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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

IDEAS and ACTIONS................... Read This First: Key Information about this Report

Use the lists below to identify the individuals who have contributed their idea and action statements to Nightlight Report. Click on the name to go directly to the statement of that person. Or, scroll down this Page to read all 38 statements in order of date received (most recent received is listed first).

This Page also includes a "placeholder" posting representing those Legislators who have not yet provided statements for the Nightlight Report. People may choose to enter comments on this posting if their Legislator did not submit a statement for the Report. Click here to go directly to that posting.

Public comments have been entered in response to each of the statements on this Page and can be viewed by clicking on "comments" under each posted statement. Or, click on the "All Public Comments" Page in the Page Menu to access a compilation of all the public comments in one place.

Individuals who submitted statements to the Nightlight Report

Texas House of Representatives:

Anderson, Rodney (HD 106); Beck, Marva (HD 57); Berman, Leo (HD 6); Bonnen, Dennis (HD 25); Burkett, Cindy (HD 101); Callegari, Bill (HD 132); Coleman, Garnet (HD 147); Farias, Joe (HD 118); Fletcher, Allen (HD 130); Gonzalez, Naomi (HD 76); Guillen, Ryan (HD 31); Gutierrez, Roland (HD 119); Hardcastle, Rick (HD 68); Hilderbran, Harvey (HD 53); King, Susan (HD 71); Kolkhorst, Lois (HD 13); Lucio III, Eddie (HD 38); Marquez, Marisa (HD 77); Martinez, Armando "Mando" (HD 39); McClendon, Ruth Jones (HD 120); Miles, Borris (HD 146); Nash, Barbara (HD 93); Patrick, Diane (HD 94); Rodriguez, Eddie (HD 51); Shelton, Mark (HD 97); Straus, Joe (Speaker) (HD 121); Truitt, Vicki (HD 98); Villarreal, Mike (HD 123); Walle, Armando (HD 140); White, James (HD 12); Workman, Paul (HD 47); Zedler, Bill (HD 96)

Texas Senate:
Carona, John (SD 16); Lucio, Jr., Eddie (SD 27); West, Royce (SD 23); Watson, Kirk (SD 14); Zaffirini, Judith (SD 21)

Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities:
Larsen, Margaret

Placeholder Posting

This posting is left blank as a placeholder for those Texas Legislators who have not yet submitted statements of positive ideas and actions for children with disabilities for the Nightlight Report.

Statements are welcome from Legislators anytime and will be added to the Report when received. 

People may choose to enter comments on this posting if their Legislator did not submit a statement for the Report.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Action: Visiting with children with disabilities and their families at "Down By The Border" in Brownsville

Submitted by: Representative Ryan Guillen

House District 31

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

“I am truly inspired by the strength and courage of children with disabilities and their families. A while back, I had the pleasure of dropping by Down By The Border in Brownsville, an association that helps children with disabilities in South Texas. It was rewarding to visit with the children and to spend quality time with them. As a public servant, I have fought tirelessly to enhance the lives of children as well as adults with disabilities in our state and will continue to do so.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Action: Working to update the AMBER alert system

Submitted by: Representative Rodney Anderson

House District 106

"Perske Pencil Portraits

“I am particularly concerned with issues affecting the safety and well-being of intellectually and developmentally disabled people of all ages.

To that end, I am working to update the existing AMBER alert system to include persons both older and younger than 17 who have an intellectual or developmental disability.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Action: Sent a hand-written letter in response with appreciation and best wishes

Submitted by: Representative Susan King

House District 71

"Perske Pencil Portraits
Sent a hand-written letter in response that said:

“Thank you so much for coming to our office and sharing your ideas regarding children with disabilities. I appreciate your work on behalf of children. Best wishes with your new project.”

Action: Remembering children of special needs when considering the state budget

Submitted by: Representative Paul Workman

House District 47

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"In this very difficult budget time in our state it will be important for us to remember that budget cuts affect real people and many of those are children of special needs. I hope we can remember these children when we consider the budget."

Action: Sharing information about Special Olympics Texas (SOTX)

Submitted by: Margaret Larsen

Member: Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (appointed by the Governor of Texas)


“For more than 40 years, Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) has been committed to providing year-round sports training and competition opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Furthermore, Special Olympics focuses on providing programming that empowers athletes and fosters social change, starting with youth, through programs like Young Athletes and Meet in the Middle. These unique programs are changing the lives of school-age children in Texas, bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities in the classroom to foster inclusion and acceptance. To learn more about SOTX's efforts to improve the quality of life for our athletes, visit and”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Action: Resolving to seek the best interest of children with special needs

Submitted by: Representative Eddie Rodriguez

House District 51

"Perske Pencil Portraits
"With renewed zeal, I resolve to seek the best interest of children with special needs. It is my hope that the Legislature act with compassion towards all children in spite of the difficult budgeting challenges we will face this legislative session. Not only can we ill afford to do less, we must do much more to help those who need it the most."

