(Media release from the Georgia Senate Press Office):

Senator Sally Harrell (D – Atlanta) held a press conference on Thursday with fellow legislators, self-advocates, concerned members of the public, family members and service providers for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). The press conference announced the findings of the Senate Study Committee on People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Wavier Plan Access, chaired by Sen. Harrell and Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell), including a creation of the new Innovation Commission for Georgians and the next steps to take to further access to waivers and wages for Georgians with IDDs and their caregivers.

“Georgia has struggled for decades to build the necessary infrastructure to meet the demands set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999 that said that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Sen. Harrell. “Georgia needs an infrastructure that allows for those living with developmental disabilities to be able to work, to contribute, to lead, to belong, to be respected, to make friendships and to be cared for in a safe and loving way. Through the work and hearings of the Senate Study Committee on People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Waiver Plan Access, we have put this issue back on the map for Georgians and the Georgia General Assembly. Our trajectory has been set and we will not stop until all Georgians with IDDs and their community are given the proper resources for a happy and healthy life.”

The Innovation Commission for Georgians would be created by the passage of Senate Bill 198, which was filed on Wednesday by Sen. Harrell. The commission would consist of 22 members, appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. The commission would work on issues facing the IDD community such as transportation, housing, employment, systems management and more. SB 198 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services for further consideration.

For more information on SB 198, read here.

Senator Chuck Hufstetler, a Republican from Rome, was among the sponsors of this bill.