MoDE's Legislative Work
MoDE supports the priorities of MoDE Foundation by promoting legislative and policy change. As a separate 501(c)4 non-profit, it has the ability to advocate for new laws. Since its formation in 2018, MoDE has lead the efforts to get three pieces of legislation passed which impact individuals with disabilities. MoDE has a registered lobbyist, the mother of a child with disabilities, representing its interests in Jefferson City. Every week during legislative session, MoDE volunteers advocate at the capitol.
MoDE's Legislative Efforts
MoDE has passed three pieces of legislation, as well as worked to make sure students in MO schools receiving speech or language therapy are served by certified SLPs or SLP-As. MoDE is currently preparing for the 2022 legislative session, where it will be leading the efforts to get two special education bills passed.
In addition to working on specific legislation, MoDE has conversations with legislators about bills and how they will positively or negatively impact those with disabilities. MoDE is the only organization representing children with disabilities in regards to public special education in Jefferson City.
2022 Legislative Priorities
Burden of Proof
If a parent or guardian has a concern with their student's IEP and cannot come to an agreement with the school district, the parent or guardian can enter due process. In Missouri, the parent or guardian has the obligation to prove that FAPE (free and appropriate public education) has not been met during due process. Many states have passed laws which place the burden of proof on the school district, not the parents. By early fall, more information will be available about this legislative priority which would help hold schools accountable for providing FAPE.
In Missouri, a parent or guardian must give consent with a signature for a student's initial IEP to go into effect. After that, no parental consent is required for an IEP. A parent may not agree with an IEP team's decisions and refuse to sign the document; the IEP still goes into effect in 10 days. A parent or guardian must file due process to stop the changes from happening. Many states have passed parental consent laws or have parental consent policies, requiring parents or guardians to agree with IEP changes for them to go into effect. By early fall, more information will be available about this legislative priority which promotes collaboration during the IEP process.
Successful Legislative and Advocacy Efforts
Therapy for All was signed into law on July 11, 2019. It expanded the existing Autism Insurance Mandate to include children with any disability.
Recording IEPs legislation passed in May 2021 and waiting for the governor's signature.
Seclusion & Restraint legislation passed in May 2021 and waiting for the governor's signature.
DESE's new Speech Implementer policy will go into effect beginning the 2022-23 school year.