Georgia Seeks To Protect Services Of Special-Needs Students
Georgia's Department of Education stated that the school system in Savannah did not allow teams to consider all components of students’ educational needs during periods of remote instruction. News is from Maine, California, and Florida, as well.
Savannah Morning News:
State Department Of Education Rules Against Savannah-Chatham In Special Needs Complaint
Students with special needs must receive all their required services, and the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools System cannot use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for not providing those required services, the Georgia Department of Education said in its ruling against the district on Friday afternoon. (Augsdorfer, 2/16)
Georgia Health News:
Families Fear ‘Heartbreaking’ Cuts In Disability Programs
Matt Gaffney had trouble living in a group home for people with disabilities like himself. He’s nonverbal and suffers from multiple conditions: severe autism, bipolar disorder, chronic gastrointestinal issues. In group homes, Matt, now 42, had his medications ‘‘raised to higher levels,’’ says Sue Gaffney, his mother. And she adds that his last group home “dumped’’ him into a state hospital. (Miller, 2/16)
In other news from Georgia, Maine and California —
Georgia Health News:
Can Georgia Save Its Medicaid Waiver Plan?
State officials “are looking at all options’’ after the Biden administration appeared to halt Georgia’s upcoming plan for increasing Medicaid enrollment. Frank Berry, commissioner of the Department of Community Health, told a House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday that officials are reviewing a letter, sent by federal health officials, that expressed ‘’serious concerns’’ about the Georgia plan’s eligibility requirements, which critics have called too strict. The letter was first reported by Georgia Health News. (Miller, 2/16)
Bay Area Cities Go To War Over Gas Stoves In Homes And Restaurants
San Francisco restaurant owners, already simmering over covid-19 restrictions, are ready to boil over because of a city ban on natural gas stoves in new buildings that takes effect in June. The ban, which also affects other gas appliances, is part of a statewide campaign aimed at reducing climate change-feeding carbon emissions as well as health hazards from indoor gas exposure. A similar ban went into effect in Berkeley in 2020; Oakland and San Jose recently passed similar measures, and other California cities are considering them. (Green, 2/17)
DHHS Updating Rules For Involuntary Commitments After Ruling
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is updating its involuntary commitment process following a state supreme court ruling that psychiatric patients may not be held for extended periods in emergency rooms without a judge getting involved. Details are still being worked out by the Office of Behavioral Health on new rules to reflect the new precedent in the ruling late last month, said Jackie Farwell, a Maine DHHS spokesperson. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s decision enforces a limit of five days, with a judge’s approval, for someone to be held in an emergency room against their will. The process starts over after five days if there’s no placement available for the patient, the court said. (2/17)
And Florida's governor hears from fans and critics over his covid response —
Covid Wars Launch DeSantis Into GOP ‘Top Tier’
Ron DeSantis once drew national scorn for his stewardship of Florida’s Covid-19 response — critics took to referring to the governor as “DeathSantis” for his resistance to restrictive measures. But that very blowback — marked by predictions of doom and widespread criticism for being divorced from science — has made DeSantis ascendant in the GOP. His position is strengthened among the GOP grassroots and elites heading into his 2022 reelection in Florida and accompanied by increasing conservative chatter nationwide about a presidential bid. (Caputo, 2/16)
Florida Lawmakers Gave DeSantis Total Power Over Pandemic Aid. Now They Want It Back.
Republican lawmakers in Florida are starting to look for ways to rein in Gov. Ron DeSantis' emergency powers nearly a year into the public health crisis that has crippled the state and killed more than 28,000 residents. As Florida's tourism-centered economy crumbled and the rate of new Covid-19 infections climbed last summer, the state's Republican-controlled Legislature let DeSantis, a fellow Republican, call the shots. Like legislators in other states, they deferred to their governor on the pandemic for months, on everything from whether to shut down bars to which schools should hold in-person classes. (Fineout, 2/16)