Action: Working to ensure all necessary support and services

Submitted by: Representative Naomi Gonzalez

House District 76

"During the upcoming session, I will work diligently to protect the rights of children with disabilities so that we may ensure that our most vulnerable receive all necessary support and services."

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Action: Eliminating the "R-word"

Submitted by: Senator Judith Zaffirini

Senate District 21


"One action relating to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities is particularly overdue: eliminating all variations of the word "retarded" and replacing them with respectful language. The "R-word" is extremely hurtful and demeaning to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and its use presents significant barriers to community inclusion.

State governments are recognizing this belatedly and are progressing toward the universal use of respectful language: Several states voted recently to remove the R-word from statute. Meanwhile, President Obama signed Rosa's Law, a bill to eliminate the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" from federal health, education and labor laws. Texas should not lag behind. In 2009 I authored legislation that would have required all variations of the word "R-word" to be removed from Texas statutes. Although SB 1395 was heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, it was never scheduled for a vote. I re-filed this respectful language legislation, SB 26, for the Texas Legislative Session that convened on Jan. 11.

When it comes to treating persons with respect, Texas should lead by example. This is not a partisan issue. It is a matter of human decency. Eliminating the R-word from our everyday and legal language would reflect our commitment to the ethic of respectful reciprocity, or what many of us know as the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Equally important, it also would reflect the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they would like to be treated. These rules are not only the way we should live our lives, but also are the best approach to public policy. Fortunately, no legislation has to be passed for us to start eliminating the R-word from everyday speech. We can start immediately by talking with our friends and family."

Action: Commitment to improving basic necessities- quality health care, education, and respect

Submitted by: Representative Cindy Burkett

House District 101

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"Children with special needs deserve quality health care service, an effective educational experience and the ability to grow in a nurturing environment that shelters them from neglect. It is so often the case that those with mental illness are not treated with the basic dignity and respect that should be extended to an individual with physical disabilities or physical diseases. State policies should continue to focus on a sincere commitment to improving these basic necessities in making a positive impact in the lives of such precious individuals in our society."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Action: Promoting the well-being of children with disabilities

Submitted by: Representative Ruth Jones McClendon

House District 120
"As a public servant, I work with and represent many different people, and I believe strongly in the importance of every person's contribution to society. I am therefore going to work diligently to promote the well-being of children with disabilities, so that they too can grow up to be valuable members of our state and enjoy meaningful lives. "

Idea: Reflection on the inspiration of families of children with disabilities

Submitted by: Speaker Joe Straus

House District 121

“I appreciate the opportunity at this busy time to reflect on the inspiration that families across the state provide as they help their children with disabilities learn, develop, and grow. This nightlight serves as a reminder of these strong, dedicated, and loving Texas families.”

Idea: Thinking of the challenges faced by children with disabilities and of the love and joy of parents for their children

Submitted by: Representative Mark Shelton

House District 97


"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"In my profession as a pediatrician in infectious disease, I daily see the difficulties and challenges that children face while dealing with both mental and physical disabilities. However, these hardships are readily endured every time I see the Love and Joy in a parent's face when they are finally able to take their child home."

Action: Working on legislation to assist students with dyscalculia

Submitted by: Representative Allen Fletcher

House District 130

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"I am working on a bill that assists students in school that are affected by dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a math disorder that involves difficulty learning or comprehending mathematics. I believe it is important to pass this legislation because dyscalculia is not currently recognized in law throughout the state of Texas, and students with this disorder are negatively affected since this disorder is not addressed correctly."

Action: Helping ensure the highest quality care and treatment

Submitted by: Representative Bill Zedler

House District 96

"Perske Pencil Portraits

  "As someone who came out of the healthcare industry, I look  forward to helping develop innovative ways that ensure our most vulnerable Texans receive the highest quality care and treatment possible."

Action: Working to ensure quality teachers trained in research-based practices

Submitted by: Representative Diane Patrick

House District 94
"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"I will continue working to ensure that all of our students have access to quality teachers who have been trained in research-based practices for students with disabilities."

Action: Permission to reference and share an article

Submitted by: The Office of Senator Kirk Watson

Senate District 14

The office of Senator Kirk Watson permitted reference to a recent activity of Senator Watson, as reported in the following article (

ADL Partners with the Arc of the Capital Area

Date: September 21, 2010

Excerpt from the article: "Arc of the Capital Area- a nonprofit organization committed to promoting independence and choice by creating opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities- and ADL were joined by Senator Kirk Watson,  who emceed the event, and Mayor Lee Leffingwell who presented a City proclamation proclaiming Austin a city of respect. 
The theme of the event was a campaign to eradicate the use of the word "retarded," called the "R" word by Arc, and make the new "R" word "Respect."  Mental retardation is a medical diagnosis and should not be a pejorative term to be used against a group of people, but. the word "retarded" has become a derogatory label used negatively to ridicule individuals. Instead of a diagnosis, the term has become a hurtful slur.
This campaign is one step towards dramatically changing the attitude of society and the perception of people with disabilities..."

