supported decision-making legislation

Representative Jennifer Longdon
Representative John Allen

Arizona’s State Legislature is currently considering House Bill 2769 that will recognize supported decision-making as a less restrictive alternative to guardianship. Sponsored by Representative Jennifer Longdon (D) and Representative John Allen (R), the bipartisan legislation will allow people to enter into supported decision-making agreements with trusted supporters who may provide the support needed to people with disabilities to live self directed independent lives. To find out more about the legislation and read the proposed bill, you may click on the following link. HB2769

House Bill 2769 has the full support of the Supported Decision-Making Pilot Project. Furthermore, the bill has received support from AARP, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, The Autism Society, as well as other organizations and disability leaders. However, in order to pass, we need your support. It is important to let your representatives know that you support House Bill 2769 and believe supported decision-making is a less restrictive alternative to guardianship. To find out who your representatives are, you may visit the Arizona State Legislature website to search for your representatives. You may search for your representatives by clicking on this link https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/

Supported decision-making is a new concept for many people. when talking to your representatives about supported decision-making, there are a few talking points we believe are important to stress.

HB2769 (Supported Decision-Making) Talking Points

How HB 2769 Benefits Individuals with Disabilities & Aging Adults:

1.   Enables individuals with disabilities and aging adults to retain decision-making authority over life decisions

Ideal for many individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and senior citizens.

2.   Increases protections and reduces the risk of exploitation for the thousands of Arizonans with disabilities and other vulnerable adults who do not qualify for guardianship.

Right now, our laws provide very few protections when individuals with disabilities or vulnerable adults accept advice from other people –why not is a matter people who may only have their own interests in mind.

Supported Decision-Making reduces the risk of exploitation by establishing penalties for supporters who act in their own self-interest.

Supported Decision-Making reduces isolation and improves the safety and well-being of older adults or individuals with disabilities.

3.   DOES NOT do away with legal guardianship for those who need it.

Guardianship may still be granted for individuals who require that level of care. SDM is not for everyone.

Supported Decision-Making is less restrictive than guardianship, and can include advance directives, powers of attorney, and other third-party forms of assistance.

4.   Puts clear limits on how much personal information supporters are allowed to see.

Supporters only have access to information that is relevant to a decision to be considered through Supported Decision-Making.

5.   Creates a way for doctors, bankers, and other professionals to know that the older adult or person with a disability is giving informed consent when making a choice about their well-being.

6.   DOES NOT affect any federal funding for disability or aging services.

SDM is consistent with federally-required least restrictive options for individuals with disabilities

10 other states and the District of Columbia have passed laws establishing Supported Decision-Making

No SDM law jeopardizes federal funds in any way.

You can stay up-to-date on our supported decision-making efforts in Arizona by following us on Facebook. click on the following link to visit Arizona supported decision-making page on Facebook.

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