Chief Sponsor: Jennifer Dailey-Provost

Senate Sponsor: Todd D. Weiler

6     Cosponsor:
7     Ryan D. Wilcox


10     General Description:
11          This bill creates a disability ombudsman program.
12     Highlighted Provisions:
13          This bill:
14          ▸     defines terms;
15          ▸     requires the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (division) to appoint a
16     disability ombudsman;
17          ▸     describes the powers and duties of the disability ombudsman;
18          ▸     requires the disability ombudsman to keep certain records confidential;
19          ▸     provides that the disability ombudsman is only required to testify in court regarding
20     confidential records under certain circumstances; and
21          ▸     requires the division to make administrative rules regarding certain duties of the
22     disability ombudsman.
23     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
24          This bill appropriates in fiscal year 2023:
25          ▸     to Department of Health and Human Services -- Long-Term Services and Supports
26     -- Services for People with Disabilities, as an ongoing appropriation:
27               •     from General Fund, $143,000.
28     Other Special Clauses:

29          None
30     Utah Code Sections Affected:
31     ENACTS:
32          62A-5-501, Utah Code Annotated 1953
33          62A-5-502, Utah Code Annotated 1953
34          62A-5-503, Utah Code Annotated 1953
35          62A-5-504, Utah Code Annotated 1953
36          62A-5-505, Utah Code Annotated 1953

38     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
39          Section 1. Section 62A-5-501 is enacted to read:
Part 5. Disability Ombudsman Program

41          62A-5-501. Definitions.
42          As used in this part:
43          (1) "Complainant" means a person who initiates a complaint.
44          (2) "Complaint" means a complaint initiated with the ombudsman identifying a person
45     who has violated the rights and privileges of an individual with a disability.
46          (3) "Ombudsman" means the ombudsman appointed in Section 62A-5-502.
47          (4) "Rights and privileges of an individual with a disability" means the rights and
48     privileges of an individual with a disability described in Subsections 62A-5b-103(1) through
49     (3).
50          Section 2. Section 62A-5-502 is enacted to read:
51          62A-5-502. Disability ombudsman -- Purpose -- Appointment -- Qualifications --
52     Staff.
53          (1) There is created within the division the position of disability ombudsman for the
54     purpose of promoting, advocating, and ensuring the rights and privileges of an individual with
55     a disability are upheld.
56          (2) The director shall appoint an ombudsman who has:

57          (a) recognized executive and administrative capacity; and
58          (b) experience in laws and policies regarding individuals with a disability.
59          (3) The ombudsman may hire staff as necessary to carry out the duties of the
60     ombudsman under this part.
61          Section 3. Section 62A-5-503 is enacted to read:
62          62A-5-503. Powers and duties of ombudsman.
63          The ombudsman shall:
64          (1) develop and maintain expertise in laws and policies governing the rights and
65     privileges of an individual with a disability;
66          (2) provide training and information to private citizens, civic groups, governmental
67     entities, and other interested parties across the state regarding:
68          (a) the role and duties of the ombudsman;
69          (b) the rights and privileges of an individual with a disability; and
70          (c) services available in the state to an individual with a disability;
71          (3) develop a website to provide the information described in Subsection (2) in a form
72     that is easily accessible;
73          (4) receive, process, and investigate complaints in accordance with this part;
74          (5) review periodically the procedures of state entities that serve individuals with a
75     disability;
76          (6) cooperate and coordinate with governmental entities and other organizations in the
77     community in exercising the duties under this section, including the long-term care
78     ombudsman program, created in Section 62A-3-203, and the child protection ombudsman,
79     appointed under Section 62A-4a-208, when there is overlap between the responsibilities of the
80     ombudsman and the long-term care ombudsman program or the child protection ombudsman;
81          (7) as appropriate, make recommendations to the division regarding rules to be made in
82     accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, that the
83     ombudsman considers necessary to carry out the ombudsman's duties under this part;
84          (8) submit annually, by July 1, to the Health and Human Services Interim Committee, a

85     report describing:
86          (a) the work of the ombudsman; and
87          (b) any recommendations for statutory changes to improve the effectiveness of the
88     ombudsman in performing the duties under this section; and
89          (9) perform other duties required by law.
90          Section 4. Section 62A-5-504 is enacted to read:
91          62A-5-504. Investigation of complaints -- Procedures -- Rulemaking.
92          (1) Except as provided in Subsection (3), the ombudsman shall, upon receipt of a
93     complaint, investigate the complaint.
94          (2) An ombudsman's investigation of a complaint may include:
95          (a) a referral to a governmental entity or other services;
96          (b) the collection of facts, information, or documentation;
97          (c) holding an investigatory hearing; or
98          (d) an inspection of the premises of the person named in the complaint.
99          (3) (a) The ombudsman may decline to investigate a complaint.
100          (b) If the ombudsman declines to investigate a complaint, the ombudsman shall notify
101     the complainant and the division of the declination.
102          (4) The division shall make rules, in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah
103     Administrative Rulemaking Act, that govern the ombudsman's process for:
104          (a) receiving and processing complaints; and
105          (b) conducting an investigation in accordance with this section.
106          Section 5. Section 62A-5-505 is enacted to read:
107          62A-5-505. Confidentiality of materials relating to complaints or investigations --
108     Rulemaking.
109          (1) The division shall establish procedures by rule made in accordance with Title 63G,
110     Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, to ensure that a record maintained by the
111     ombudsman is disclosed only at the discretion of and under the authority of the ombudsman.
112          (2) The identity of a complainant or a party named in the complaint may not be

113     disclosed by the ombudsman unless:
114          (a) the complainant or a legal representative of the complainant consents to the
115     disclosure;
116          (b) disclosure is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction; or
117          (c) the disclosure is approved by the ombudsman and is made, as part of an
118     investigation involving the complainant, to an agency or entity in the community that:
119          (i) has statutory responsibility for the complainant, over the action alleged in the
120     complaint, or another party named in the complaint;
121          (ii) is able to assist the ombudsman to achieve resolution of the complaint; or
122          (iii) is able to provide expertise that would benefit the complainant.
123          (3) Neither the ombudsman nor the ombudsman's designee may be required to testify in
124     court with respect to confidential matters, except as the court finds necessary to enforce this
125     part.
126          Section 6. Appropriation.
127          The following sums of money are appropriated for the fiscal year beginning July 1,
128     2022, and ending June 30, 2023. These are additions to amounts previously appropriated for
129     fiscal year 2023. Under the terms and conditions of Title 63J, Chapter 1, Budgetary Procedures
130     Act, the Legislature appropriates the following sums of money from the funds or accounts
131     indicated for the use and support of the government of the state of Utah.
132     ITEM 1
133          To Department of Health and Human Services -- Long-Term Services and Supports
134               From General Fund

135               Schedule of Programs:
136                    Services for People with Disabilities          $143,000
137          The Legislature intends that the appropriations under this item be used for the disability
138     ombudsman program described in Title 62A, Chapter 5, Part 5, Disability Ombudsman
139     Program.