Legislative Victories 2017 – State Hospitals/SSLC’s

TSEU’s SSLC/State Hospital caucus has some pretty big victories this past legislative session – just as important as what was passed, was some legislation that we managed to defeat during the session.  Below are some highlights of TSEU victories for SSLC/State Hospitals:

State Hospitals

All 9 State Hospitals have long been in drastic need of replacement or serious renovation. As a result, the state budget spends $300 million from the Rainy Day Fund to repair state hospitals. Also, the budget prohibits the privatization of any State Hospitals. And because of pressure from TSEU, a study will be conducted on establishing a salary career ladder to improve employee retention. 

State Supported Living Centers

Senate Bill 602 by Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D- South Texas), would have established a special commission to determine which State Supported Living Centers to close. The bill was similar to the SSLC closure bill that was filed and defeated by TSEU in the 2015 legislative session.
Once again TSEU allied with SSLC parent groups to fight this bill. SB 602 passed the Senate by a vote of 24 to 7. After numerous legislative visits, phone calls, and public testimony, the SSLC closure bill was ultimately defeated in the House Human Services Committee near the end of the legislative session. 

The budget includes additional funding to repair the SSLC infrastructure while conducting a study on the creation of a salary career ladder to improve employee retention. 

TSEU scored another victory through SB 547 by Lois Kolkhorst and a budget rider that allows SSLCs to offer intellectual and developmental disability services to the broader community. This will improve the lives of folks with disabilities in the community and help prevent future closures. This has been a long-term goal for the TSEU State Supported Living Center Caucus.