Disability Policy News August 12, 2019

August 12, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 31
Congressional Recess All Month

Members of Congress are in their home districts! Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress or invite them to visit your programs or centers.

Action Steps:

  • Reach out to both the district office and DC office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.
  • Learn more about a Recess from Liz.

Autism CARES

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization.

HR. 1058, which reauthorizes CARES for five years, passed the House on Wednesday July 24, 2019. S. 427 did not pass the Senate before adjourning for the August Recess. Your voices and advocacy over the next month before they return to Washington is critical!

Action Steps:

  • Sample Tweet: #AutismCARES provides critically needed research, #LEND training, and system improvement for families with #autism and related #disabilities. (Insert Twitter Handle of your Senator), support the passage of this important legislation before it expires Sept 30! @AUCDNews
  • Use the August Recess to your advantage and set up a meeting with your Senators who are not Co-Sponsors to talk about the importance of CARES in your state. Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress or invite them to visit your programs or centers. If you get a chance to meet with your member or their staff, here are some talking points:
  • CARES is critical to systems serving people with Autism in our state. Summarize and share this resource: CARES Act Summary
  • Educate on what a LEND is and its impact on service delivery and systems for people with Autism. Include a story about a trainee. Summarize and share this resource: How CARES impacts LEND Programs
  • LEND is one piece of systems change. There are three main aspects of CARES funding and programs. Share this resource: Programs and Activities Funded through CARES
  • Reauthorization and appropriation of funding is critical to continue to impact your constituents with autism and their families. Share this resource: LEND Appropriations

Community Living

The Administration for Community Living begins its advisory councils established by the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (SGRG) Act. The RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council is charged with providing recommendations on effective models of family caregiving and support to family caregivers, as well as improving coordination across federal government programs. The Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren will identify, coordinate, and promote information, resources, and best practices available to help grandparents and other older relatives meet the needs of the children in their care, while also maintaining their own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These recommendations will support the development and execution of a national family caregiving strategy. A complete list of council members can be found at ACL.gov/RAISE and ACL.gov/SGRG.

Deep Dive Series

With Congress on Recess, we will spend each week digging deeper into various topics that are of issue in the disability space.

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651, H.R. 1814) will raise the age from 26 to 46 for people with disabilities to have ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts.

ABLE accounts are designed to help individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses (like housing, transportation, personal support services, health care costs, etc). Right now, to open an account, an individual must have a disability that began before the individual turned 26.

Before ABLE: People with disabilities could not save money easily.

  • Having a disability comes with many costs.
  • Many individuals with disabilities depend on public benefit programs like Social Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
  • There are saving limits (no more than $2,000) by SSI, Medicaid, and other federal means-tested benefits programs.
  • Limited ability to save and work while receiving public benefits.

Passage of ABLE Act: People with disabilities could save money better.

  • Stephen J. Beck Achieving a Better Life Experience Act was signed into law in December 2014.
  • Allows each state to establish or partner with another state to offer a "qualified ABLE program" that would allow residents of their state to open ABLE accounts.
  • Makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to build savings and save for current and future expenses.

What are ABLE Accounts? Savings accounts so you can save and pay for what you need.

  • Ownership: Account is owned by individuals with disabilities that happen before age 26.
  • Independence: Opportunities for saving up to $100,000.
  • Tax Benefits: Earnings are tax-free on the state and federal level.
  • Freedom: Does not impact your benefit programs (SSI and Medicaid).

ABLE Today: There have been amendments to the first bill. An amendment is to add language to a bill that has already been written.

  • 2015 amendment: Allows individuals to sign up for any state plan; some states have partnered with other states to join together to provide ABLE plans.
  • 2017 amendment: Owners can move funds from 529 accounts to ABLE Accounts and gives amounts allowed to save per year based on employment status.
  • 2019 amendment: ABLE Age Adjustment Act is pending (15 co-sponsors in Senate, 36 co-sponsors in House).

Action Needed: Educate others about the importance of ABLE accounts.

  • In order for ABLE accounts to continue, about 390,000 funded accounts are needed by June 2021. Currently, there are only 17,000 open accounts.
  • Passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act will provide access to nearly 6 million more people with disabilities, helping ABLE accounts continue to happen.
  • Reach out to your members of Congress, sharing with them the importance of ABLE accounts and the need for this amendment.

Tuesdays with Liz: Jennifer Longdon on Gun Violence

Jennifer Longdon, a person with a disability as a result of gun violence, shares her perspective on guns.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News August 5, 2019

August 5, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 30
Congressional Recess All Month

Members of Congress are in their home districts! Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress, or invite them to visit your programs or centers.

Action Steps:

· – Reach out to both the district office and DC office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.

Autism CARES

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization.

HR. 1058, which reauthorizes CARES for five years, passed the House on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. CARES is currently being hotlined in the Senate — this means Senate Leadership is running a notice to both Democrats and Republicans to try to pass it by unanimous consent. We had hoped this would happen before the Senate adjourned for the August Recess. However, at least one Senator’s office has paused the process. Senate champions and constituent voices worked to clear the concerns, but the political realities meant the issues were not resolved in time.

Action Steps:

· – Thank the House members of your Congressional delegation. A thank you is a chance to build a relationship and to continue to educate them about what is important to you.

· Reach out to both of your Senators; share how important reauthorization is before the September 30th sunset.

· – Ask for support for passage upon their return in September.

Budget & Appropriations

The House and Senate passed a budget package which boosts government spending by $320 billion over the next two years. The package would suspend the debt limit through July 2021 and increase spending caps for the next two years. The United States would be on track to add an estimated $1.7 Trillion to the annual deficit over the next decade when compared with the billions in automatic spending cuts that would have kicked in as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Action Steps:

· – To understand the complexity of the budget process, refer back to our previous InBrief deep dive here.

· – Continue to educate your Congressional delegations about the importance of appropriations to the programs and services that impact you.

Healthcare

AUCD submitted public comments to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights about the proposed change to Section 1557 regarding Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities. A primary concern is that changes to Section 1557 would undermine or eliminate key protections of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) nondiscrimination provision from individuals – particularly people with disabilities – who have experienced discrimination in health care programs and settings.

Action Steps:

· – View our public comment letter here.

· – You are welcome to make comments as well using the following link.

· – Unsure how to make public comments? Use our friendly tool.

Diagnostic Criteria

AUCD submitted comments to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) strongly opposing a proposed change to the DSM-5 concerning the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disability (ID). The DSM-5 is a guide for clinicians to diagnosis people with a disability. If changed, it may result in a population of people underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed hindering their ability to access services that match their individual needs. In an attempt to clarify the current criteria for ID, the proposed revision creates greater concern around the understanding of intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior. It says – incorrectly – that adaptive functioning is a cause of intellectual functioning. We proposed a change to the DSM-5 that will direct clinicians more clearly in the diagnosis of intellectual disability, which could positively impact eligibility for supports and services.

Action Steps:

· – View our public comment letter here.

· – You are welcome to make comments as well using the following link.

· – Unsure how to make public comments? Use our friendly tool.

Administration

Mark Schultz from Nebraska was confirmed by the Senate at the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), an office that provides leadership and fiscal resources to assist state and other agencies to provide vocational rehabilitation (VR) and other services to individuals with disabilities. Prior to his role at the RSA Mr. Schultz was a Deputy Commissioner in the Nebraska Department of Education. He previously served as Nebraska’s Director of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Campaign 2020

Last week was the second round of the Democratic Debates. The Democratic National Committee is skipping August and the next debate takes place September 12 and September 13 in Houston at Texas Southern University – a public, historically black university – and will be hosted by ABC News and Univision. The DNC raised the threshold for candidates to qualify to participate, meaning the number of debaters on stage could shrink, setting up a six-week push for candidates to hit the needed benchmarks. To date, seven candidates – Biden, Harris, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Booker, and O’Rourke – have qualified. Klobuchar has qualified in polling, while Yang and Castro have both reached the donor threshold.

This week, we take a look at what Presidential candidates had to say on the recent anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Below are the public statements from those who made them. If you saw others we missed, please share them with us.

Candidate Current Office Post on ADA Anniversary
Donald Trump President www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-anniversary-americans-disabilities-act-2019/
Bernie Sanders Vermont Sen. "Today, as we commemorate the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must recommit to championing the rights of people with disabilities. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all people with disabilities have their rights protected. We must guarantee people with disabilities the right to live in the community; truly integrated employment that pays a living wage; affordable, accessible housing; and the right to health care, including mental health care and home and community based services and supports. Every person with a disability deserves the right to live in the community and have the services and supports they need to pursue the American Dream. This right must be available to all, free of waiting lists and means tests. It is our moral responsibility to make it happen."
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Sen. "On the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’m thinking about my first job out of college-teaching students with speech and learning disabilities at a public school. I saw the difficulties my kids faced navigating a world that wasn’t designed for them. That changed with the passage of the ADA-which came about thanks to activists and leaders in Congress like Rep. Major Owens. It not only helped dismantle prejudices about Americans with disabilities, it recognized their right to live, work, and love independently. The ADA is about civil rights, opportunity, and our values-but there’s more work to be done. As I celebrate the ADA today, I’m committing to continue the fight to protect these rights every step of the way."
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota Sen. "The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 29 years ago today, ensuring accessibility for all Americans and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. It changed millions of lives and we’re a better nation because of it."
Beto O’Rourke Former Texas Rep. "The ADA is a landmark law-but recently, it has been under attack. 29 years after its passage, let’s build a country where Americans with disabilities have full access to education, opportunity, and the workforce, are treated with dignity, and can live to their full potential."
Tim Ryan Ohio Rep. "As we celebrate #ADA29 we have to ensure people with disabilities have a seat at the table and help lead as we create NEW policies around climate change, livable wages, health and education."
Marianne Williamson Author "Today is the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I have found, visiting such places as the Center for the Blind & Opportunity Village (for the intellectually impaired) in Las Vegas, NV, that…" (link to longer Instagram post) (Ms. Williamson’ original post was edited after pushback from the disability community, removing any reference to Opportunity Village, a sheltered workshop in Las Vegas.)
Steve Bullock Montana Gov. "1 in 5 folks in this country have a disability. 29 years ago today, the ADA began to tear down the walls preventing them from the fair shot they deserve. As Governor, I fought for folks with disabilities to receive equal wages and work without discrimination – but we have a long way to go. On the anniversary of the ADA, we must all recommit to ensuring a fair shot for every American. As President, that’s exactly what I’ll do."
Joe Biden Former Vice President I’ve always been proud to have cosponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law 29 years ago. Thanks to the vision & persistence of @SenatorHarkin & many disability leaders, this bill was a critical step in the fight for equal rights for people with disabilities.
Kamala Harris California Sen. "Twenty-nine years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that every American lives in a fully inclusive and accessible society."
Cory Booker New Jersey Sen. "The ADA was signed 29 years ago today. We have more to do to ensure equality for Americans with disabilities who still face high poverty rates & barriers to health care & quality of life. As president, I’ll fight for equal rights & inclusion for people with disabilities."
Julian Castro Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary "For 29 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped defend the rights of disabled Americans. It is integral to building an inclusive, fair, and just nation and as president, I will defend and strengthen it. I’ve already proposed a start with my #PeopleFirst policies:

-Fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA)

-Reforming school discipline practices that punish students with disabilities

-Repealing the Trump admin’s discriminatory policies

As president, I would strengthen housing protections by:

-Defending disability protections

-Ensuring individuals with disabilities have priority for affordable housing

-Expanding Medicare to cover long-term support services My housing plan: (http://bit.ly/castro2020housing) As many as half of people killed by police are disabled. The system is not protecting disabled people — it’s broken, and we need to fix it. My #PeopleFirst Policing plan would address that directly. Finally, there’s so much more that needs to be done to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities, and I am committed to that cause. #ADA29 #PeopleFirst"

Kirsten Gillibrand New York Sen. "29 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act codified protections against discrimination based on disability. My presidency will advance this fight, including having disability community representation in my Cabinet. Let’s keep working to make our society accessible for all."
Andrew Yang Businessman "For 29 years Americans with disabilities have had a greater sense of dignity and respect. More work to be done but my family is thankful for the #ADA"

Tuesdays with Liz: What is a Congressional Recess?

Members of Congress are already filling up their calendars for the August recess, which lasts through Labor Day. Now is a good time to request meetings with them. Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress or invite them to visit your programs or centers.

Action Steps:

· – Reach out to both the district office and DC office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News July 29, 2019

July 29, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 29
Congressional Recess All Month

Members of Congress are already filling up their calendars for the August recess, which lasts through Labor Day. Now is a good time to request meetings with them. Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress or invite them to visit your programs or centers.

Action Steps:

  • Reach out to both the district office and DC office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.

Autism CARES

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization.

HR. 1058, which reauthorizes CARES for five years, passed the House on Wednesday July 24, 2019. The Senate could act as early as this week.

Action Steps:

  • Thank the House members of your Congressional delegation. A thank you is a chance to build a relationship and to continue to educate them about what is important to you. Use the August Recess to your advantage and set up a meeting with your members who are not Co-Sponsors to talk about the importance of CARES in your state. Invite them to your offices.
  • Reach out to both of your Senators and urge them to support a vote on CARES this week, before they leave for the August recess.

Budget & Appropriations

The House passed the package, which boosts government spending by $320 billion over the next two years, by a 284-149 vote. Sixty-five House Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), voted for the bill, while 16 Democrats voted against it. The package would suspend the debt limit through July 2021 and increase spending caps for the next two years. The United States would be on track to add an estimated $1.7 Trillion to the annual deficit over the next decade when compared with the billions in automatic spending cuts that would have kicked in as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act. The Senate is expected to consider this package this week before they leave for August.

Action Steps:

  • To understand the complexity of the budget process, refer back to our previous InBrief deep dive here.
  • Continue to educate your Congressional delegations about the importance of appropriations to the programs and services that impact you.

Healthcare

The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (HR 2035, S.995) passed the House last week. This bipartisan bill aims to strengthen coordinated respite services for family members who care for loved ones with disabilities and other chronic health conditions. The legislation, which Reps. Langevin (D-RI) and McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced in April, authorizes $200 million in funding over the next five years for the Lifespan Respite Care Program. It now moves on to the Senate.

Action Item

  • Reach out to your Representatives, thanking them for passage, and contact your Senators asking for co-sponsorship and for continued movement in the Senate.

The Senate joined the House and has passed the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R.3353). Notably this bill includes an extension of Money Follows the Person and Spousal Impoverishment protections through December 31, 2019, in addition to extending the Mental Health Excellence Act to September 13, 2019.

Action Item

  • Continue to educate your Congressional delegation about Money Follows the Person and Spousal Impoverishment protections and urge them to include long-term solutions in pending legislation. Members need to hear about how individuals and states are impacted by the lack of long-term certainty.

Administration

On July 18, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Eugene Scalia for Secretary of Labor. Scalia is currently a partner at the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm. He served as chief legal officer at the Department of Labor from 2002 to 2003. The Department of Labor is the agency responsible for the implementation of federal labor and employment laws, including those relating to wages and hours. Additionally, it includes the Office of Disability Employment Policy, which is a non-regulatory agency that promotes employment of people with disabilities.

Campaign 2020

This week is the second round of Democratic debates. The below charts include candidates’ positions on disability issues.

The first debate on Tuesday, July 30th, in Detroit will include:

Candidate Current Office Autism CARES Transformation to Competitive Employment ABLE Age Adjustment Disability Integration Act Video Response to survey on disability by NH Disability Rights Center
Bernie Sanders Vermont Sen. Co-sponsor
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Sen. Co-sponsor "Individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to reach their full potential in competitive and integrated employment settings, and they should receive fair wages for their work."
Pete Buttigieg Mayor South Bend, Indiana "I support repealing Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act."
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "I believe that the federal government must meet its commitment to fully fund the IDEA."
Beto O’Rourke Former Texas Rep. "We’ve seen how assistive/adaptive communications and information technologies, including the incorporation of Universal Design, has been a critical means of inclusion and access to public life, employment, and independence for people with disabilities."
John Hickenlooper Former Colorado Gov. "When I got elected Governor we had a long waiting list for people who have disabilities to get support from the government. We within three years got that waiting list down to zero."
Tim Ryan Ohio Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor
John Delaney Former Maryland Rep. "My universal health care plan includes a requirement for mental health parity to ensure that mental health needs receive the same care and attention as physical health needs."
Marianne Williamson Author "believes that increased access to broadband and information technology infrastructure all across the United States should be a priority for economic development and social well-being."
Steve Bullock Montana Gov.

The second debate on Wednesday, July 31st, in Detroit will include:

Candidate Current Office Autism CARES Transformation to Competitive Employment ABLE Age Adjustment Disability Integration Act Video Response to survey on disability by NH Disability Rights Center
Joe Biden Former Vice President
Kamala Harris California Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "Making sure people with disabilities get the assistive technology they need is key to building a more inclusive America, and we must pay attention to all the barriers they face to accessing them."
Cory Booker New Jersey Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "We cannot realize our full potential as a nation unless all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, are able to work with dignity, exercise their right to vote, and engage as equals in our society."
Julian Castro Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary
Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "I think it’s important as we look to our offices and my administration if elected president to make sure that we are upholding the rights of every American and welcoming those who may have different abilities and providing them and benefiting from their offer to serve this country."
Kirsten Gillibrand New York Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "The critical services of DSPs do not get enough attention. Direct Support Professionals would be covered under my national service plan for free college, helping to pay for training and an education."
Jay Inslee Washington Gov.
Michael Bennet Colorado Sen. Co-sponsor "As a former school superintendent, Michael believes IDEA is one of our country’s core civil rights laws."
Bill de Blasio New York Mayor
Andrew Yang Businessman "I support a repeal of the portions of the FLSA allowing for a subminimum wage to be paid based on disability."

Of the 25 major candidates in the race, five did not meet qualifications for this debate:

Candidate Current Office Autism CARES Transformation to Competitive Employment ABLE Age Adjustment Disability Integration Act Statements on Disability
Mike Gravel Former AK Sen.
Wayne Messam Mayor Miramar, Fla.
Seth Moulton Massachusetts Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor
Joe Sestak Former Rep of PA 7th congressional district
Tom Steyer Philanthropist

Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.
  • For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted in the chart. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.
  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links provided); use the sites to submit questions about disability policy. For example, "How will you be ensuring that your campaign fully includes people with disabilities and intentionally speaks to people with disabilities?"

Tuesdays with Liz: ABLE Act Policy Update

In this week’s ‘Tuesdays with Liz,’ Liz gives an update about proposed changes to the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act that have recently come out of Congress and tells you how you can get involved in advocating!

Learn more:

NAST Summary of sustainability for talking points: https://bit.ly/2kM8N9B

NAST Progress Report: https://tinyurl.com/y23gkhn8

ANRC for state specific information: https://bit.ly/2suHKDR

Liz’s first video on ABLE Accounts: https://youtu.be/siIBZIFUyDk

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News July 22, 2019

July 22, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 28
Autism CARES

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced (S. 427, HR. 1058). Currently 31 Senators and 159 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors. The full House Committee held a markup last week. You can watch the recording here. This Wednesday it will go to the floor of the House for a voice vote. This is the last week Congress will be in session before their August recess. Your members need to hear from you about how critical movement of this bipartisan effort is.

Action Steps:

  • Call your Representative and both Senators TODAY: (202) 224-3121:
  • If they are already a cosponsor, thank them and ask for their support to get the bill to the floor quickly. Tell your Representative that it is expected to come to floor of the House on Wednesday. Ask your Senators to get it to the Senate floor this week.
  • If they are not yet a cosponsor, ask them to join this bipartisan bill that has passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee with unanimous support.

Budget and Appropriations

The House and Senate continue negotiations on a budget. As of this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee has not marked up any of its fiscal 2020 spending bills. This means action will likely not occur before the August recess, leaving spending caps and debt ceiling negotiations to September 30th’s encroaching deadline of sequestration.

Action Steps:

  • To understand the complexity of the budget process, refer back to our previous InBrief deep dive here.

Education

There has been increasing engagement in the disability community around Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and guidance from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Visit here to read AUCD’s position statements on the importance of LRE for the rights of students with disabilities.

Employment

The Raise the Wage Act (HR 582) passed the House last week. It would increase the minimum wage for ALL people, including people with disabilities. If enacted, it would phase out Section 14c over six years. It is important to note that the Raise the Wage Act is unlikely to pass the Senate and become law. Use the passage of the bill by the House as a point of conversation to increase support of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which not only ends subminimum wages but provides funding to states and providers to expand capacity for competitive integrated employment.

Action Steps:

  • Reach out to your Senators and Representatives to share your experiences with employment for people with disabilities and the critical need to end Section 14c.

Campaign 2020

Get to know who is running on the Democratic ticket! These charts include candidates’ positions on disability issues. We will be updating these charts next week to get you ready for the upcoming debate. The candidates who qualify under Democratic National Committee rules will next meet in Detroit on July 30 and July 31. This week we dive into Former Vice President Joe Biden:

Joe Biden served as Vice President from 2009 to 2017. He also represented Delaware in the US Senate from 1973 to 2009. His campaign is running on the platform of rebuilding the middle class, foreign relations, and democratic process issues (campaign finance, voting rights, and gerrymandering). You can learn more about Joe Biden and the accessibility of his campaign here.

Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.
  • For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted in the chart. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.
  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links provided); use the sites to submit questions about disability policy. For example, "How will you be ensuring that your campaign fully includes people with disabilities and intentionally speaks to people with disabilities?

Tuesdays with Liz: What Does the ADA Mean To You? Happy ADA Anniversary!

Happy 29th ADA Anniversary! Liz asks her friends — all past interviewees on Tuesdays with Liz — what the Americans with Disabilities Act means to them. Below are links to their previous interviews:

  • Tawara Goode, National Center for Cultural Competence, Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, https://youtu.be/3cxgbJMXHLw
  • Deborah Spitalnik, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University, The Bogg Center on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), New Jersey’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND), https://youtu.be/zdDa8l8HcvE

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News July 15, 2019

July 15, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 27
Autism CARES

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced (S. 427, HR. 1058). Currently 28 Senators and 150 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a markup of Autism CARES in addition to an array of other expiring health programs. You can watch the recording of the markup here. During the markup an amendment offered by Rep. Eshoo to change the text to reflect the 2019 funding level for CARES research was agreed to by a voice vote. Next week, it will go before the full House Committee.

Action Steps:

  • The next two weeks are important for movement to meet the September 30th deadline. Share with your members how important reauthorization is to people in your state.
  • Reach out to your Senators and Representatives, thanking them for being co-sponsors or asking them to be a cosponsor, and for continued movement in the House and Senate.

Budget and Appropriations

The House and Senate continue to work on negotiations on a budget. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will work to finalize a deal that would raise the debt ceiling and set spending levels for the next two years before the August Recess.

Action Step:

  • To understand the complexity of the budget process, refer back to our previous InBrief deep dive here.

Higher Education

AUCD is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Higher Education Civil Rights Coalition. Civil Rights Principles for Higher Education: Policy recommendations to achieve equity and protect our civil rights have been developed to identify fundamental elements of a higher education system that advances equity and protects students’ civil rights.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your members of Congress to share with them these principles and the impact of equity and inclusion in higher education.
  • Share these principles amongst stakeholders at your university.

Healthcare

The Family-to-Family Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 2822) and the Supporting Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Act (S.1647) would extend funding for Family-to-Family programs for an additional five years, through federal FY 2024, at the current funding level of $6 million per year. On June 4, 2019, the E&C Health Subcommittee held a hearing on a number of health bills; a 4-year extension of the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers was included in an amendment tothe Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act (H.R. 2328). That amendment passed by a voice vote and the bill now moves to the full Committee.