Action: Continuing support for children with cancer

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

Submitted by: Representative Leo Berman

House District 6

“I have supported for years and plan to continue to support children with cancer through my interest and contribution to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:”

Action: Working to ensure that children with disabilities are protected in the state's budget and working on legislation to address the shortage of pediatric equipment in ambulance fleets

Submitted by: Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

Senate District 27

"Perske Pencil Portraits
"Children with disabilities are a gift from God to their communities. They teach the most important things in life - unconditional love and service. State law should help communities to serve children with disabilities. This session, I will be working to ensure that children with disabilities are protected in the state's budget. Children did not create the budget hole and cuts to services they rely on should not be part of the fix. I am also working on legislation that will address the shortage of pediatric equipment in ambulance fleets. By making sure ambulances are properly equipped with the tools needed to deliver treatment, all children - especially those with disabilities - will be able to get the kind of attention they need in the event of an accident.

It is my hope that Texas will become a leading light in the nation when it comes to both serving and empowering children with disabilities."

Action: Volunteering to support organizations and encouraging others to do so

Submitted by: Representative Barbara Nash

House District 93

"Perske Pencil Portraits
 "As a volunteer, I will continue to support organizations that fight to protect and work toward the advancement of all children, especially those with disabilities and I will encourage others to do the same."

Action: Taking responsibility to stand up for children with disabilities

Submitted by: Representative Armando Walle

House District 140

Pencil Portraits
“Children represent the future of Texas, and children with disabilities are an integral part of our future. Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams. I am humbled by the opportunity to stand up for these children at the legislature, and that is a responsibility that I will honor and take seriously.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Action: Commitment to protect and improve quality of life

Submitted by: Representative Marisa Marquez

House District 77

"My office is committed to protecting and improving the quality of life of all the El Paso kids who are disabled."

Actions: Support of "BACH;" offering an open door for children and families; and communicating with local school districts

Submitted by: Representative Dennis Bonnen

House District 25

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"
“The Brazoria County Association for Citizens with Handicaps (BACH), which is located in my district, has played a tremendous role in serving persons with disabilities. I have always been a strong and active supporter in helping them fulfill their mission of "helping children with special needs achieve." I remain committed to their efforts and my office door will always be open to these children and their families as they advocate for the needs of their community. I will also continue my dialogue with my local school districts regarding ways our schools can excel at offering the highest level of learning to our special education students.”

Action: Support of "Junction 505" in Bryan/College Station

Submitted by: Representative Marva Beck

House District 57

Pencil Portraits
“For many years I have been a supporter of Junction 505 in Bryan/College Station. This program works with young people providing on the job training so they can be productive members of their community. At each year's banquet we get to meet and hear the stories of some of these individuals. Supporting them is one of the best things that I do!”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Action: Co-authored legislation and actively involved with "Down by the Border"

Submitted by: Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez

House District 39

"Perske Pencil Portraits
"I am and have been very supportive of children with disabilities and their families. I co-authored HB 67/SB 187 81R to assist children with disabilities. Additionally, I am actively involved with "Down by the Border" . I assist 'Down by the Border" with their
legislative agenda, as well as
provide financial support."

Action: Filed a committee report documenting the needs of mental health programs on the county level

Submitted by: Representative Garnet Coleman

House District 147

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"I filed a committee report that documented the needs of mental health programs on the county level throughout the state of Texas as well as the importance of supporting these programs that provide such a necessary service to some of our most cherished citizens."

Idea (Hope): To develop and approve cost effective programs for essential care

Submitted by: Representative Bill Callegari

House District 132

"This session I hope that the legislature may develop and approve cost effective, working programs that provide essential care, and maintain the dignity, of children with disabilities."

Action: Work to ensure resources and supports

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

Submitted by: Representative Harvey Hilderbran

House District 53

"I will remember the special needs and circumstances of children with disabilities, as well as their caregivers. I will work to ensure these individuals are never lacking in the resources or support they require."

Action: Work to mitigate impact of any budget cuts

"Perske Pencil Portraits
Submitted by:
Senator Royce West

Senate District 23

“I will work during the 2011 legislative session to mitigate the impact of any cuts necessitated by the state's $27 billion dollar budget deficit on services needed by our most vulnerable citizens, including, of course, children with disabilities. I have long been an advocate for those in need, and will strive to protect their interests in the present challenging economic environment.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Idea (Wish): All children find loving homes

Submitted by: Senator John Carona

Senate District 16 

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"
“It is my wish for all children to be able to find loving homes. My wife and I have adopted two children, a son and a daughter, and we hope every couple or individual understands the benefits and miracles children can bring to their lives. There are thousands of children just waiting to find good homes and families. The greatest gift anyone can give or receive is love and acceptance. I encourage people who are considering adoption to start the process today. I encourage the children who are chosen by adoptive parents to remember that they are special because they are chosen to be loved.”

