Navigating Life as we Know It

Legislation You Should Know About

October 14, 2020 Envision Media Group Season 1 Episode 8
Navigating Life as we Know It
Legislation You Should Know About
Chapters
Navigating Life as we Know It
Legislation You Should Know About
Oct 14, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8
Envision Media Group

Earlier this year we met with Brett Williams and went over several bills currently moving through various legislative circles that will have an impact on several aspects of life for individuals with disabilities and their families. Learn a little about what may be coming and how you can get involved on our first official 'legislative update' episode!

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/NLAWKI)

Show Notes Transcript

Earlier this year we met with Brett Williams and went over several bills currently moving through various legislative circles that will have an impact on several aspects of life for individuals with disabilities and their families. Learn a little about what may be coming and how you can get involved on our first official 'legislative update' episode!

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/NLAWKI)

Steve:

Hi, this is Steve. It's October 2020. And election year, a big election year. A lot of important issues on the table. And we are only a few weeks out from November 3. Both sides say there is much at stake in from each other perspectives. This is most certainly true. But relax. I'm not here to discuss politics and candidates. I'm here to talk about the legislative process and proposed state and federal legislation that may, if passed, positively affect the quality of life for people with disabilities. Our guest today is Brett Williams, Public Policy Analyst for the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council. This is our second visit with Brett. In a previous episode, Brett explained the origins and impact of the US Supreme Court's Olmstead decision and the home and community based service rules. If you haven't listened to that September 30 episode, please do. Also it's important to note this episode was recorded on March 25 2020. I know in the year of COVID-19, seven months ago seems like an eternity. I mentioned this because Brett will from time to time mentioned dates that don't sound very current. And you may get the impression what we're talking about is ancient history. Sadly, most of these initiatives have not been implemented into law because this is 2020 and a Coronavirus, has pretty much taken control of all human agendas. So sit back, relax and listen carefully not to stories of a bygone era that has passed or tails of what might have been, but to real possibilities of what might yet come to be. Let's join a conversation with Brett Williams. So Brett, we have two bills that are in the state of Michigan. And I think we have five that are federal to talk about. Brett is a specialist in public policy and he knows kind of what's going on. He's got his finger on the pulse and he's going to share a few things with us that are important bills that we should know his family members and people with disabilities because it will impact our lives. Do you want to add from our previous conversations, these bills do not travel at the speed of sound they travel more like at the speed of smell. Sometimes things take a long, long time to get processed. But knowing what's going down the pipeline is important. We're gonna talk initially about Hb 4813. That's a Michigan bill. And it's a tax credit.

Brett Williams:

Brett, can you tell us about this bill? Sure, Steve, to clarify a little bit here. What do you hear the term hv? That means the bill that's originated in the house. So House Bill 4013. And what do you hear sb 421. That's a bill that originates in the Senate. So anytime you get an HB house as the seller, the HB 4813 is a bill that was actually introduced a one session or goal in the 2017 2018 session by Senator Vincent Gregory, what was some of the driving forces behind that particular bill at that time was a discovery that many people, people disabilities and seniors were being for lack of a better term, Steve kind of pushed out of their houses because they couldn't afford to make the modification needed for a person with a disability. Or say a person who had multiple sclerosis and was unable to navigate compared with things that nature, they didn't have the resources to make the adaptations to their home. So Senator Gregory worked with a lot of different advocacy organization and designed a bill that would allow for a tax credit, not a refund, a tax credit for people who either make your house visible, and that's a word that's used in the bill or accessible for other people to come visit or in order to live there. The bills themselves are sitting right now. They've been introduced. One in July, in July, and in August now kind of go over a little bit of what's built to basically if I have a taxpayer by the by the home that qualifies as a principal residence, and retrofits or hires a person to make the modifications to the home if it meets certain requirements like zero step entrance, wide enough doorways for for facilities for bathrooms, things that nature, then they can apply up to a $5,000 tax credit was based on how much they spend on a renovation or they can take up to 4% of the purchase price of a home and a credit up to $5,000 the nice thing about these bills the way they were drafted Is that? See, let's say that you need to make an adaptation to your home to accommodate someone, and I had to buy a new home because there's no way that could make my existing home accommodate a person in my family that needed to entry, enter and exit the home. If there's been more people that apply for the tax credit from the renovation side, then the bubbles shipped that way. If more people apply for new construction than the bubble will ship the other way, the cap to the state would be $1 million worth of tax credits. So once again, if for any reason that threshold gets hit a half million dollars on one side gets exceeded, but not on the other side, then the bubble will shift. So that's one of the Greeks view that was better than still another provision that I think is worth noting is that say that I have a child that wants to live on their own, and this whole will be that child's primary residence. If I make those modifications, I would still qualify for the tax credit, even though I don't live with my child, but my child who has a disability is living in that home. And it's that child's primary residence. So there's lots of good provisions on these bills that were really helped people with disabilities. developmental disability, or disability is acquired throughout their life.

Steve:

Now a million dollars seems like a lot of money, but Michigan is a pretty big state. So what happens if more people apply for this tax credit, then they're they're able to fund?

Brett Williams:

That's a great question, what happens is, then it'll be prorated. So let's just say that there's a hypothetical number 1,100,000 hours required to apply, then those credits would be prorated back to the $1 million threshold, the state. But an important feature to Steve, I'll re emphasize this is not a refund. So people are not going to get cash back. It will be against the tax liability owed to the state. And that tax liability can be carried forward. I remember correctly think five

Steve:

years, that was my second

Brett Williams:

call, okay. It's like crystal ball got on my desk here. Right? That, say for instance, the person has a tax liability, it has a tax credit for $5,000 for retrofitting a home. But he only has a tax liability to pay for $1,000.

Steve:

That person could take the $4,000 balance and use it against liabilities in the future for up to five years. Now, when you said if you have a $1,100,000 worth of claims, for this credit, they'll reduce each one proportionally so that it goes back to the 1 million. So if someone's asking for a $5,000 credit, they might end up with a 40 $500 credit or something along that order. Is that correct?

Brett Williams:

That's correct. Yes.

Steve:

So one more question about the bubble shifting when you started talking about whether it's either a purchase or renovation. So what you meant by that just just for our listeners sake, if if there are more renovations going on, then purchases and they're doing 500,000 for each, they'll just start using up the lesser used credit.

Brett Williams:

Correct, until it reaches that $1 million threshold.

Steve:

So but the intention is to make money available for both but then they will make adjustments depending upon demand.

Brett Williams:

Correct. My three year old son trying to get a chewy, so

Steve:

this is a reality show here.

Brett Williams:

Cooler cheers can definitely be vocal right.

Steve:

Not a problem. I'm a dog person myself. I understand. And what kind of backing does this bill have? Is it likely to pass? Or was this something which would be a great idea but could possibly just evaporate?

Brett Williams:

Well, in today's environment, it's very difficult to say. And because we have to look at several things. One, when the bill passed, was introduced last session at pathauto. Senate 33 to three, which is pretty good margin. It made it to the house, but it didn't make the house till later in the session. didn't have time to be brought up. It died when fresh ended. These bills again were introduced in July and August. I think there's support there about whether we get to overnight is the next thing. When we started looking at what we're facing today. We have a budget that's not complete, and we're not in session right now due to the COVID-19 virus. So we also have supplemental appropriations that need to be addressed for education. So if I, if I had a place a crystal ball, I think that the, you know, naturally a budget is going to be, you know, first and foremost things being addressed become a concession. I think that second is going to be the education component of the budget, then we have to have everything done on the governor's desk by July 1. We are in election year, there's only six days of sessions scheduled in October. So if we brought up quickly, I think as the control loop, if it doesn't, then we, you know, look towards the next session.

Steve:

So like a cub fan would say, Wait till next year?

Brett Williams:

Yeah, it's really hard to say, again, it's one thing about legislation and the legislative process. It is virtually unpredictable. Until you look at what is really at the top of, you know, the ladders, you know, regarding the administration, regarding them, the Speaker of the House, and the majority leader in the Senate, those three components will kind of give you a guide of what we're doing moving first, other than that, the players guess,

Steve:

and like you said, there are priorities. And obviously, some things have to go to the head of the line, some things are going to have to wait and they can happen the next year. But what's encouraging a guess is that there seems to be generally support for this concept. It didn't happen last time, it might not happen this one. But it's quite likely that it may happen in the future, but there are no guarantees when it comes to legislation.

Brett Williams:

Absolutely. last session, during the hearing, I tend to to defer hearings on the bill. And there was one person of opposition. But other than that there was no opposition from any of the advocates who are attending and

Steve:

testifying to the hearings. Not a sure thing. But it's it's gonna happen. It could happen. Yes. Anything else about Hb 4813?

Brett Williams:

Oh, no, that pretty much summarizes what the bills are about. And if people want to look at an explore in the final piece of legislation, just type into anywhere your search engines with Michigan legislature, and it will take you to a page, you can look at public acts, you can look up builds, you can look at committees, the hearings, what's happening, he actually signed up for all the committee hearings. That what a bill could look for a hearing the horrible.

Steve:

Yeah, and you can also tell when it's not moving

Brett Williams:

direction, and I actually ended up

Steve:

as well, on the federal side, you just type in congress.gov. Yeah, and the website is a little bit busy. But if you know the name of the particular bill, whether it's Senate or house, you type that in, and you'll find out who sponsors and when it was introduced and what stage it's in, it's kind of interesting, kind of interesting. And if there's a particular bonus of high interest, that's something you might want to do just to see where it's moving.

Brett Williams:

Well, the nice thing about actually, both websites, the state of Michigan, and I'm going to plot a Michigan legislature, when they when they draft bill, they do a fairly good job of making them readable when we talk to some of the federal side, maybe not so much. But both websites do a good job of, for example, I have on congress.gov off right now. And in the very upper left hand corner, there's a drop down window, you can choose just this essence legislation, or you can choose all sessions. And then you could type in, like say we use disabilities, we can type in disabilities this session, and it will bring up all the bills that have the word disability somewhere in it, somebody may run across 567 dollar bills, but the ones that have the greatest impact, as far as the usage of disabilities will be normally at the front runners of routine, where you know, if a billet look at like disability of a pat me shoes, for example, then maybe down down chain waste.

Steve:

Now, that's a very good feature, because how many of you had told me previously, how many pieces of legislation are in the federal side at this particular point?

Brett Williams:

There's got to be somewhere neighborhood 64.

Steve:

Mills, trying to sort through all that yourself without having that word search would be a real problem.

Brett Williams:

Yes. And that's just a house inside of the Congress side. South Side, there's probably 3500

Steve:

and some of them are in the same issue, but some could be different, too. That's quite a bit. So they are working folks. They have a lot on their plate. Well, the next bill here is about emotional support animals. Can you tell us a little bit about HB 4910 and 14 and 11.

Brett Williams:

I can HP for the entire 4911 is an attempt to address two major issues. One is people who are falsely representing a pet, as an emotional support animal, when they move into a rental facility, or a facility that has a lease agreement or something of that nature, to avoid paying a pet deposit, and or an added monthly cost, to the least because of the pet. The second item that's trying to be addressed is that there is a plethora of online resources where people can go online paying nominal fee, some as low as 40 $50. Some were in excess of 170 $180 to get a certificate, and a declaration if you will, that their pet is an emotional support animal. Now, there is, again, a lot of things are being addressed by this in emotional support animals are not a Ada American Disabilities Act recognized and will a service animal is. However, when it comes to the Fair Housing Act. emotional support animals are protected. They're so there is a lot of gray area between the ADA, which a lot of people are very familiar with in the Fair Housing Act work. You know, not everybody would be familiar with that. So it does create a murky waters for sometimes landlords, sometimes people use an emotional support animal to really know what the boundaries are and what what parameters they have to stay in. So what was Bill's attempt to do are to one regulate it so that people who would be flying meta terms who want to think twice for representing their pet as emotional support animal in to give landlords the ability to do something if their emotional support animal isn't truly emotional support animal, HP 4510 does give a definition where emotional support animal means a common domestic animal, the health care provider has termed as necessary to alleviate the disability effects of mental, emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition or illness for a person with a disability who in the first animal would otherwise not have the same housing opportunities provided by a housing provider. Now my cast out there keeps going for a while. So when a person moves into an apartment in whether you know, it's a duplex, or a large apartment complex, a emotional support animal that has too many muscles, and is allowed in that facility is allowed not to have increased rents due to the emotional support animal, and there is an additional fee, but a pet. Those conditions were the plot. So the 4511 on hand bill basically changing the state statute to allow for termination of a lease. If a person misrepresent their pet as emotional support animal awful places, between the two bills, awful places as a misdemeanor with potential many days in jail and or 100 or $500 fine

Steve:

and termination of the lease

Brett Williams:

and termination lease, correct.

Steve:

That's gonna be awfully hard in some cases to prove, I would imagine.

Brett Williams:

Yes, there is provisions in the bill that a notice has to be provided by a health practitioner that the patient has relations to, to that the health practitioner can use the term health practitioner could be a physician, licensed practical nurse, things of that nature that the person's seeds, and then together and the penalties go for both sides. It goes for both a practitioner who falsified the document and or a tenant who misrepresents a document or an animal's emotional support as

Steve:

well. I think we've all heard stories about people that has an emotional support parakeet or an emotional support snake or things like that. And they're kind of funny stories, but I'm sure that people do try to to get those approved. Now my son at one point had a service dog. And I always was kind of resentful of the fact that people try to catch their average pet off as being a support or a professional service animal. It sounds like these bills will provide some rights for people that are landlords also.

Brett Williams:

Yeah, I've heard both sides of the argument. And this is a difficult position to begin a not knowing from a landlord's perspective not known as the animal's emotional support animal or be the person who needs extra support and what parameters they have to fall to legitimately, you know, have that emotional support him. Yes. And one thing that is important as well is that both Moses poor animals, and an ADA service animal can be kicked out of a public housing unit or a private residence. But if it goes, if it comes aggressive, that noisy neighbors, they let nature people don't realize that many public places, facilities can actually ask a person with a, like a service animal for that service animal to leave the premises, if it becomes disruptive. Now, they can't ask the person to leave the premise.

Steve:

What's the status of that bill? And is that something they had generally are those bills? And do they have reasonable support? Well,

Brett Williams:

the house they are in the senate out of the Senate bills versions, which was actually three bill packets, SB 6809. And 10. has had hearings. But it has not been voted out of committee yet. I don't have exact numbers. I can look it up for you real quick see by front of me, but I'm thinking there was something to the effect of 5733 being born out of the house. Me Not, again, being a companion bill, the Senate only different form. If either one of the bills are changed in any format, then you go to the conference committee, and they may not agree on the conference committee.

Unknown:

This is the portion of the show which will be a break between the state and federal bills.

Steve:

Heading on to the federal bills, there's hr 555, the disability integration act. Yeah, this is probably complex, but can you give us a high level on it?

Brett Williams:

Oh, I absolutely can. hr 555 all plays a companion bill in the Senate, which would be f one one sub now. And Altai, we explained how the HB s be work, federal legislation, HR house representatives as Senate. So it's very similar. So if you see the H house as the disability integration act 2019 would prohibit government entities and insurance providers for denying community services to people and individuals with disabilities that require long term supports in our services, and enable each individual to live in the community and lead an independent life. So this is very reflective of what we talked about in our last session, homie GB services. This bill will build I should say, actually look at some of the provisions and sbcs and puts it in statute. Basically, entities such as the government insurance industries and things of this nature, can't discriminate from a person who needs community services, such as try posing eligibility criteria, Comcast expenditure, it'd be illegal for them to do that if they're still coming to act. Sometimes we've experienced that, you know, prevalent insurance provider, they have, you know, specific things that their policies cover, something that they don't wear, if a person who's under a Medicaid program, or under other programs, has a disability, and the providers were where they may be will not be able to say that no, we're not going to provide the service to the community. And we're going to to promote to socialization for the individual. The bill also requires the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, to issue regulations requiring government entities, insurance providers to offer communities long term through services to individuals with disabilities, who basically would otherwise qualify for institutional placement. Michigan does not have any institutions blackland closed in 2010, if I remember correctly, the home of community services for people disabilities, Michigan is critical.

Steve:

But there are still states that do have institutions. And so how would this apply to Illinois, you still have some institutions, what happens? That particular case could add an insurance company deny home care?

Brett Williams:

Well, this this is where it gets a little complicated. I am not an expert on all the different Medicaid provisions. I do have a general understanding of the Holy Trinity Service rules that were issued in 2014, if I remember correctly, basically, under the hpcs regulation, an institution would not be able to receive Medicaid funds, like institutionalizing an individual, and not having them in a new base setting. Now, it is ultimately up to the individual to choose where they want to live. So let's just say for example, again, I reflect back to some conversation knew I had the path, say that we have a farm that literally 20 miles out of town, that only people who are living there are people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, they don't leave, they don't have transportation to the city, you know, go to library movies, or else they have an in house theater, in house, barbershop, etc, etc, etc, they are basically for day up sunup sundown they are in a location, that would be considered an isolated setting. And that facility would not be able to receive home or community service funding through Medicaid, unless they changed dynamics of institution and made it more accessible to greater community. So I would imagine, again, I'm just walking around all in here, that states that do have institutions that those are going to have to change how they run and how we look and how they operate to conform to the HCBS hpcs setting rules. And if this was to come into fruition, then that would, you know, places in statute that the providers were providing supports and services to the individual can't say that you're going

Steve:

to use the example of a firearm, that might be outside of town and has limited access. What can happen is it can make changes to conform. But they have to prove their case, is that how that works in

Brett Williams:

in a very general setting. Yes, that's how it works when a entity and I don't want to say farming give people impression of, you know, a farmer segregated setting would be a better way to put it, that they if they are under heightened scrutiny, they can do a couple different things, they can work with admission, ob MSA medical service, ministration. And they were helped run all the study ministration to make the necessary changes to comport with eccf study, or to elect not to basically say that persons who are living here, great, but their support money's gonna have to come from somewhere else.

Steve:

Are there any other provisions in HR 555, or s 117.

Brett Williams:

Very high overview of the other two bills. But one thing it is important to note that the bill often allows for civil actions to be brought by individuals that may have been impacted by somebody violating the fact

Steve:

you have an example of what that would look like.

Brett Williams:

Well, I think, to better answer a question, I because there's things called standing of things. I'm not a lawyer. I didn't at the Holiday Inn Express last night. So there is an empty Michigan called Michigan Protection and Advocacy

Steve:

Services there on all states, aren't they protection advocacy services?

Brett Williams:

Yes, there may be lchf emission protection anti services

Steve:

is the legal arm if you will, of enforcing people's rights, who are disabled. So that might be a place for an individual to take a grievance?

Brett Williams:

Oh, absolutely.

Steve:

And if he wants to read the people want to read more about the disability integration act again, the websites we gave congress.gov they can read more about it and see what the disadvantage is.

Brett Williams:

Yes. And when people search for a piece of legislation, there is a summary of the builds that are available. Some of them not all of them. For instance, there's bills been introduced since early session that there's not a summary RepRap 93 days that have a summary. So there's no rhyme or reason for that either.

Unknown:

Thank you for tuning in to navigating life as we know it. This is Alex, your producer and I apologize for any irregular sounds because I'm coming at you live from my home studio. And I am a bit under the weather today. So hopefully it doesn't sound too awful. I'm working what I got here. First off, I'd like to thank everyone who has joined us in our Facebook community. You are what's going to make the gold habit And not only do we trust our Facebook friends to let us know what sort of episodes we are making, whether or not you like the content, and what you want to hear in the future, but also we are expecting you guys to participate every now and then, and throw out ideas that even we wouldn't normally think of whatever you want to hear, let us know and we will find a way to make it happen. Secondly, we will be putting up all kinds of information regarding the current status of all the bills we discussed during today's show, Brett has been an invaluable resource and he will be on to give us an update with a bit more time present information though, with the way this year has gone. Who knows what how much progress we're going to be talking about. Lastly, if you are interested in helping us here at in Locky in any way, shape or form, we have got 1000 ways you can help from joining us on Facebook and giving us your feedback to becoming one of our beta listeners and getting a hold of the podcast a few days early to give us feedback prior to launch. Even as far as if you just want to make a sustaining donation on our Patreon. A couple bucks a month can go a long way to help uncover the cost of a podcast. Thank you so much for everything that you as our listeners do for us. You make us what we are, and we truly do care about it. I'm gonna let you get back to the interview now. Once again, thanks so much and have a wonderful listening experience.

Steve:

Welcome back to our conversation with Brett Williams. We're talking now about hr 1529. federal legislation is the marriage excess for people with special abilities act. That's maps, I guess is the abbreviation for that.

Brett Williams:

Yes, for as long as I know, people who are receiving a society income were penalised if you will if we got married, because they look at the individual income, we look at household income, things of that nature. So what this bill would do would be amend title 16, the Social Security Act and that income benefit to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities will not be reduced by regional marriage. Now, we're not talking a great deal of money when we're talking about remember currently, SSI benefits are roughly $780 a month. So we're not talking a ton of money on this. The bear Texas for people and I think Michelle Down syndrome really describes it very well. They write that the marriage access for people with special abilities are matched the act clarifies that SSI benefits individuals with an intellectual developmental disability will not be affected by marital status. I mean, that basically says it all. And so to promote in I have close friends that several a close friend actually got one it's already been married, several are planning to get married, they have to plan well, just to get married. So one or both more ever diminished benefit level. So let's definitely help people who are on SSI eliminate a penalty for having you know, two people on SSI are insane, helpful, and the ability for people who want to get married to get married.

Steve:

And although it doesn't seem like a lot of money it is if that's your sole source of income.

Brett Williams:

Absolutely. We want to come across as much money for the household. Looking at it for the bigger picture for Social Security, because you're right now people are living underneath the income of SSI SSDI. Limited on a fixed income period.

Steve:

The next one is the Disability Employment incentive act, hr 3992.

Brett Williams:

Yes, it was f 255. Okay. And basically what this bill deal would expand tax credits and deductions for employers who hire and retain employees with a disability. Now, Steven was very transparent with you. When I was reading these bills some time ago, there was a lot of cross referencing to the Social Security Act, as well as some of the tax codes and some of the other issues are coming into play in this. I am not an expert on the tax code. I'm just going to kind of explain it as I know it. So basically, what we'll do is mandatory revenue code to clewd individuals who are receiving like a social security disability insurance benefit under the Work Opportunity credit, it also increased the opportunity credit for vocational rehabilitative Service, qualified SSI and SSDI recipients and expand disabled access credit. It will also provide increased credits for expenditures like removing Architectural Barriers, barriers of transportation and other things like computer internet access, things like that.

Steve:

So basically helped the employer financially through tax credits to employ people with disabilities.

Brett Williams:

Correct. And that was the long way around. And Stevie is a lot better than I expected up to tax credit clewd hiring employees who receive Social Security, SSI or SSDI. Benefits. Where are we with a little worry home? I'll be completely transparently See, to look that one up real quick. I don't believe it's I had a couple actions on the bill. Yeah, it's only had a couple things happening with it. So far, two actions. Basically, introduction and referral to committee, it looks like anything else you want to add about hr 3992. I can't think of any wrap my head that would absolutely help employers, by hiring people with disabilities to, you know, give greater incentives to make some of the necessary changes. But again, with what we got going now on national level, and this bill is introduced July 25 of last year, we're running out of time.

Steve:

Again, that might not happen this time around, but it's a great idea hope that it survives. The next one is hr 4280 SSI Restoration Act.

Brett Williams:

Yes, I get a companion bill is 2753. Now, for the most part, something else security income, or SSI, really hasn't been adjusted or modified well over 30 years. So there is substantial limitations to the assets that one can retain the income that one could have retained benefits, as well as you know, household married income and benefits. Now, currently, in general sense, current SSI beneficiary going have roughly about $2,000 in assets, that is disregarding the aim accounts. So we're setting the evil council sizes, but this bill would do would raise the $2,000 mark and raise the asset limit to $10,000 from individual and $20,000 for a couple, then we look at just the rate of inflation for last 30 plus years that really doesn't even match this race. So people have been you know, as time progresses further and further behind my reason to answer on the 10,000 $20,000 shirt, a married couple financially help many people, in addition to that, it would increase the amount of disregarded income that beneficiary can take in each month. Basically what it is that, for instance, if a person receives 70 some odd dollars a month, another source, they have to report that that will impact their SSI MLT received monthly things like that was this bill, it would increase that to $123 a month from other sources that have impact their eligibility. Now, if a person is able to work even part time, they would be able to earn up to $399 a month under this bill. And again, not lose eligibility. And another very nice component of this, though, is that there's something called natural supports, which is I pathetically if I have a son daughter where the case would be, and I have a guest house, and I let them live in my guest house that consider and natural support that would be considered that they're receiving money for rent. under this bill, you know, they're not gonna see you're not charging them anything. They can't have that as a natural support, because it's considered how the inner has a value to that. So this bill would allow for natural supports, and not be penalized for awful good, like the previous bill would not be penalized if they were being married was portion a loss of income. If a person has a society, and we're going over that a little bit earlier today, and even after marriage, they will still receive benefits.

Steve:

That would be very welcome because at 2000 seems very draconian.

Brett Williams:

When you look at, for instance, what $2,000 were by back in 19 $83 a day there's a large cap between value that I would absolutely agree with your Nan Steve. Oh, I remember him a date myself here bells car sale done back in the mid 80s. And I remember selling brand new cars for, you know, high fives, low sixes. You know, if I can walk out a lot today and buy a new car for high fives, low sixes.

Steve:

Well, I beyond that, that's like a used car with a lot of miles on it

Brett Williams:

was 200,000 mile mark,

Steve:

then the last one here for today is hr 48. A to the Community Safety Act. So tell us about the Community Safety Act.

Brett Williams:

Yeah. TX would authorize the Attorney General to provide grants to law enforcement in other first responder agencies to gain more training and how to interact with people with mental health issues and or intellectual developmental disabilities. We all know that through the reports on TV and all the other media, there's times where a law enforcement officer or other approaches a person with a mental health condition or developmental disability, and the outcomes are not favorable to either person. So we'll just build designed to do to promote those funding source. So law enforcement gain further training, the grants will be over a period of five years with a total amount, roughly going to the bill on assault, appropriation actors, authorizing Trump over $2.5 million to carry out this section for each of the fiscal years. And I think that's going towards administrative side, as well as operational appropriations, that the authorizer appropriated for $25 billion each year, starting 2020. Going through 2025, we have not been able to distinguish exactly where the money is gonna come from whether it's a new appropriation or reappropriation. programs. We don't know that yet.

Steve:

And again, going back to what we're our government currently is faced with this COVID-19 funding issue to keep our economy from falling off the rails, these things probably will take second place those issues. Yes, we might not see action on this for a while, it would be a good idea at some point in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Brett Williams:

My son, my son hears there are self advocates in the state of Michigan self afterthought, Michigan being one of them that look at this issue and that famous tickler bill, but looking at this issue is a vitally important. And they actually reached out to the Michigan State Police to reach out to all their local law enforcement agencies to help foster a better understanding of what an individual's mental health condition in order and it talks about the relevance ability goes through when they're approached by law enforcement, or looking towards, you know, any sort of an interaction with that individual.

Steve:

And I think important point to make here is that you don't have to wait for the funding to have those that advocacy going on about what can we do about that now to increase understanding. It doesn't always take an appropriation it can just be people reaching out to people to make things happen, but to the spread that message as far as possible, it will take some funding.

Brett Williams:

Oh, absolutely. And we look back at the Olmstead decision. It took one person, one voice and one advocate to change the termination.

Steve:

It takes a lot of courage to be that first voice I'm sure,

Brett Williams:

yes.

Steve:

Well, Brett, I want to thank you. I know you've had a long day. And I really appreciate your taking the time to visit with us on these issues. And we will keep our listeners informed as things happen that are worthy of reporting. And so with that, I would say good night, my friend gets some sleep and go pick your son there.

Brett Williams:

Do something with him. He's a little rambunctious this evening. He wants your attention. He does he cuz I'm literally sitting here at the table working computer. So little after six this morning as we're up here at 30 at night, so.

Steve:

Okay, well be well, my friend and we'll talk to you sometime soon. Thank you.

Brett Williams:

Thank you. Once again, I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

Kerry Johnson:

Hi, and welcome back to the cafe. We're glad you could stick around for the discussion. today. Steve spoke with Brett Williams about proposed legislation, both for the state of Michigan and the US Congress. Steve, it all sounds promising. But there's a lot of stuff there. What are your impressions, and how do we best help these things come to fruition?

Steve:

I'm glad you asked that question. It's an excellent one. If you are interested in finding out the progress around a bill or you want to be able to talk to somebody at the arc or some other advocacy organization about helping out or write your congressperson, if it's a US government? Bill, it's congress.gov. And you'll see a very good interactive website, there's one thing that Congress does very well for us, you can just put in the bills number or describe it, you can write in disability employment, and you'll get everything coming up that has to do with disability employment, it'll tell you the status of the bill, who the sponsor is, who's signed on to it, it's really, really great, wonderful. And the same thing for the Michigan legislature, you put it on legislature.mit.gov. Now, if you're listening to this in Iowa, or wherever you happen to be, I'm hoping you have something similar, but the congress.gov works in all 50 states, and it's universal, right? But every state should have something very similar to this. And it's a great way to find something that is really important to you and find out what is the status. Where is it right now?

Unknown:

Right?

