2021 Legislative & Annual Report

Introduction

The uncertainty, unease, and conflict that marked 2020 continued steadily in 2021. A case in point: the 87th Legislature grew from a 5-month session into almost the entire year. In response, we are combining our Annual and Legislative reports for 2021. Use the "2021 Annual Report" sidebar to navigate quickly between sections.

Reflecting on this year’s accomplishments our team is grateful for our leadership, membership, and culture of responsiveness that has allowed us to make great strides toward our mission—even as our times become ever more unsettling and contentious.

The Texas Capitol building against a cloudless blue sky. White tarps cover makeshift structures outside the entrance. A cherry tree blossoms in the foreground.We knew going into 2021 that the 87th Texas Legislature was going to be unusual (left, the Texas Capitol with COVID testing tents at the North entrance). Uncertainty about Capitol protocols due the pandemic and the wild card of the winter storm set the stage, to say nothing of the issues facing our lawmakers and advocacy communities. An unprecedented three special sessions into the fall continued the trend of pitched and prolonged battles in this legislative year. In such an environment, our team had reservations about what positive changes we’d be in a position to support for Texans with disabilities. However, we responded to quickly shifting circumstances and surprising developments and we are pleased to report that our wins were significant.

While this marathon legislative session took up enormous resources for CTD (indeed, for many advocacy organizations), it was not the only site of our accomplishments. Our staff also made strides in advocacy work outside of the Capitol, community engagement, arts programming, and promotion of consumer direction.

All photographs by CTD unless otherwise noted.

The production of this report is made possible with support from

AbbVie, Superior Healthplan, UnitedHealthcare

In memorium

We mourn the passing of two pillars of the CTD family, whose lives were claimed by COVID-19 this year.

A white-haired man in a suit jacket smiles gladly at the camera.An active CTD Board member since 2001, Gene Whitten-Legé (1938-2021) was the longest-serving volunteer board member in our organization’s history (left, accepting the 2002 Volunteer of the Year award at our annual Convention). With his wife Pat beside him, Gene’s pioneering professional career as a recognized authority on attendant care throughout Texas was remarkable and influential. His vision of an option that empowered people with disabilities and older adults in Medicaid to take control of their attendant care made him a founding father of consumer-directed services (CDS) in Texas. Our tribute to Gene.

A man with glasses and an athletic t-shirt smiles down at the camera, with his hand-cycle wheel out of focus at the bottom of the frame.A long-time and beloved CTD member, Mikail Davenport (1951-2021) received national attention for his Legless Lizard Tour de Tejas in 2007 (left, by The Daily Texas). In this collaboration with CTD, Mikail hand-cycled from El Paso to Beaumont to bring awareness to disability issues facing the Legislature that year, including voting, ADA-compliance, and Medicaid interest lists. To the end, he remained engaged in CTD and disability advocacy work, as well as the Wildflower Unitarian Church as an ordained interfaith minister.

Finally, in May, our staff was grateful to be able to gather in person to celebrate the life of Jeff Kyser, our IT Specialist until his death at the beginning of the pandemic.

Next: State Budget