According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2019 there were 1,296,016 adults in Washington with a disability, amounting to one in every five adults.
There are several government entities in Washington that address issues relating to disabilities. The Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (Committee), housed within the Employment Security Department, advises the Governor, Legislature, and state agencies on policies that affect people with disabilities. It also provides training and technical assistance to the business community to promote employment opportunities and awareness of disability issues. The Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability was established in the 2013 Operating Budget with the purpose of identifying key strategic actions to prepare for the aging of the population in Washington. Membership of this committee is composed of legislators and non-legislative members. In addition, the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council (Council) was established in 1976 through the Governor's Executive Order after the enactment of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act which provided federal funding to states to establish and maintain a State Council on Developmental Disabilities. The Council advocates for equitable policies, programs, and practices that benefit people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Any statutorily created or statutorily mandated task force, work group, advisory committee, or other entity created in or mandated by statute that is tasked with examining policies and issues related directly and tangibly to people with disabilities must meet the following membership requirements:
The membership requirements do not apply to legislative select committees or other statutorily created or statutorily mandated entity composed of only legislative members. The Statute Law Committee must include these membership requirements in any published bill drafting guide.
The Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate must, in consultation with the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Office of Equity, hold forums and identify:
By December 1, 2022, the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate must submit a report to the Legislature and legislative staff that details the findings from the forums.
The Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate must ensure that any relevant training material or guidance provided to legislators or legislative staff:
(In support) People with disabilities, including those with psychiatric disabilities, are experts in the problems that impact them and should have a say in the solutions to help them, including how services should be offered. Historically, people with disabilities have been denied a seat at the table which lead to harmful policies. When state entities are shaping policies that affect the lives of people with disabilities, those with direct lived experience who are impacted should be invited to participate in the discussions early throughout the process to share their experience and educate policymakers on what can and should be done to help. When people with direct lived experience are included in these discussions, the chance of finding the right solutions the first time increases. It's important that people be able to be self-advocates and have a voice on issues that affect them directly rather than letting others make decisions on their behalf. This bill not only requires people with disabilities to be at the table, but ensures that the table is accessible. The requirement of more than one person with a disability to be represented on these work groups ensures that they will be heard and not afraid to speak up, which may be the case if the requirement was to only have one person with disabilities be represented on these work groups. This policy helps people with some of the greatest needs and greatest barriers to be heard and allows for a person-centered plan.
This is the only minority group you can join at any age. Everyone will experience a disability at some point in their lives, so this impacts not only one-fifth of residents with a disability currently, but all residents in the state.
(Other) Washington is one of the worst states in America to be a disabled person. There is no infrastructure in the state for persons with disabilities and no functional advocacy system. This policy does not provide for outreach to talk to people in the disabled communities. This policy ignores those with disabilities who cannot have their own voice and therefore have co-advocates to advocate on their behalf. This policy needs to include participation by those co-advocates so that the needs of those who cannot express themselves can be represented.