Monday, November 2, 2009

CDCAN: Breaking News: SB 69 passes Assembly 60 to 0, bill heads to Senate, then Gov.

 SB 69 a bill to delay the implementation of the new sneaky and devastating requirements to IHSS (homecare) workers, had passed the California Assembly, now it's on to the Senate and finally the governor -- all 3 of which need to sign off on the bill to make the bill law and provide relief to IHSS providers (workers), consumers and the county governments that would have to orientate and process fingerprints for 838,000+ providers and consumers (clients).

Here's the email in case you have a few mins to spare. It's lengthy but quite detailed.

Bill Amended by Assemblymember Evans Faces Major Hurdle in Getting Approval from Governor – Assembly Budget Committee Sets November 5th 09:00 AM Follow-up Informational Hearing on IHSS – Same Day as Olmstead Advisory Committee Meeting

SACRAMENTO, CALIF (CDCAN) [Updated 11/02/09  10:33 PM  (Pacific Time)  -  The Assembly after a long marathon session in both houses that focused on the state’s ongoing water crisis, passed a bill on a different crisis that impacts its most vulnerable population, approving amendments by Assemblymember Noreen Evans (Democrat – Santa Rosa) to SB 69 that would delay the November 1st implementation of several new requirements for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers.

The bill won support from both Assembly Democrats and Republicans – including support from Assembly Republican Leader Sam Blakeslee (Republican – San Luis Obispo).

The emergency “clean-up” legislation passed on a vote of  60 to 0.

It heads next to the State Senate, which resumed its floor session just before 8:30 PM this evening. While the State Senate is still in session as the Assembly approved SB 69, it is not certain if they will remain in session this evening long enough to take action on the bill.  Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (Democrat – Sacramento) indicated earlier this evening that the State Senate would return to session on Tuesday. 

Assemblymember Evans, nearly half of the state’s counties and a wide range of disability and senior advocates have said the November 1st implementation of the new IHSS worker (provider) requirements  is causing widespread “panic and confusion” among California’s most vulnerable population.  Evans and supporters of the bill say a delay is needed to allow the State to complete information, guidance, materials and for the counties to prepare and train staff and to conduct outreach so the new requirements are implemented without harming the people it was intended to protect. 

Both the Assembly and State Senate were in caucus most of the afternoon and evening on how the Legislature will address the State’s water crisis.  The Assembly was in caucus for most of the time after it formally convened at 12 noon and reconvened its floor session after 4 PM  - an hour later than what was scheduled and then resumed its floor session just before 10:30 PM. 

New IHSS Requirements Part of Budget Deal
The new requirements, passed last July by the Legislature controlled by the Democrats and approved  by the Governor as part of the 2009-2010 revised state budget, included mandatory fingerprinting and criminal background checks, orientation, for all IHSS workers. 

Those requirements were included, along with unannounced home visits and fingerprinting of IHSS recipients (with specific exemptions), in ABx4 19, (the “x4” stands for 4th special or extraordinary session) that legislative Republicans and the Governor said were needed to provide tools for the state and counties to combat fraud and abuse in the IHSS program. 

The bill however had an earlier effective date – when the bill was enacted (July 28, 2009) which the Department of Social Services pushed back to November 1, 2009. 

Last week at a joint informational budget hearing by the Assembly Budget Committee and the Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services, Schwarzenegger Administration officials, represented by John Wagner, director of the Department of Social Services and Eva Lopez, deputy director, said the State intended to move forward with the November 1st implementation date, saying that it would be releasing final or clarified instructions and information that should address the concerns raised by the counties and advocates. 

The Department of Social Services is the state agency that oversees the IHSS program statewide, which will in 2009-2010, serve over 462,000 children and adults with disabilities – including developmental, persons with mental health needs, the blind, and low income seniors.  Over 376,000 persons provide the in-home services as providers (workers).

Counties – who have responsibility to administer the IHSS program locally -   and disability and senior advocates however raised major objections saying that the Schwarzenegger Administration is moving too fast without providing clear instructions, translated materials, answers to concerns and conflicting information, and necessary funding for counties to implement the new changes,   

Santa Clara County Joins Long List of Counties Who Say They Cannot Comply With New IHSS Requirements
Meanwhile Santa Clara County indicated it joined nearly half of the State’s 58 counties in sending an official letter to the California Department of Social Services indicating it cannot comply with the new requirements for IHSS workers by the November 1st start date. 

In a letter dated October 28, 2009, Will Lightbourne, director of the Social Services Agency of Santa Clara County wrote that "…Santa Clara County will be unable to implement the new IHSS provider enrollment mandates by the November 1, 2009 deadline” citing several specific reasons.  Among the reasons listed was that the county “…has not received all of the necessary directives to comply with the required elements including fingerprint/background check process and provider orientation now has the county received necessary translated materials in languages including Vietnamese, Spanish and Russian representing our diverse provider population.”

Lightbourne echoing other county officials across the state wrote that his county is “…routinely stymied in discussions how to implement the various mandates due to draft instructive documents, contradictory instructions, and newly required forms still in draft form [all from the California Department of Social Services]. 
He concluded his letter saying that budget reductions to the Santa Clara County Public Authority will limit “our ability to comply” with the new law and that his county will be able to comply with the new IHSS requirements when “…Santa Clara County is provided with all the documentation, authorizations, and translated materials necessary, and the enrollment mandates [requirements] have been legally vetted…”

Los Angeles County, which has the most IHSS recipients and workers within a county in the state and probably in  the nation, sent a letter last week that flatly said it could not comply with the November 1st implementation date.

For a copy of this and the other letters from counties to the Department of Social Services, go to the CDCAN website at

·         Official text of the bill (SB 69) as approved by the Assembly this evening (November 2)  will be available on the State’s official legislative website later this evening and also on the CDAN website at 
·         The bill heads to the State Senate, and then, if it passes there without any changes, heads next to the Governor.
·         The measure needs 2/3rds vote in both houses to pass as an urgency or emergency bill (a bill that takes effect immediately after it is approved by the governor) which means 27 votes in the 40 member State Senate.  Democrats hold 50 seats in the Assembly, with 1 independent and 28 Republicans and 1 vacancy (72nd Assembly District).  Democrats control the State Senate with 25 seats to the Republicans 15. 
·         If the Governor signs the bill – which is not certain – the measure would take effect immediately.
·         The Assembly Budget Committee has officially scheduled a follow-up informational hearing on the IHSS crisis for November 5th, Thursday morning at 09:00 AM, at the State Capitol in Room 4202, though the hearing date and time is subject to change. 
·         The scheduled hearing is the same day as the Olmstead Advisory Committee meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Department of Rehabilitation building in Room 242.  The Olmstead Advisory Committee advises the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency on the state’s implementation of the landmark 1999 US Supreme Court “Olmstead Decision” under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.  The US Supreme Court decision required the states to take steps to avoid the unnecessary or unjustified institutionalization of persons with disabilities, mental health needs and seniors.  The  lawsuit was filed by two women with disabilities from Georgia – Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson – against the then George State Commissioner Tommy Olmstead who headed its health and human services agency.

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