Version 21, Issue 1
March 10, 2021
The 2021 Legislative Session has Begun!
This year the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council will prioritize the preservation of
Florida’s Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver for individuals
with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This waiver is referred to as the iBudget
waiver, which features the provision that each person’s plan of service is individualized to
their unique needs.
In 2020, the Florida legislature passed a generous funding package for the iBudget waiver
in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) budget and decided against many
managed care options to try to reduce costs in the implementation of the iBudget.
While the budget added funding to cover deficit spending increases to utilization and
funding to transition people off the iBudget waiting list, the increases in provider rates
for direct care workers were vetoed by the Governor.
The Governor was forced to make many vetoes to the state budget due to the COVID-19
Pandemic and its impact on reducing tourism to the state, which in turn decreased state
revenue. This next session budget estimates indicate a dramatic decrease in state
revenue that will force lawmakers to look for further cuts to the state budget.
The state has maintained a large multi-billion savings and has also received $12 billion
dollars in federal aid from the CARES Act. Advocates will be working to make sure that
vulnerable individuals who rely on the iBudget waiver will not have to endure cuts to their
- At a minimum, the iBudget must be maintained with the same funding as last year.
- The Council supports yearly increases in utilization that accurately reflect the additional needs of individuals on the iBudget waiver. Service utilization management is a crucial way to predict and contain costs. Currently, the need for more services of existing waiver recipients is the largest reason for a perceived deficit. The biggest reasons for increased service needs are due to aging caregivers, aging waiver recipients, and graduates from high school.
- The yearly budget for the waiver should include a regular reduction of the iBudget Waitlist. The Council recommends that at least 10% of the number of individuals on the waitlist be transitioned off the list each year.
- The Council supports increasing provider rates for all iBudget services included under Personal Supports.
- The Council recommends steering clear of for-profit managed care. The iBudget recipients have unique long-term care needs that are not compatible with managed care companies that work with acute health care needs. Few states have used managed care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so there is little data from which to assess outcomes and determine quality.
Go to iBudgetWaiver.com for more information and resources in Easy Read and Spanish
Important Bills to Watch
This bill revises provisions of law relating to guardianship and alternatives to guardianship.
The bill creates a process for supported decision-making (SDM), including providing
requirements for court, guardian petition, supported decision-making agreement,
decisionmaker and supporter, and educational agencies. Parents of children with
disabilities are often told they need to seek guardianship as soon as their child turns 18.
Florida law states that you cannot put someone under guardianship if there is a “less
restrictive” alternative, but the law does not offer a meaningful alternative. This proposed
legislation would list alternatives to guardianship in Florida Statute, including SDM and
ensure judges have the information they need to protect people with disabilities. The bill
would require anyone trying to put another person under guardianship or guardian
advocacy to show why an alternative, including SDM, will not work. Effective Date: July 1,
2021. The Council is supporting this proposed legislation.
02/02/21 HOUSE - Filed.
02/18/21 HOUSE - Referred to Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee; Civil Justice &
Property Rights Subcommittee; Health & Human Services Committee.
HOUSE - Now in Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee.
02/10/21 SENATE - Referred to Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; Appropriations;
This bill requires the Department of Law Enforcement, in cooperation with the Department
of Transportation, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department
of the Lottery, and local law enforcement agencies, to establish and implement the Purple
Alert; requiring the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to notify media and
alert subscribers if a Purple Alert is determined to be necessary and appropriate. The bill
provides that the Department of Law Enforcement, as the Purple Alert coordinator, and
certain agencies, employees, individuals, and entities are immune from civil liability for
damages when performing certain actions in good faith. This bill is another avenue to
prevent drowning and other accidents that can happen when someone with verified
cognitive challenges and history wanders from their home. Effective Date: Except as
otherwise expressly provided in this act and except for this section, which shall take effect
July 1, 2021, this act shall take effect July 1, 2022. The Council is supporting this
12/04/20 SENATE - Filed.
12/15/20 SENATE - Referred to Transportation; Children, Families, and Elder
02/02/21 SENATE - Favorable with CS by Transportation; 7 Yeas, 0 Nays.
02/03/21 SENATE - Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed.
SENATE - Now in Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.
02/16/21 SENATE - Favorable by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; 8 Yeas, Nays.
SENATE - Now in Appropriations.
02/17/21 HOUSE - Now in Appropriations Committee.
This bill revises the timeline for development and implementation of a student’s individual
education plan (IEP) for transition services for student with disabilities to postsecondary
education and career opportunities. The bill proposes an earlier timeline to assure that a
path has been started before high school. Another part of the bill provides for clarity
regarding a component that the Council thinks it is critical to help parents of children with
disabilities understand what graduating at age 18 with a standard diploma means.
Students often lose access to three years of services they would otherwise be entitled to
receive if they do not defer graduation. Also, there are programs that are available only to
students who do graduate at age 18. Parents and their children need to understand the
differences. Effective Date: July 1, 2021. The Council is supporting this bill.
01/06/21 HOUSE - Filed.
01/20/21 HOUSE - Referred to Secondary Education & Career Development
Subcommittee; PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee; Education & Employment
HOUSE - Now in Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee.
03/04/21 SENATE - On Committee agenda - Education, 03/09/21, 3:30 pm, 412K.
The bill would establish the Low-Income Home Accessibility Program within the Florida
Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). The bill requires the FHFC to work with the Centers
for Independent Living, to determine further eligibility requirements and adopt and revise
policies and procedures governing the operation of the program. The bill requires that
funds appropriated to the FHFC for the program be deposited in the State Housing Trust
Fund. This program would provide funding and services to help individuals with disabilities
live independently with accommodations to their living situation for wheelchairs, ramps
and other adaptive modifications and services. Effective Date: 7/1/2021. The Council is
supporting this bill.
02/09/21 SENATE - Filed.
02/18/21 SENATE - Referred to Community Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on
Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations.
HB 1543 Low-income Home Accessibility Program by Koster
03/05/21 HOUSE Now in Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.
This bill requires school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with
disabilities in public schools and requires school districts to adopt positive behavior
interventions and supports. The bill creates the Video Cameras in Public School
Classrooms Pilot Program and requires continuing education and in-service training for
instructional personnel teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities.
Effective Date: 7/1/2021. The Council will only support this bill if it prohibits the use
of mechanical restraints that are not prescribed by a doctor. Currently, the bill
endorses the use of handcuffs, straight jackets, zip ties and tie-downs as long as
they do not restrict blood circulation and breathing.
12/07/20 SENATE - Filed.
12/15/20 SENATE - Referred to Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on
HB 0149 Students with Disabilities in Public Schools by DuBose
03/03/21 HOUSE - Favorable with CS by Early Learning & Elementary Education
Subcommittee; 16 Yeas, 0 Nays.
03/04/21 HOUSE - Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed.