health and health access, including Texans with disabilities. The bill received false attacks as promoting transgender health access, even though it had nothing to do with transgender issues. However, groups that have historically faced health and health access disparities, like Texans with disabilities, older adults and rural folks, among many others, stand to gain from a body whose purpose is to examine and address those trends. HB 4139 narrowly passed the House, but did not make it out of the Senate.

Fortunately, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will be using federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to set up the Office of Health Equity, Policies, and Performance. These are one-time funds, so securing continued appropriations in future session will be a priority.

Guardianship

A bill filed with the best of intentions would have stripped protections in place, such as due process, routine investigations, considerations of alternatives to guardianship, and even standard reporting. CTD was very involved in this difficult, oppositional advocacy, and ultimately the bill did not pass.

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