Friday, January 7, 2011

Idea: Holistic approach for state policies based upon compassion, personal responsibility, commitment, coordination

Submitted by: Representative Lois Kolkhorst

House District 13


"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"Children with special needs need more than just the services government can provide. These amazing individuals require a sense of shared responsibility and a major commitment of service from family members, friends, churches, businesses and their communities to meet their needs. My prayer for 2011 is that Texas becomes a society of individuals who show compassion and who personally care for the needs of these individuals. State policies should reflect a holistic approach that is based upon compassion, personal responsibility, a sincere commitment of service and better coordination of resources for our children with special needs."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Action: Commitment to supporting progressive legislation to protect rights and improve services for people with disabilities

Submitted by: Representative Joe Farias

House District 118

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"I am committed to supporting progressive legislation to protect rights and improve services for people with disabilities. Last session, I co-authored such legislation for individuals with disabilities who experience discrimination on the part of a state entity or actor and remain committed to working on these same issues during the 82nd Legislature.  
  • House Bill 849, which I co-authored, but unfortunately was unable to pass last session, offered protection to all Texans from instances of discrimination by waiving Texas' immunity from suit for any ADA violations by a state entity or actor. 
  • I also co-authored House Bill 806, which ensures that prosthetic and orthotic devices are included in health plans for working families who cannot afford to purchase a prosthetic limb. 
  • I also co-authored House Bill 978, which brings the Texas Labor Code into alignment with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 by clarifying the meaning of "disability" and protecting employees from discrimination based on disability."

Action: Meeting with care providers

Submitted by: Representative James White

House District 12

“I will continue aggressively with meeting with care providers in my district as we continue to navigate the challenging budget cycle.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

Action: Proposing legislation to increase accessibility of playgrounds in parks

Submitted by: Representative Eddie Lucio III

House District 38

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"
“During the 81st Legislative Session I authored House Bill 67 which created the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Children with Special Needs. In November of this year, I filed House Bill 283, which would require all new or renovated parks to have increased wheelchair accessibility
for playgrounds.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Action: Sharing a story

Submitted by: Representative Rick Hardcastle

House District 68

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

“I know of a small-town community in Texas that has for years supported a gentleman who is mentally challenged. As a child, he was raised by his grandparents until their deaths. In his childhood, the whole community “adopted” and supported him. One hay hauler hired him to help with his business. Later on, another resident took him under his wing and hired him on as an assistant to his small business. He and his wife became the man’s guardian. They and the community helped him develop basic skills and social skills over his lifetime, and as a result, he has become a productive citizen whom everyone knows and supports.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Action: Dedication of social media status updates

Submitted by: Representative Borris Miles

House District 146

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

"I found your idea for the report/blog very refreshing as children with disabilities should be a concern to all Texans as it is also a concern for me...

Furthermore, I will dedicate my social media status updates this morning [Tuesday, December 21, 2010] to further echo awareness [about children with disabilities] amongst my social network."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Action: Dedication to help MHMR centers; Legislation for more respectful language

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

Submitted by: Representative Vicki Truitt

House District 98

“The 82nd Texas Legislature will face budgetary challenges that can and probably will negatively affect services provided to children with disabilities. Every day, I and my staff look for ways to minimize those negative impacts by ensuring that state agencies and state laws don't interfere with our local communities and school districts efforts to provide needed services to people with disabilities. Many people don't realize that in Texas state funding for people with disabilities is augmented by county, municipal and philanthropic funding that is taken in and distributed by 39 community mental health/mental retardation (MHMR) centers. When state funding decreases or doesn't keep up with the growth in the demand for these services, it is our local MHMR centers, working within their communities, who must lead the fight to fill the gaps in services. I am personally dedicated to helping our MHMR centers do their jobs.

I also think we have an opportunity to use more respectful language in the way we refer to people with disabilities in our agencies and statutes and I intend to work with my peers to enact legislation this session that will make that happen.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Action: Support legislation to maintain current funding for state health services

Submitted by: Representative Roland Gutierrez

House District 119

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

“Thank you for your email and your recent visit to my Capitol office. I share your concerns on state health services and I will support legislation that maintains current funding for such programs. I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Action: Commitment to work to protect funding for children with disabilities

Submitted by: Representative Mike Villarreal

House District 123

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

“I have committed to fighting to protect funding for services for children with disabilities during the debate over the state budget shortfall next year [2011].”

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"