On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the Texas House will consider House Bill 1675 (HB 1675) on the House floor, which would make it easier for someone with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to be placed under guardianship. The bill would remove the current and needed processes for guardianship and is based on one family’s personal experience working to obtain guardianship of their soon-to-be adult son. The Arc of Texas opposes HB 1675, because changing the law to make it easier for one well-intentioned family to obtain guardianship would be ruinous for the self-determination of thousands of other Texans with disabilities.
Steps to obtain guardianship are intentionally rigorous because guardianship is an extreme measure that removes an individual’s right to make their own choices on everything from medical care, marriage, and voting. All alternatives to guardianship should be explored before a guardianship is established. Any individual for whom guardianship is sought should have their interests adequately represented to the court and not discarded simply because of the perceived severity of their disability.
All people need and use support to make important life decisions. Most people with IDD can manage their own affairs with informal assistance and guidance and do not need a guardian. There are alternatives to guardianship that provide support for an individual without taking away their rights, including supported decision-making agreements—which are legally recognized in Texas—as well as medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney, trusts, Medicaid services, and more.
Use our call to action to send a message to your Texas representative and ask them to oppose HB 1675 and protect the human rights of Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.