The Territories Health Care Improvement Act (H.R. 3631), would provide for a temporary increase to the limit on Medicaid payments for territories of the United States and the Federal medical assistance percentage for the territories under the Medicaid program. The bill was favorably forwarded, without amendment, to the full Committee by a voice vote.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit, nongovernmental organization authorized by the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA)" to study how different medications and treatments compare, so patients and their caregivers have the information they need to choose the health care and treatment options that are best for them. PCORI is due to sunset (expire) September 30th. The Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act (H.R. 2328) now includes a provision to reauthorize PCORI for three years was forwarded to the full Committee by a voice vote.

Action Steps:

Campaign 2020

Get to know who is running on the Democratic ticket! These charts include candidates’ positions on disability issues. The candidates who qualify under Democratic National Committee rules will next meet in Detroit on July 30 and July 31. This week we dive into Senator Elizabeth Warren:

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was elected in 2012 to the Senate. She previously was a special education teacher, then spent the majority of her career practicing law, specializing in bankruptcy law. Since becoming a member of Congress, she has fought for policies to rebuild the middle class. She believes in universal childcare: "high-quality child care and early education shouldn’t be a privilege that’s only for the rich. I’m fighting to make high-quality child care from birth to school age free for millions of families and affordable for all." In a recent unscripted video, Warren responds to various disability issues. You can view here.

On current disability proposed legislation, Warren co-sponsors the Disability Integration Act. You can learn more about Elizabeth Warren and the accessibility of her campaign here.

Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.
  • For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted in the chart. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.
  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links provided); use the sites to submit questions about disability policy. For example, "How will you be ensuring that your campaign fully includes people with disabilities and intentionally speaks to people with disabilities?

Tuesdays with Liz: Voting

In celebration for National Disability Voter Registration Week Liz shares how to overcome voting barriers for people with disabilities. Watch the video and make sure you are registered. Additional information can be found on AUCD’s voting factsheet.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 26
Congressional Recess All Month

Members of Congress are already filling up their calendars for the August recess – which lasts through Labor Day – now is a good time to request meetings with them. Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress or invite them to visit your programs or centers.

Action Step:

  • Reach out to both the district office and D.C. office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.

Autism CARES Update

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced (S. 427, HR. 1058). Currently 25 Senators and 140 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors.

Action Steps:

  • Use the August Recess to your advantage and set up a meeting with your members who are not Co-Sponsors to talk about the importance of CARES in your state. Invite them to your offices.

International Disability

Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) introduced the Office of International Disability Rights Act (HR 3373) to establish a permanent Office on International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State and to appoint a Special Advisor. It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Action Step: Learn more from the US International Council on Disabilities.

Budget & Appropriations

With the House and Senate continuing not to hold negotiations on a budget and no movement after last week’s recess, we are taking this week to dive deeper into the budget and appropriations process. The federal budget process is complex and can be confusing. Time to think back to your fun and favorite government class!

There are 5 key steps in the federal budget process:

1. The President submits a budget request to Congress

2. The House and Senate pass budget resolutions (or spending guidelines)

3. House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees "mark up" appropriations bills

4. The House and Senate vote on appropriations bills and agree on differences

5. The President signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law

When the budget process is not complete by Oct. 1, Congress may pass a continuing resolution so that federal agencies continue to receive funding until the full budget is in place. A continuing resolution provides temporary funding for federal agencies until new appropriations bills become law. When Congress does not pass a continuing resolution by October 1, it can result in a government shutdown.

Why do we need a new budget deal?

In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA), which set overall discretionary spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending for ten years. These caps are highly restrictive, making it hard to finalize and pass appropriations legislation, though Congress has raised the caps above those levels mandated in the BCA, increasing overall spending levels. The last time this was done was two year ago for FY 2018 and FY 2019.

What happens if there is no deal to increase the budget caps?

If Congress and the President fail to reach a deal to increase the budget caps, the BCA included a policy called sequestration. This means automatic cuts to critical programs.

What happens next?

Congress and the President must agree on lifting the budget caps. In addition to reaching a budget deal, Congress will also need to raise the debt ceiling (the limit on how much the federal government can borrow) to prevent the U.S. Treasury from defaulting on their debt obligations. Fights between the budget and debt ceiling before the end of the fiscal year (September 30th) can lead to government shutdown.

Campaign 2020

Get to know who is running on the Democratic ticket! These charts include candidates’ positions on disability issues. The candidates who qualify under Democratic National Committee rules will next meet in Detroit on July 30 and July 31. This week we dive into Senator Cory Booker:

Cory Booker (D-NJ) was elected in 2006 as Newark’s mayor after serving time as a city council member. Elected to the Senate in 2013, Senate Booker has fought for criminal justice reform, expanding economic opportunity, and equal justice. In 2018, he helped to write and pass the First Step Act-a bipartisan bill that, for the first time in decades, makes meaningful reforms to our criminal justice system and begins to reverse the injustices of mass incarceration. "Cory believes in an economy that values American workers and benefits everyone, not just the privileged few. His baby bonds proposal, the American Opportunity Accounts Act, would virtually close the racial wealth gap by funding a federally-backed savings account for every child born in America that grows with them as they grow up, ensuring that all children born in this country are afforded the opportunity for upward mobility." He has an "Issues" section of his website dedicated to "Equality for People with Disabilities" stating "people with disabilities still face higher rates of poverty, are overrepresented in our criminal justice system, and must overcome other barriers to health care and quality of life." He states that he would work to ensure accessibility, equality, and opportunity for all people with disabilities by:

  • Breaking down barriers to accessing employment, transportation, housing, and health care with the Disability Integration Act.
  • Fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Raising wages for people with disabilities by phasing out the subminimum wage.

On current disability proposed legislation, Booker co-sponsors Autism CARES and the Disability Integration Act. You can learn more about Senator Cory Booker and the accessibility of his campaign here.

Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.
  • For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted in the chart. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.
  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links provided); use the sites to submit questions about disability policy. For example, "How will you be ensuring that your campaign fully includes people with disabilities and intentionally speaks to people with disabilities?

Tuesdays with Liz: Ivanova Smith Shares Her LEND Story

Ivanova Smith shares her experience with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs, which are funded through the Autism CARES Act. The Act is up for renewal by Congress and needs to be reauthorized or renewed by September 30, 2019, in order to continue to provide funding for programs like LEND. Join Ivanova and Liz in educating members of Congress about the importance of LEND and CARES.

Read more about:

-LENDs at https://bit.ly/2LjuihA

-LEND funding at https://bit.ly/2SVtqju

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News June 24, 2019

June 24, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 24
Autism CARES: Hearing Tomorrow!

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced (S. 427, HR. 1058). Currently 25 Senators and 124 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors. A hearing in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday June 25th, at 10 a.m. Amy Hewitt, UCEDD/LEND Director of the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota,will testify as a witnesson the benefits and impacts of Autism CARES.

Action Steps:

· Watch the Congressional hearing live here.

  • Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization. Check the House List and if your Representative has not yet co-sponsored call them and ask them to do so. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 (voice) or 202 224-3091 (TTY)
  • Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [City]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to support H.R: 1058."
  • Check the Senate List and if one or both of your Senators has not yet co-sponsored call them and ask them to do so. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 (voice) or 202 224-3091 (TTY)

· Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [City]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to support S.427."

Budget/Appropriations

The House continues to vote on amendments to HR 2740, the four-bill (DoD, Energy & Water, Labor/HHS/Education, State/Foreign Ops) appropriations "minibus." Following HR 2740, the House will next take up H.R. 3055 – the second FY20 "minibus" which will include another four bills – Commerce/Justice/Science, Agriculture, Mil Con/VA and the Transportation/HUD bills. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) will mark up the President’s $4.5B border supplemental request. SAC Chairman Richard Shelby also reiterated that the Senate will likely ‘deem’ a topline spending level for FY20 appropriations bills after lawmakers return from the July Fourth recess, unless a spending caps deal is struck before then.

Healthcare

Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (HR 3253) passed on June 18th, having been introduced by Congresswoman Dingell (D-MI) and Congressmen Guthrie (R-KY). It would provide for certain extension with respect to Medicaid programs under the Social Security Act. It would fund 4.5 years of Money Follows the Person (MFP) and Spousal Impoverishment Protections. The bill now moves to the Senate.

