Our Priorities

3.5 minute read

Attendant Wages

Recruitment and retention of this crucial workforce have been at high risk for decades, due to an extremely low base wage, no benefits, increasing demand, and alternative employers paying much higher wages. We recommend an increase in the hourly base wage to $15 in 2024 and $17 in 2025.

Criminal Justice

Our criminal justice priorities in 2023 include improved medical care, increasing the use of medically recommended parole, and accessible and equitable educational and reentry programming.

Healthcare Costs

Access to the right medication at the right time is best decided between a consumer and their doctor. This session, we support measures to protect Texas consumers from insurance practices that put needed medications out of reach.

Increase the Number of Texans with Health Insurance

Texas' rate and number of uninsured citizens continues to be the highest in the nation—and it's growing. A recent economic study reports that health insurance expansion would produce a net positive to the state budget while creating 231,700 jobs in the first year. Texans with disabilities currently not eligible for coverage would gain it. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry is one of the best at employing people with disabilities, a demographic with a high unemployment rate. We are members of and support the Cover Texas Now coalition and Sick of It TX campaign in advocating for health insurance expansion.

Mental Health & ID / DD

Access to quality treatment continues to be a problem for individuals with intellectual and / or developmental disabilities (ID / DD) experiencing mental illness. Significant workforce shortages of mental health and ID / DD specialists, as well a limited knowledge and training for mental health and ID /DD professionals, create substantial barriers. The Legislature should strengthen efforts to capitalize on the expertise in both fields and establish a seamless, comprehensive, and integrated system of care for this population.

Oral and Dental Care

More than 400,000 adult Texans in Medicaid receive little to no dental services. When these individuals have dental pain, their only option is the emergency room. A dental benefit would not only improve the oral and overall health outcomes of this population, but also make better use of public funds. Language about a preventative benefit passed in 2021, but the program has not been implemented due to budget constraints. CTD's advocacy in 2023 moves to securing the funding.

School Safety, Discipline, & Mental Health Supports

Children and youth with intellectual and /or developmental disabilities (ID / DD) are more likely to experience trauma and abuse than their peers. In 2023, the legislature should increase opportunities for success for public school students with disabilities by strengthening school-based mental health supports, eliminating exclusionary disciplinary methods, and ending illegal restraints that harm students with disabilities.

Special Education & Schools

As the state strives to best serve all students, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Legislature must not leave students with disabilities behind by neglecting to support special education programs and to fund public schools. CTD is opposed to voucher initiatives that take money away from public schools and to censorship in the classroom.

State Budget & Appropriations

As the 2023 Legislature convened, State Comptroller Glenn Hegar released a mind-boggling revenue estimate of $188 billion. The early budget bills from the House and Senate are little more than an extension of many parts of previous spending, leaving roughly $50 billion on the table. But the Texas constitution limits the amount of increase over the previous biennium’s budget. Some policymakers claim that means that most of the record surplus should be left unspent; others say the limit can be worked around to deal with unmet needs. CTD supports tapping into the surplus to address years of neglect and pressing crises in disability services.

Youth Justice

Our youth justice priorities in 2023 are informed by our work with the Finish the 5 Campaign, which calls upon the state to close the remaining 5 state secure juvenile detention facilities in Texas.