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Bill seeks proof of rehab home compliance

Senate Health Committee expected to consider bill that would cause facilities to prove they meet certain licensing requirements.

A bill that would create more hurdles for drug and alcohol programs seeking licenses from the state is making its way through the California State Assembly. Assembly Bill 2903 would make recovery homes offer proof to the California Dept. of Alcohol and Drug Programs they meet local zoning, fire and business license requirements.

The bill, penned by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), was amended last week to take out a key provision that would have put additional restrictions on homes that house six or fewer recovering addicts. The original bill would have changed the status of rehabilitation homes that house six or fewer people if they belonged to a larger treatment facility, making such homes get licensed as part of the larger whole.

Current law places few restrictions on smaller rehabilitation homes, which are seen in the eyes of the law as the same as private residences where roommates or family members live together.

“They changed the bill’s focus, but it still does a couple of helpful things,” said Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff.

Newport Beach officials have been watching the bill’s progress as the city battles several legal challenges to a new ordinance aimed at curbing the spread of rehabilitation homes in the city, Kiff said.

The city has had problems in the past with rehabilitation homes that would obtain a state license to operate a larger recovery facility after telling city officials they intended to open a small home that housed six or fewer recovering addicts, Kiff said.

The bill would make the homes more accountable to city requirements for the homes, Kiff said.

The California Assn. of Addiction Recovery Resources contends the bill discriminates against recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, who are classified as disabled under federal law. Protection & Advocacy Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group for people with disabilities also has come out in opposition to the bill.

“PAI actively opposes efforts to restrict the ability of people with disabilities to live in their communities, including the ability to reside and receive treatment in group homes, treatment facilities and other licensed residential care facilities,” Protection & Advocacy Inc. wrote in a letter opposing the bill to Assembly members. “Such facilities are protected under the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability.”

The Senate Health Committee is expected to consider the bill in the next few weeks.
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source: http://www.dailypilot.com

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