What This Means to You:

  • MFP has allowed people with disabilities to transition from institutions back into the community. There are currently 43 states and the District of Columbia participating in the MFP demonstration grants increasing the use of home and community-based services (HCBS).
  • People with disabilities receiving HCBSs could be at risk of losing Medicaid eligibility without spousal improvement protections – which allows for a spouse to keep a share of the couple’s income and assets to meet their needs without risking Medicaid eligibility.

Action Step:

  • Contact your Representative and thank them for supporting this bill.
  • Contact your Senators asking them to support this bill.

Education

The GAO issued a report on the underreporting of restraints and seclusions (RS) on a national level and aims to help prevent underreporting of RS in the upcoming 2017-2018 CRCD report before it publishes. Based on GAO’s performance audit, GAO offers four recommendations to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in order to make future RS data are more complete and accurate; the DOE agreed with all but the last recommendation and explained that the first recommendation would not be possible for the 2017-2018 school year, since most districts have already submitted their data. For more details on these recommendations, read the full report here.

Campaign 2020

This week begins the first Democratic debates. The charts below include candidates’ positions on disability issues.

The first debate on Wednesday, June 26, in Miami will include:

Candidate Current Office Autism CARES Transformation to Competitive Employment ABLE Age Adjustment Disability Integration Act Statements on Disability
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Sen. Co-sponsor "always stand up for the policies that help make that possible for Americans with disabilities."
Beto O’Rourke Former Texas Rep. "we must fight any attempt to weaken the ADA, including efforts to limit equal access to public places and businesses."
Cory Booker New Jersey Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "he has introduced and cosponsored several bills related to disability, a few of which have been enacted."
Julian Castro Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary "a champion of safe, accessible and affordable housing in the community for people with disabilities"
Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "she cares about all people with disabilities and campaigns with them in mind"
Jay Inslee Washington Gov. "has worked hard to make his state a better place for his constituents with disabilities"
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "While we’ve made progress in the nearly 30 years since the passage of the ADA, there is still work to be done to protect and expand the rights of Americans who live with disabilities and ensure they have equal opportunity to realize the American dream."
Bill de Blasio New York City Mayor "working on making New York ‘the most accessible city in the world.’"
John Delaney Former Maryland Rep. "neither introduced nor cosponsored any bills regarding disability that have been enacted into law. However, he did introduce and cosponsor several bills that would have been important for people with disabilities if they had been enacted."
Tim Ryan Ohio Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "advocates for mental health awareness and has supported the disability community"

The second debate on Thursday, June 27, in Miami, will include:

Candidate Current Office Autism CARES Transformation to Competitive Employment ABLE Age Adjustment Disability Integration Act Statements on Disability
Joe Biden Former Vice President "We need to rebuild the middle class, and this time make sure everybody-regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability-gets a fair shot."
Bernie Sanders Vermont Sen. Co-sponsor "believes we need a president who will champion expanding the rights of people with disabilities."
Pete Buttigieg Mayor South Bend, Indiana "commitment to hiring and campaigning to people with disabilities"
Kamala Harris California Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "I’m running to be president of the people, by the people and for ALL people"
Kirsten Gillibrand New York Sen. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "has pledged to have people with disabilities in her administration and in her Cabinet."
Michael Bennet Colorado Sen. Co-sponsor No statement identified.
Marianne Williamson Author "has a record of advocating for people battling life-threatening illnesses."
Eric Swalwell California Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "only 2020 presidential candidate calling for a massive investment in research and technology to cure and alleviate the diseases and disabilities that ail us"
Andrew Yang Businessman "platform includes several issues important to Americans with disabilities, and Andrew has publicly spoken about autism, in particular, because of his personal experience raising a child who is on the spectrum."
John Hickenlooper Former Colorado Gov. "Gov. Hickenlooper is a person with a disability with a proven record of fighting for the disability community."

Of the 23 major Democratic candidates in the race, three did not make the first debate:

Candidate Current Office Autism CARES Transformation to Competitive Employment ABLE Age Adjustment Disability Integration Act Statements on Disability
Steve Bullock Montana Gov. "from ongoing efforts to strengthen public schools instead of privatizing them to reimagining programs to better serve Montanans with disability in living the lives they choose and deserve"
Wayne Messam Mayor Miramar, Fla.
Seth Moulton Massachusetts Rep. Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor Co-sponsor "there are other populations of people with mental health disabilities, and he does not want people to forget about them."

Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.
  • For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted in the chart. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.
  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links provided); use the sites to submit questions about disability policy. For example, "How will you be ensuring that your campaign fully includes people with disabilities and intentionally speaks to people with disabilities?"

Tuesdays with Liz: Mara Keisling Talks Trans Rights https://youtu.be/FXeDrJ6jTlg

In recognition of Pride Month, Liz chats with Mara Keisling, founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, about the intersection between trans rights and disability rights. Visit https://transequality.org/ to learn more about the National Center for Transgender Equality.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News June 17, 2019

June 17, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 23
Autism CARES 2019: Push for movement before expiration

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (S. 427, HR. 1058). We are pushing hard for action before the July 4th recess to ensure reauthorization happens before expiration. Currently 25 Senators and 117 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization. Check the House List and if your Representative has not yet co-sponsored call them and ask them to do so. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 (voice) or 202 224-3091 (TTY)
  • Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [City]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R: 1058."
  • Check the Senate List and if one or both of your Senators has not yet co-sponsored call them and ask them to do so. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 (voice) or 202 224-3091 (TTY)
  • Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [City]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to support and co-sponsor S.427."
  • If you are in a district where your members are already co-sponsors, educate members of your social circle who live in other areas and ask them to call. Your story and ask can help others become engaged.

Assistive Technology

On June 13, Senator Casey (D-PA) introduced the Access to Free Speech for All Act (AFSFA) (S.1836) with Sen. Hassan (D-NH) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT) as original co-sponsors. This bill aims to make sure individuals get the communication devices and services they need. Teachers, services providers, allied health professionals, paraprofessionals and program managers and coordinators, as well as individuals themselves and family members all need to be aware of augmentative and alternative communication devices and services. The AFSFA would create three to five training, technical assistance and research centers in geographically diverse regions to increase the awareness of the needs for augmentative and alternative devices and services. The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and AUCD have been the leading proponents of a National Resource Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

What This Means to You:

  • Many of our members or their family members have lived experience as people with complex communication needs. Many others seek to support access to education, health care and work force participation that lead to self-determination, independence, productivity, and a healthy and satisfying quality of life as part of their professional lives.
  • The AFASA will address needs that AUCD and others in the disability community have been seeking to meet.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Senators about AFASA and the impact it would have on your state.
  • Encourage the organizations that you are personally and professionally a part of to endorse the bill.

Also on June 13, Senator Casey (D-PA) and Senator Collins (R-ME) introduced the 21st Century Assistive Technology Act (S. 1835). The bill increases funding for state assistive technology programs to provide for greater resources to rural regions and the increasing need among older individuals, and improved efforts to ensure access to assistive technology keeps pace with advances in technology.

What This Means to You:

  • People with disabilities who use or need AT are often served by their local AT programs.
  • Sixteen UCEDDs are grantees of the AT Act and all of our network members are engaged in assistive technology working closely with AT Act grantees.

Acton Step:

  • Contact your Senators about the AT Act and the impact it would have on your state.

Emergency Preparation

The Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion for Disasters Act (REAADI) (S. 1755, HR 3208) was introduced in the House and Senate on June 10, 2019, by Senator Casey (D-PA) and Congressman Langevin (D-RI). REAADI would establish a National Commission on Disability Rights and Disasters to study the needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults and others with access and functional needs throughout emergency preparation and planning, disaster response, recovery and mitigation. Additionally, it would provide financial support to develop and provide technical assistance and training to state and local emergency managers as well as disaster relief agencies.

The Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (DRMA) (S. 1754, HR 3215) was introduced in the House and Senate on June 10, 2019, by Senator Casey (D-PA) in the Senate and Congresswoman Shalala (D-FL) in the House. DRMA would ensure that individuals eligible for Medicaid who are forced to relocate due to a disaster are able to continue to access their Medicaid supported services.

Dr. Carol Salas Pagán from Puerto Rico’s University Center on Developmental Disabilities was a speaker for the press conference celebrating the introduction of these bills. She said, "In Puerto Rico, 48% of the population are under the poverty line; 22% of the population live with a disability; 30% of the population are age 65 or older. So, half of the population is in a vulnerable state during emergency disasters. This legislation which is inclusive of the territories could make the difference to ensure the well-being and the lives of American citizens who live in Puerto Rico in the event of future disasters."

What This Means to You:

  • Whether it is a hurricane, wildfire, flood or blizzard in your state, disaster events are disproportionately impacting older adults and people with disabilities – PWD are two to four times more likely to die or be injured in a disaster.
  • Right now the move from one’s home state to a host state as a result of a disaster can mean the loss of access to long-time services and supports through Medicaid.
  • Both bills will ensure people with disabilities and older adults will have full and equal access to disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

Action Step:

  • Contact both your Senators and Representative and ask them to support both bills.

Healthcare

Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (HR 3253) was introduced on June 13th, by Congresswoman Dingell (D-MI) and Congressmen Guthrie (R-KY). It would provide for certain extension with respect to Medicaid programs under the Social Security Act. It would fund 4.5 years of Money Follows the Person (MFP) and Spousal Impoverishment Protections.

What This Means to You:

  • MFP has allowed people with disabilities to transition from institutions back into the community. There are currently 43 states and the District of Columbia participating in the MFP demonstration grants increasing the use of home and community-based services (HCBS).
  • People with disabilities receiving HCSBs could be at risk of losing Medicaid eligibility without spousal improvement protections – which allows for a spouse to keep a share of the couple’s income and assets to meet their needs without risking Medicaid eligibility.

Action Step:

  • Contact your Representative and ask them to support this bill.

Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is hosting a national online dialogue which has been extended to June 21st to gather perspectives on Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. AUCD has joined the dialogue and posted organizational comments.

Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers who hold a certificate from the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to pay wages that are less than the federal minimum wage for the work being performed to workers who have disabilities.

To date the comments do not proportionally reflect the positive experiences people with disabilities are having with competitive integrated employment.

Action Step:

  • Share your thoughts via this site before June 21st or contact them via email at ePolicyWorks or call ODEP at 202-693-7880.
  • To guide you, a video tutorial explaining the process for submitting comments has been made by the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE). Please consider:
  • Sharing your individual stories about employment in all settings for people with disabilities.
  • Sharing your thoughts on supports needed to increase workforce participation of people with disabilities.
  • Sharing your experience as an employer.

Tuesdays with Liz: ‘Mondays with Martha’ Crossover Special 2

Liz is once again joined by Martha of ‘Mondays with Martha’ in this crossover special. They chat about how they view their own disabilities, and how they define disability and advocacy.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News March 18, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 11
Congressional Recess

This week (March 18-26) members of Congress will be in their home districts to connect with constituents like you. This is an important time to advocate locally on the issues you care about most.

Action Steps:

Use this Congressional recess to connect with your member of Congress face-to-face

· Ask for a constituent meeting

· Attend a public event

Budget

On Monday, March 11, President Trump released his budget proposal for federal fiscal year 2020 (which starts on October 1). The President’s budget proposal lays out the Administration’s funding priorities and values.

Action Steps:

Learn More:

Take Action:

Share your reactions to the proposed budget with your members of Congress. Share AUCD’s 2020 Budget ask related to investments that are critical to people with disabilities:

· LEND

· UCEDD

· PNS

Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427). Currently six Senators and 25 Representatives from 14 states and territories (FL, Guam, IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, PA, SC, VT, WY) have joined as co-sponsors.

Action Steps:

· Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization.

· Invite your Congress members to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement.

· Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.

· Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill’s reauthorization.

Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you."

Health Care

CMS released new guidance on how they will review and approve state applications for Medicaid work requirements, including templates for would-be applicants and instructions for evaluations. CMS already has approved Medicaid work requirements in seven states – Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin. Applications from eight other states are still pending.

D.C. District Court Judge James Boasberg heard oral arguments in two separate cases challenging the administration’s approval of programs in Kentucky and Arkansas requiring people to work or volunteer 80 hours a month to keep their coverage. Judge Boasberg previously blocked Kentucky from implementing similar rules.

The administration reapproved the Kentucky program in November after accepting more public comments, to show it was considering feedback. Those requirements will take effect April 1 if Judge Boasberg doesn’t block them. The judge said he aims to issue simultaneous rulings on both cases by the end of March.

Education

Media reports around the college admissions cheating scandal include allegations that families encouraged their children to fake a disability to get accommodations that would allow them to cheat on high stakes tests to gain college admission. The National Center for Learning Disabilities statement reflects the importance of not allowing the actions of a few families to harm students with disabilities who have a right to accommodations and the opportunity to obtain a college education.

Action Step:

House Democrats have called for hearings to examine the role of wealth in admissions.

  • Reach out to your Representatives and share the importance of ensuring access to accommodations for students with disabilities.

Campaign 2020

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

  • Beto O’Rourke (D), former Representative from Texas, announced on March 14th, 2019
  • Jay Inslee (D), Governor of Washington state, announced on February 28, 2019
  • Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. Senator from Vermont, announced on February 19, 201
  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 10, 2019

  • Cosponsor of the Autism Cares 2019
  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019

  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019 Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019

  • Co-sponsor of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act
  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on March 17, 2019

  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019 Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019

  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018

  • Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Steps:

Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.

· For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted above. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.

· Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Contacting the 116th United States Congress!

https://youtu.be/4KiYfKYSxt0

As you advocate for Autism CARES reauthorization, prepare to attend DPS, and engage in campaign 2020, review a classic TWL episode about sharing your voice for tips and inspiration.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

1.gif

Disability Policy News March 11, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 10
Budget

On Monday, March 11, President Trump will release his budget proposal for federal fiscal year 2020 (which starts on October 1). The President’s budget proposal lays out the Administration’s funding priorities and values. Media reports suggest that President Trump’s budget will propose deep cuts in domestic spending, an area of the budget known as non-defense discretionary spending. We won’t know the details of proposed cuts for specific programs right away, since the budget will be released in two parts (the second part is expected during the week of March 18). But on Monday, we will know the overall amount proposed for non-defense discretionary spending, and we’ll be able to compare that amount to previous levels of spending and national needs.

Action Steps:

Learn More:

Take Action:

  • Share your reactions to proposed cuts to non-defense discretionary spending with your members of Congress when the budget is released. Speak about the programs and investments that are critical to people with disabilities.

Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427). Currently six Senators and 21 Representatives from 14 states and territories (FL, Guam, IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, PA, SC, WY) have joined as co-sponsors.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization.
  • Invite your Congress members to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement.
  • Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.
  • Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill’s reauthorization.

Sample Script: "I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you."

ABLE Age Adjustment Act

Sen. Casey together with Sens. Moran, Van Hollen, and Roberts, reintroduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act(S. 651). The bill makes ABLE accounts available to anyone who has acquired a disability prior to their 46th birthday. ABLE savings accounts allow people with disabilities to save for disability expenses and long-term needs without risking many of their federal disability benefits, and are currently available only to those who acquire their disability prior to their 26th birthday, leaving out millions – including veterans – who would otherwise qualify.

Action Steps:

Learn more:

· Review information shared during Aging Committee hearing entitled, Supporting Economic Stability and Self-Sufficiency as Americans with Disabilities and their Families Age

· Visit the ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC)

· Watch a TWL about age expansion.

Take Action:

· Call your Senators: Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators to ask for their support and co-sponsorship.

Money Follows the Person

The Empower Care Act has been introduced in the Senate (S. 548) by Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) and in the House (H.R. 1342) by Congresspersons Guthrie (R-KY) and Dingell (D-MI). This bill would extend and improve the Money Follows the Person program (MFP) through 2023.