Steve:

I would say that everything that Brett talked about was really good stuff. It's all very promising. Two of them that really excited me was one Michigan bill in in one United States Congress bill. But if you are planning on getting married, and you're disabled, then some of the stuff he talked about is very important to us. So we'll kind of just briefly go over it. But I want to kind of highlight the ones that I think are important. There's a lot of partisan division on many different things. But there isn't an awful lot of division when it comes to disability issues. That seems to be rather non partisan, because it affects everybody. Excellent. So maybe there's some spending issues involved with some bills. But in terms of the philosophy of helping people out with disabilities to have a more inclusive life, nobody's fighting against that. Okay, does it put on the fast track because some of these things move at the speed of smell, they are very, very slow.

Kerry Johnson:

And what's kind of impacted that?

Steve:

Well, COVID has for one thing, because it kind of took over the agenda. But just it's an election year, everybody's posturing in not as much as happening that could be happening.

Kerry Johnson:

Okay, some of your highlights

Steve:

some of the highlights, okay. to Michigan bills, first of all, HB which means House Bill 4813, that Brett talked about the tax credit for purchase of housing, or for certain modifications, that's really a cool thing. Now, that was started in 2019. It's been around for quite some time already. And it usually shows up in the next Congress session, if it doesn't pass. But that's going to offer a significant amount of money, if somebody needs to make an adaptation to a house so they can live there. Or it's possible to do that. It doesn't have to be your house, it can be a son, or it could be the parents house, the son or daughter is living at that they can do this. And it's limited, but it's still something the state of Michigan is talking about having a million dollars in this plan. And people can get up to $5,000 to make a modification. I think Brett explained pretty well that it either goes to the purchase of a new house, or it could be through modifying an existing house, you can find all the all the details online, but I like that. I think that a lot of people can take advantage of that. That's interesting. There is six different bills out there about reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals, really, yes, there's six different bills. There's three Senate bills in Michigan and to house bills. But I think actually, Brett covered it quite well in the talk. Okay, now we get to the US Congress bills, and there was the disability integration Act, which is just making sure that if somebody can access a service in their community, that service providers and Medicaid providers have to pay for it. And apparently, that's been the law for some time, but it hasn't been the practice universally. And so the disability integration act of 2019, hr 555 is going to be underscoring that there's a marriage access for people with special abilities that, again, as Brett mentioned, if this is probably the most important of all the things we're talking about, if you're planning on getting married, and people with disabilities do get married, it's just a normal thing that people want to do. Right? They fall in love. It was penalties before This removes the penalties, financial penalties. The Disability and set employment incentive act is helping more employers offer jobs and giving us some tax credits to do so help opens them to consideration of people with different abilities. Excellent. The one I think is super cool is hr 4280. The Disability Employment incentive act was hr 3992 hr 4280. We are Know this crazy thing that's been around for decades that in person that's collecting basically, SSI can't have more than $2,000. In countable assets. There's other things you can do, you can have trusts, you can have ABLE accounts by talking about money in a checking account or savings account, no more than 2000. This would raise it, this is the SSI Restoration Act from 2000 to $10,000. Getting close now, if they gave you the 10,000, it'd be even better, but

Kerry Johnson:

not gonna give it to you. But they'll let

Steve:

you have it. Right, you can have 10,000 under this activity passes. And the earning capacity goes from $783 a month without affecting your SSI, up to significantly higher than that, and I don't really have that exact figure. But they're increasing both the amount of earnings and the amount of assets you can have. So I think those two are huge, because they're bringing us like, up to current with the $10,000, at least $2,000 used to be and it still is a lot of money, but not by 2020 standards, what it was, let's see a 1995 or earlier than that, then there's the Community Safety Act. This is really quite related to reforming police procedures for many things, a big concern in the disability community as somebody was in public, and somehow being approached by a policeman. And that person had autism, or some kind of other disorder that is not maybe not apparent, it could lead them to run or to resist. And that could have very bad consequences,

Kerry Johnson:

very severe consequence.

Steve:

So this is about authorizing the Assistant Attorney General to make grants to provide training to improve police responses for people with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities. So that would hopefully create a better outcome than a confrontational one. Whether you're talking about is having someone like a social worker go out in some calls rather than police versus a domestic disturbance. And there's a problem with a mental illness, police and guns aren't going to solve the problem. They could only aggravate it in many cases. It's the same thing with a developmental intellectual disability very close to the mental illness, there could be reactions that they wouldn't be the police would not be used to. And they can't normally function on those and this would help that carry trying to get us out of here.

Kerry Johnson:

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