Louisiana Measure Stalled While Lawmakers Consider Rights Of People
With Developmental Disabilities
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 28, 2005
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA--A bill designed to better assess the needs of people with developmental disabilities and then inform them of their choices, was held up in a committee Wednesday because of a debate over how it would impact their rights.
According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, some Senators said they were concerned about a provision in Senate Bill 190 that would allow a third person to help an individual with a disability to make decisions affecting their living arrangements or treatment options.
One lawmaker said that the provision would mean that a person's rights could be taken away without a court declaring them incompetent -- in possible violation of the person's constitutional rights.
Raymond Jetson, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, and father of a 14-year-old daughter with developmental disabilities, said that many people are making decisions without the advice of family members or others who know the person.
"We don't want to deprive anyone of their rights when the intent is to do the opposite," Jetson said.
"Legal question stalls bill intended to aid disabled" (The Advocate)