Action Steps:

· Learn more about the current bill and advocacy talking points.

· Ask your members to co-sponsor.

Disability Integration Act

The Disability Integration Act (DIA) (S.117 and HR. 555) was introduced on January 15th. This legislation would prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports. Advocates are pushing for passage by the House before July 26, 2019, the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are critical as co-sponsors of the Disability Integration Act (DIA) in order to achieve movement on this bill.

Additional resources:

· Fact sheets with talking points for both Democrats and Republicans

· Current list of House co-sponsors for the DIA

· Current list of Senate co-sponsors for the DIA

Action Step:

· Call your members of Congress: Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative.

Once connected, ask to speak with a staff member who handles civil rights and/or disability issues. Make sure you give them your name and identify that you are a constituent. Tell the staff member, "Please tell Representative [NAME] that I want them to co-sponsor the Disability Integration Act (H.R. 555) today!"

Disproportionality in Special Education

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on March 7, 2019, that the U.S. Department of Education had engaged in an ‘illegal delay’ of the Equity in IDEA regulations. The regulations were supposed to go into effect on July 1, 2018, and would have implemented the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements relating to significant racial disproportionality. The federal court’s ruling requires those 2016 final regulations to go into effect immediately. The decision comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against the Department by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), who were represented by the National Center for Youth Law. The suit alleged that the Department had taken actions that interfere with their obligation under the IDEA to ensure children with disabilities get the education services they need in the most appropriate setting without regard to their race.

Action Step:

· Connect with leaders in your state to begin the work of implementing this important rule.

Campaign 2020

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

· Jay Inslee (D), Governor of Washington state, announced on February 28, 2019

· Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. Senator from Vermont, announced on February 19, 2019

· Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 10, 2019

· Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019

· Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019

· Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019

· Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on January 15, 2019

· Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019

· Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019

· Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018

· John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Steps:

· Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Tuesdays with Liz: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month!

March is Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. Liz goes over what that means and the types of discrimination a person with a developmental disability can face.

Disability Policy News March 4, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

March 4, 2019

March 4, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 9
Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427). Currently, 14 members of Congress from only eight states and territories (FL, Guam, IN, MI, NJ, NY, PA, WY) have joined as co-sponsors.

Action Steps:

· Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization.

o Invite your Congress members to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement.

o Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.

· Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill’s reauthorization.
Sample Script: “I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you.”

Strategic Planning

The Request for Information period has closed for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) strategic planning. NICHD reports that staff will be analyzing the responses and convening small working groups to review and finalize the plan’s research themes as they near the final steps of the strategic planning process.

Money Follows the Person

The Empower Care Act was introduced last week in the Senate (S. 548) by Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) and in the House (H.R. 1342) by Congresspersons Guthrie (R-KY) and Dingell (D-MI). This bill would extend and improve the Money Follows the Person program (MFP) through 2023.

Action Steps:

· Learn more about the current bill and advocacy talking points.

· Join the national call-in day on Wednesday, March 6th, calling your members and asking for their support.

Health Care

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m., entitled “Strengthening Our Health Care System: Legislation to Lower Consumer Costs and Expand Access.” Planned topics include:

· Provide $10 billion per year for states to use for reinsurance funding to bring down premiums or for lowering out-of-pocket costs for consumers.

· Provide $100 million per year for navigators that help sign people up for coverage.

· Provide $200 million for states to set up state-run Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Action Steps:

· Reach out to your Representatives and share the needs of people with disabilities in our healthcare system.

Restraint and Seclusion

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint.” A video archive of the hearing, along with the full submitted testimony of each witness has been posted.

Action Steps:

· Review the testimony shared in the hearing.

· Reach out to your Congressional Delegation and ask them to join as co-sponsors of the soon-to-be-introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act.

Higher Education

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), outlined her priorities last Thursday for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act this year as she begins "good-faith negotiations" with HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and committee Republicans over a bill.

Action Step:

· Reach out to your Representative and both of your Senators and share your priorities for making sure the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act meets the needs of people with disabilities.

Campaign 2020

The Democratic National Committee announced plans for the party’s first two presidential primary debates. The first debate will take place in June and be sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo; the second will be held in July, hosted by CNN. Both debates could be held over two weeknights, with the field of candidates being randomly separated into two 10-person stages if necessary.

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

· Jay Inslee (D), Governor of Washington state, announced on February 28, 2019

· Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. Senator from Vermont, announced on February 19, 2019

· Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 10, 2019

· Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019

· Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019

· Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019

· Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on January 15, 2019

· Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019

· Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019

· Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018

· John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Steps:

· Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Autism CARES Act Reauthorization

Tune in as Liz goes over what the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act is and why it’s so important that Congress reauthorize it.

Learn more about the Autism CARES Act at https://bit.ly/2HaywVO

Educate Congress about the importance of CARES at https://bit.ly/2XyUmYS

Ask your congress members to co-sponsor CARES at https://bit.ly/2XyUmYS

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News February 25, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

February 25, 2019

February 25, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 8
Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427).

Action Steps:

· Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization.

· Invite your Congress members to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement.

· Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.

· Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill’s reauthorization.

Sample Script: I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you.

District Work Week

Congress returns to DC this week after its week-long recess, making this the ideal time to reach out to your Congressional delegation.

Action Steps:

· If your Representative or Senators had a public event in the district that was of interest to you, thank them.

· If your Representative or Senators made a public statement about an issue you are interested in while home, call them to follow up on what that means for policy that you care about.

Health Care

Secretary Alex Azar delivered his2019 State of the Department Addresson February 22nd. The Secretary’s remarks focused on efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, a package of drug pricing reforms, new health coverage options and a flurry of new moves from the CMS innovation center – the four priorities he’s stressed since taking the role.

Action Step:

· Contact your Congressional delegation and share how the policies of HHS are impacting your state.

Higher Education Act

House Education Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) announced a series of bipartisan hearings to mark the start of an effort to update the Higher Education Act. The hearings, which have yet to be scheduled, will focus on the cost of college, accountability, improving student outcomes, the role of community colleges, historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions, and "high-quality pathways" to a degree.

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are set to negotiate a higher education bill in their chamber. Alexander, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chair, has laid out his vision for a bill and says he wants to get it signed into law by the end of this year.

Restraint and Seclusion

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing at 10:15 a.m. on "Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint."

Action Steps:

· Reach out to your Congressional Delegation and ask them to join as co-sponsors of the soon to be introduced Keeping All Students Safe Act.

Campaign 2020

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

· Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. Senator from Vermont announced on February 19, 2019

· Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 10, 2019

· Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019

· Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019

· Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019

· Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on January 15, 2019

· Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019

· Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019

· Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018

· John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Steps:

· Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

·

Tuesdays with Liz: Shelly Christensen Talks Inclusion in the Jewish Community

In recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, Liz chats with Shelly Christensen about her new book, From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community, the intersection of Jewish and disability identities, and the importance of belonging and inclusion.

This video was produced in loving memory of Rabbi Lynn Landsberg.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News February 18, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

February 18, 2019

February 18, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 7
Budget

The seven-part FY 2019 omnibus funding bill was passed by the House and Senate on February 14 and signed by President Trump the next day. The Omnibus provides funding through the end of FY 2019 for Agriculture, Transportation-HUD, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, State and Foreign Ops, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Homeland Security, ending the risk of another government shutdown.

· Conference Report here.

· Division-by-division summary here.

Following the deal President Trump indicated that he would use an emergency order to fund a wall at the southern border.

Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need cosponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427).

Action Steps:

· Contact your Congressional Delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization.

· Invite your Congress members to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement.

· Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.

· Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill’s reauthorization.

Sample Script: I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you.

District Work Week

Congress is home for a week-long recess until February 24. This is a great time to speak directly with your Representative and Senators. Call their offices or visit their websites to find out where they will be. If they do not have public events scheduled, ask for a personal appointment. Your voice and story is needed to advocate and educate for critical bills including Autism CARES 2019.

Action Steps:

· If your Representative or Senators have co-sponsored Autism CARES, thank them and publicly share their support.

· If your Representative or Senators have not expressed a position, share what matters to you.

