Summary of the 2015 Legislative Report and ABLE Act
In our firm, we work with many families that include people with disabilities, and disability issues rank high on our list of top priorities. We like to keep an eye out for laws that pertain to disability issues to keep our clients informed about how it may affect them or their loved ones. Here is brief recap of the Disability Issues in the 2015 Legislature- Final Report, produced by Disability Rights New Mexico.
During the 2015 Legislative session, the HB 2 State Budget Bill passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Martinez. Governor Martinez did have some line-item vetoes. As far as new funding for disability-related services goes, none of those were vetoed by Governor Martinez. The additional funding includes over $6 million for behavioral health projects, including:
- crisis stabilization (triage) centers
- intensive service coordination (“behavioral health homes”)
- supportive/transitional housing
- the New Mexico statewide crisis/help line
- inpatient psychiatric services for those that don’t qualify for Medicaid
This budget also includes money for:
- rate increases for DD and Family-Infant-Toddler providers
- allow some people to come off the DD waiver waiting list, moving them into services
- civil legal services to low-income individuals
One bill that we have been keeping a close eye on as it has gone through the Legislature is HB 448 (Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton) Authorizing ABLE savings accounts. Unfortunately, HB 448 was passed in its first House Sub-Committee only to be tabled later in the House Ways and Means Committee. We are hopeful that this bill will pass soon, as it has in several other states. For a list of states that have passed the ABLE Act, please click HERE.
For a full list of Disability-related bills and memorials that were signed into law during the 2015 Legislative session, as well as ones that did not pass, click HERE to visit the Disability Rights New Mexico Legislative Reports. In June, the legislative committees began meeting for their “interim” session to review and debate many bills that were tabled or not passed during the 2015 legislative session. We will continue to watch the happenings at the legislature and provide additional information as it becomes available.