Federal and State Legislation

The Coelho Center is actively involved in supporting legislation for the advancement of the rights of people with disabilities, at the local, and state and federal level. 

Opposition to the RESPONSE Act 

On October 23rd 2019, The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation as part of the Coalition for Smart Safety submitted a letter opposing the RESPONSE Act. You can view the letter here: Coalition for Smart Safety joint statement .The Coalition opposes the false association of gun violence with psychiatric disability. While the Coalition supports efforts to end mass violence, it opposes the targeting and marginalization of individuals with mental health disabilities. The RESPONSE Act as proposed will do little to limit mass violence and may lead many people to avoid seeking services. Specifically, the Coalition is concerned that

  • "Behavioral intervention teams" will criminalize the behavior of students with disabilities and students of color. 
  • 10% of federal mental health block grants must be devoted to supporting and implementing involuntary outpatient commitment. 
  • The RESPONSE Act focuses on long-acting injectable medication as a strategy to promote crisis estabilization and community re-entry, while at the same time lacking support for long-term strategies or services such as supported housing. 

Support of the Disability Integration Act (DIA)

The Disability Integration Act (DIA) is a civil rights, bipartisan and bicameral legislation, introduced by Senators Charles Schumer, Minority Leader (D-NY) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in the Senate and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) in the House, to address the fundamental issue that people who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) are forced into institutions and losing their basic civil rights. The legislation (S.117, H.R.555) builds on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to institutionalization. It is the next step in our national advocacy after securing the Community First Choice (CFC) option. Learn more.

Support of Florida Medicare program and opposition to cuts to Ibudget program 

The Coelho Center has signed on to a letter asking Governor DiSantis to protect the Ibudget program, and not conduct further cuts to it. The iBudget program provides services to about 35,000 people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, while another 21,000 are on a waiting list.The iBudget serves people who have been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities or other disorders, such as autism, spina bifida, cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. Learn more.