Health Care

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing- "Strengthening Our Health Care System: Legislation to Reverse ACA Sabotage and Ensure Pre-Existing Conditions Protections" – discussed several bills:

· H.R. 986, the "Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019," introduced by Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH), would require the Trump Administration to rescind the Section 1332 guidance of the ACA promulgated in October of 2018;

· H.R. 987, the "Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower Health Education Act of 2019" or the "MORE Health Education Act," introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), would restore outreach and enrollment funding to assist consumers in signing up for health care, which has been slashed by the Trump Administration;

· H.R. 1010, to provide that the rule entitled "Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance" shall have no force or effect, introduced by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), would reverse the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans, also known as short-term, limited-duration insurance plans (STLDI); and

· H.R. 1143, the "Educating Consumers on the Risks of Short-Term Plans Act of 2019," introduced by Chairwoman Eshoo (D-CA), would require STLDI to disclose the risks of STLDI to prospective consumers, including disclosure that STLDI may not cover preexisting conditions, may not cover the costs of medical services, and that coverage may be rescinded if the individual seeks treatment for a preexisting condition.

Administration

The Senate confirmed William Barr as Attorney General in a 54-45 vote on February 14th, with three Democrats (Alabama’s Doug Jones, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema) in favor of his confirmation and one Republican (Kentucky’s Rand Paul) opposed.

Campaign 2020

The Democratic National Committee announced plans for the party’s first two presidential primary debates. The first debate will take place in June and be sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo; the second will be held in July, hosted by CNN. Both debates could be held over two weeknights, with the field of candidates being randomly separated into two 10-person stages if necessary.

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

· Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 19, 2019

· Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019

· Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019

· Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019

· Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on January 15, 2019

· Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019

· Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019

· Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018

· John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Step:

· Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Culture and Diversity with Tawara Goode

Liz chats with Tawara Goode, director of the Georgetown UCEDD, about what culture and diversity mean, how culture influences perceptions and beliefs about disability, and cultural considerations in healthcare.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms

Disability Policy News February 11, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 6
Shutdown (and efforts to avoid another)

The bipartisan, bicameral Congressional conference committee – appointed to negotiate a border security compromise and avoid another partial government shutdown when funding for about one-fourth of the government expires on February 15 – continues to debate.

Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act – which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families – will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act were introduced on February 7th (HR. 1058, S. 427).

Action Steps

  • Invite your Congress members to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement.
  • Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.

Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill’s reauthorization. Sample Script: I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you.

  • Post your support to social media.

Tag your members of Congress. Tag us at @AUCDnews on twitter and @AUCDnetwork on Facebook. Include the hashtags #AutismCARES and #LEND.

Sample Twitter post: #AutismCARES provides critically needed research, #LEND professional training, and system improvement for families with #autism and related #disabilities. @RepXYZ @Senator1 @Senator2 – please reauthorize and support families! @AUCDnews

Employment

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (S.260 and H. 863) gained a new co-sponsor, Rep. DeSaulnier [D-CA-11]. The bill would assist employers providing employment under special certificates issued under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to transform their business and program models to support individuals with disabilities to transition to competitive integrated employment, and would phase out the use of 14(c) certificates. AUCD’s support for the bill can be found here.

Action Steps:

  • Educate your Congressional delegation about the bill and encourage advocates to ask members to co-sponsor this important legislation.

Education

Our partners at the Leadership Conference Education Fund, along with 14 civil rights and education groups, sent a letter to the education chiefs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, urging them to review their state accountability plans to protect the civil rights of children under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The letter urges states to make amendments to protect the civil rights of students and provide safeguards to ensure children have safe, healthy and inclusive schools.

Action Step:

  • Read the letter and connect with education leaders in your state to address the issues.

Race for 2020

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

· Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 19, 2019

· Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019

· Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019

· Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019

· Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on January 15, 2019

· Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019

· Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019

· Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018

· John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Steps:

  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All: Couples with Disabilities and the Marriage Penalty

Liz chats with Teresa Moore and John Britton, a couple who have been together for eighteen years and both have disabilities, about the risks that getting married carry for people with disabilities.

Disability Policy News February 4, 2019

Disability Policy News In Brief

February 4, 2019

February 4, 2019 | Vol. MMXIX, Issue 5
Shutdown (post-shutdown action and efforts to avoid another)

The bipartisan, bicameral Congressional conference committee appointed to negotiate a border security compromise met for the first time last week. The panel aims to craft a deal that will avoid another partial government shutdown when funding for about one-fourth of the government expires on February 15. It is expected that these issues will feature prominently in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

The House passed the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019 on January 30th. This is an effort to reinstate the cost of living raise – effective this month – that was frozen by the executive order President Donald Trump signed in December.

Employment

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (S.260 and H. 863) was introduced last week. The bill would assist employers providing employment under special certificates issued under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to transform their business and program models to support individuals with disabilities to transition to competitive integrated employment, and would phase out the use of 14 (c) certificates. AUCD’s support for the bill can be found here.

Action Steps:

Educate your Congressional delegation about the bill and encourage advocates to ask members to co-sponsor this important legislation.

· Send an educational letter

· Send an advocacy letter

Medicare for All (Universal Health Care)

There is growing energy in the Democratic caucus to consider transformative health care legislation. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) is reportedly gathering co-sponsors for her Medicare for All bill and plans an unveiling during the second week of February. It is anticipated that hearings will take place on the measure in the House Budget Committee. Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris threw her support behind a Medicare-for-All plan during a CNN forum on January 28th. It is important to note that this effort is unlikely to make progress in the Republican-controlled Senate and would not be supported by President Trump.

Action Step:

· Members need to hear about the critical needs of people with disabilities in health care. Now is the time to ensure that any transformative health care legislation includes long-term services and supports, access to treatment under the EPSDT Medicaid mandate and other critical services vital to people with disabilities. A health care system that works for people with disabilities is a system that will serve all Americans well.

Protecting the ACA

TheHouse Ways and Means Committee used its first hearing of the new Congress on January 29th to focus on pre-existing conditions, with members re-litigating the 2010 passage of ObamaCare and repeated GOP efforts to repeal it. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis), announced her cancer diagnosis at the hearing: "This is a cancer I will live with for the rest of my life, but, because of my high-quality healthcare and insurance coverage, it is not a cancer I will die from."

Drug Prices

Last week marked public positioning by the administration, Congressional leadership and key committees in both houses around drug pricing.

· HHS Secretary Alex Azar published an opinion piece in STAT about the need to lower drug prices.

· The House Oversight Committee held a full committee hearing on drug prices, including discussion of a proposal that would cut the exclusivity periods the government grants drug makers for their products.

· The Senate Finance Committee’s Full Committee Hearing on drug prices focused on "anti-competitive" drug company behavior and reforming Medicare’s prescription drug benefit.

While much of the discussion is retreading of policy concepts that academics, advocacy groups and lawmakers alike have previously detailed, the notable focus on the issue from all sides highlights the possibility for significant action during this Congress.

Action Step:

· Share your experiences and needs around medication cost, coverage and access with your Congressional delegation.

Policy Forum for Emerging Leaders

On Sunday evening immediately before the Disability Policy Seminar, AUCD is hosting a special Policy Forum for Emerging Leaders in a disability space. Attendees will have exclusive access to Hill staffers and former trainees now working in policy, and learn from the experts how best to craft your message for Wednesday’s Hill visits. An evening reception will provide a comfortable background for Emerging Leaders to meet and network with over 200 peers from around the country in the disability space.

Action Step:

· Plan to attend and register for this event.

Race for 2020

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) is the latest high profile candidate to enter the presidential race. The New York Times has created an interactive infographic to track which notable candidates have declared their candidacies.

Action Steps:

· All candidates need to hear from you about the importance of including disability as a primary policy consideration. If you are in a state where a candidate is from consider engaging with them and their campaign around disability policy. If you are in state that is receiving visits from candidates, attend events and raise critical issues around disability policy

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

You don’t have to be in D.C. to advocate! As Liz explains how you can advocate from wherever you are, Inky Brittany provides graphic facilitation of Liz’s advocating tips.

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD’s Glossary of Legislative Terms