March 29, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Allie Shinn, Director of External Relations, ACLU of Okla., email@example.com, 405-525-3831
Gary Taylor, Legal Director, ODLC, firstname.lastname@example.org, 405-436-8211
Oklahoma City, OK – Following the State of Oklahoma’s passage of supplemental funding to avoid its threatened termination of community disability services, the federal district court dismissed Anderson v. Lake, the case challenging the termination. The Oklahoma Disability Law Center and the ACLU of Oklahoma, representing the plaintiffs in the case, commend state officials for taking the necessary steps to at least delay termination of critical waiver services for thousands of Oklahomans with disabilities, but note that the state has far to go to remedy its discrimination against people with disabilities.
On March 26, 2018, Judge Heaton issued an Order dismissing the case stating, “The harm which plaintiffs sought to avoid — the termination of waiver services — has now been avoided . . .”
“We are pleased to be able to tell our clients our litigation resulted in the State’s commitment to maintaining these vital waiver services,” said Gary Taylor, Legal Director for the Oklahoma Disability Law Center. “Our clients are relieved to know they are no longer at immediate risk of unnecessary institutionalization.”
However, massive challenges remain, such as the State’s failure to secure alternative services or comply with larger mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“The State’s motion to dismiss affirmed the State’s commitment not to terminate waiver services during the current fiscal year,” said Brady Henderson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Oklahoma. “However, the State must do far more to avoid continuing litigation to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
“The State must also make a genuine, competent effort to implement the State’s Olmstead Plan. This plan is a roadmap for respecting the rights of people with disabilities, but it currently sits on a shelf collecting dust while the promises within it go unfulfilled,” said Amy Gioletti, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Oklahoma.
Both organizations will be continuing the fight to remedy the state’s failure to fulfill its obligations to ensure equality for Oklahomans with disabilities. According to Taylor, “ODLC and ACLU of Oklahoma remain committed to protecting the rights of Oklahomans with disabilities as long as those rights are threatened by the State of Oklahoma.”