[nfbmi-talk] from mpas winter 2010 newsletter

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Tue Dec 14 23:34:32 UTC 2010

>From Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services Newsletter at:





Agency will File Lawsuit Against State if Services are cut to People with Disabilities


Agency will File Lawsuit Against State if Services are cut to People with Disabilities


Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service (MPAS) is pulling together the agency’s legal talent needed to consider filing a Constitutional Challenge against

the state of Michigan if the state legislature and governor move forward with the anticipated massive cuts in services to people with disabilities.


Elmer Cerano, executive director of the nonprofit agency stated, “In our frequent and intensive visits with State officials the answer is always the same,

‘we have no money.’ Of course we recognize the very real fiscal crisis facing the state; however, we take very seriously the promises of Michigan’s Constitution,

Article 8, Section 8, which provides:


“Institutions, programs and services for the care, treatment, education, or rehabilitation of those inhabitants who are physically, mentally or otherwise

seriously disabled shall always be fostered and supported.”


Cerano has directed the agency’s legal team to investigate the feasibility of bringing a Constitutional Challenge against the state for its failure to meet

this constitutional requirement. “We will be carefully monitoring the impact of the budget cuts on the lives of people with disabilities,” he says.


 Mark Cody, the organization’s legal director stated, “Further reductions in General Fund appropriations for mental health services will place the most

vulnerable of Michigan’s citizens at risk. The state of Michigan is, or may soon be, in violation of the Michigan Constitution by failing to adequately

fund services for individuals who are physically, mentally or otherwise seriously disabled.”


Cerano added, “Until now, we have been hesitant to pull the ‘Constitutional Trigger’ because during previous budget cuts, the state held harmless many of

the essential services needed by people with disabilities. Although we can be as understanding as the next guy related to the fiscal crisis facing Michigan,

people with disabilities cannot be expected to solve the state’s economic woes. We have seen the scenario played out far too often where people with disabilities,

especially those with mental illness, are denied the essential services they need. Without medications, treatment and essential community supports, their

conditions decompensate, they get in trouble with law enforcement, and they are jailed or imprisoned.”


The scenario mentioned ends up costing the Michigan taxpayer more money, and the person in need of mental health services ends up punished for their illness

and for not having the appropriate services provided when needed.


“This is just expensive, penny-wise, pound-foolish nonsense!” says Cerano.

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