Rep. Chris Turner’s Legislation to Strengthen Protections for IDD Texans Signed into Law
AUSTIN, TX – Rep. Chris Turner’s (D-Grand Prairie) legislation to strengthen protections for intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals (IDD) – House Bill 1009 – was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott Monday. HB 1009 is part of a package of reforms Turner filed in response to the tragic death of Joshua Moore, a 27 year-old man with autism who was shot and killed in his group home. Investigative reporting by WFAA-TV that uncovered multiple deficiencies in protections for IDD individuals also played a key role in developing the legislation.
HB 1009 will go into effect on September 1, 2023, and will require caregivers in group homes, intermediate care facilities and state supported living facilities to pass a federal background check prior to working with individuals with IDD. This will ensure people who have committed crimes in other states will be flagged in the hiring process, and not hired to care for vulnerable individuals. Currently, caregivers are only subject to a state-level background check.
HB 1009 also includes the main provisions from Turner’s HB 1008, preventing caregivers who have been found to have engaged in misconduct such as neglect or abuse from working in these facilities as their case is appealed – a process that can take years.
“Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve to be cared for by qualified, compassionate, individuals,” said Turner. “When I learned of loopholes allowing people who had been found guilty of crimes and misconduct to be hired for these positions— and the irrevocable harm this can cause IDD individuals, I knew the Legislature must act.”
“While there is more work to be done, I am proud to have partnered with the Moore family to pass these reforms in Joshua’s honor, and hope they take comfort knowing people like Joshua will be safer and cared for at a higher standard because of their relentless advocacy in the face of tragedy.”