Hurtado Releases Statement After the Equitable Access to Services Act Passes Senate Human Services 5-0
Media Contact: Michelle.Sherwood@sen.ca.gov
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement when her bill, Senate Bill 1092—the Equitable Access to Services Act passed the Senate Human Services Committee 5-0:
“Far too many institutional barriers have been created that prevent families from accessing services they need,” said Senator Hurtado. “Currently, individuals and families attempting to access the fair hearing process are met with a lack of access to mediation programs, as well as an informal dispute process. SB 1092 will reform the existing system, and provide a more accessible, less formal hearing process to make obtaining care much easier, preventing families and individuals from being left behind.”
“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve a system that makes it easier to connect with the supports they need, not harder, said Vivian Haun, Senior Attorney, Disability Rights California. “When it feels like you need a lawyer just to navigate that system, its working people, immigrant families, and communities of color who are left farthest behind. By breaking down systemic and bureaucratic barriers, Senate Bill 1092 will help ensure equity and access to justice for those with disabilities who have been most underserved.”
“Many Latinos served by the regional center system experience the fair hearing process as blatantly unfair," said Elizabeth Barrios Gomez, Executive Director of the Integrated Community Collaborative. “We have witnessed that many in our community in trying to navigate the fair hearing process find it to be overwhelming and intimidating. Most feel voiceless. SB 1092 is a critical bill to ensure that people with disabilities and their families can fight for services they desperately need, and it will help make the process more balanced.”
Families navigating California’s existing support systems face multiple barriers when it comes to receiving care, in many cases having to navigate bias, complex systems that lack coordination with other agencies and organizations, and that do not receive consistent funding. These barriers prevent many families from accessing much needed services, and leaves gaps in support. As a result, this legislative session, Senator Hurtado introduced the Family and Services Connection Support Bill Package that consists of three bills, which will help families trying to navigate California’s oftentimes complicated and uncoordinated services systems.
SB 1092—the Equitable Access to Services Act, will help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families more easily navigate the fair hearing process. Individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have a right to receive the necessary supports and services required to live independently in the community under the Lanterman Act. Families navigating the existing California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) report having a lack of access to mediation and other informal dispute resolution processes, and SB 1092 will reform the existing system to address their concerns. SB 1092 will also move the fair hearing process for DDS consumers from the Office of Administrative Hearings to CDSS, which is seen as providing a more accessible and less formal process.
About Senator Melissa Hurtado
Senator Melissa Hurtado represents a new generation of Latina leaders, as the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Senate and as a product of immigrant parents. Senator Hurtado represents the 14th Senate District and focuses on rural community issues that often go unheard — access to clean air and water, food insecurity and poverty, inequities in environmental policies, agriculture and access to health care. In July 2020, she was appointed to the national Biden Latino Leadership Committee alongside former Labor Secretary and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis – the only two California Latinas on the Committee.