Legislative Work

Advocacy

The Council is federally mandated under the Developmental Assistance and Bill of Rights to advocate for public policy change and community acceptance of all people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The Council provides advocacy information to self-advocates, family members and organizations throughout the year. This hands-on learning experience is an opportunity for elected officials to meet children and adults with disabilities, family members and personnel working in the field of developmental disabilities. Please contact our offices for more information: 307-777-7230.

Voting

In a democracy, citizens have the opportunity to vote on important issues and elect politicians and representatives. ... When more people vote, they increase the chance that the issues that are important to them are taken seriously. If a minority votes, there is a risk that their preferences do not represent the majority. This is an especially significant point for people in the disability community because you have the right to many different accommodations, and it is important to have your voice heard!

Take a look at this handy information page on voting! Voting Handout

WGCDD Legislative Briefing 2020

The Council's 2020 Legislative Briefing is a way we inform policymakers on activities and issues affecting the developmental disability community at the national, state and local levels during the legislative session each year. You can view a copy of the briefing here, or if you would like a hard copy, please email a request to our Policy Analyst at: aleyta.zimmerman@wyo.gov

WGCDD Legislative Update 2020

During the legislative Session the council provides a state legislative update on issues that may have an impact on the disability community. Please see the bills below. This document is updated daily throughout the Legislative Session. The 2020 legislative session begins February 10, 2020. Click here to be taken to the State Legislative page.

The Capitol is open for public tours Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00 pm. Click here for a link to the tour booklet.

Would you like to attend a legislative session? View the guidebook on how to do it here!



Wyoming Legislation to Watch 2020

The 2020 Budget Session will commence February 10, 2020. Below are the current bills to review that could impact the disability community.

Updated 2/19/2020. For a full list of bills, please visit https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2020

2020 bills in progress.xlsx

National News


In the News: March 23, 2020

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020- Became Law on March 6, 2020

The bill requires that agencies "pay back" money that was moved from programs like NIDILRR and emergency heat funding to start to respond to the crisis


Families First Coronavirus Response Act-Became law on March 19, 2020

Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. Increased paid leave. Enhanced Unemployment Insurance to people unable to work. Increased funding for food security programs. Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs.


Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

( S. 3548)

Negotiations ongoing as of Monday morning, March 23rd

$1200 checks to people in certain tax brackets. Major small and large business subsidies. Directs the Secretary of Education to come back in 30 days with a list of waivers needed for Congress to provide under IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Gives the Secretary of Education broad waiver authority over the HEA, ESEA and Perkins.


Additional proposed legislation to address the needs of people with disabilities that should be considered and included in Phase 3 or 4 packages:

  • H.R.6275 - To support children and students in responding to safety and health risks presented by qualifying emergencies
  • S. 3517 - A bill to increase the ability of nursing facilities to access to telehealth services and obtain technologies to allow virtual visits during the public health emergency relating to an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and for other purposes
  • S.3513 the PAID Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act) would fill the gaps left by the paid sick days and paid leave provisions in the Families First Act and would create permanent paid sick days and paid leave programs
  • S. 3536 - A bill to provide for special enrollment periods during public health emergencies, coverage of services related to public health emergencies
  • S.3544 -A bill to assist older Americans and people with disabilities affected by COVID-19
  • H.R.6305 -To assist older Americans and people with disabilities affected by COVID-19 (a companion bill to S. 3544)
  • S.3497 -A bill to provide unemployment assistance to individuals affected by COVID-19
  • S.3489 - Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act to support students, teachers, and other school staff as the spread of coronavirus continues to cause school closures across the country

The above proposed legislation includes many of the needs of people with disabilities such as:

- Funding for HCBS services

- Funding and flexibility to support Direct Support Professional (DSPs)

- Funding for and protection of IDEA instruction related services

- Flexibility for prescription drug refills

- Twenty percent increases in SSI/SSDI payment through the emergency public health period

- Increase in SNAP and Meals on Wheels funding and expansion of eligibility to include people with disabilities

Plain Language:

· The government is spending emergency money to deal with a new virus. This is called a pandemic, which means a disease that has spread across the world. Lots of these bills do not include the needs of people with disabilities.

What this means to you:

- More than 105 million Americans-or about 4 in 10 adults-are at heightened risk if infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions. The front-line workers and family caregivers who support these individuals also face increased risks, requiring additional resources and supports to protect their health and well-being.

Administrative Action

The Executive branch is using its powers to respond to the growing impacts on people and the economy during COVID-19. Many of these policy changes do not require Congressional approval. Here is what has been done so far:

· Extending the April 15th tax filing date to July 15th

· Allocating medical resources

· Student loan relief

· Exchange Stabilization Fund



Campaign 2020

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 is the United States Presidential Election.

Both Republican former Governor Bill Weld of Massachusetts and Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard dropped out of the 2020 Democratic Presidential race. The race narrows as state primaries are being delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Stay up to date with the current candidates and where they stand on disability policy:

Click on the candidates name below to see their campaign information.

Republican (updated 3/23/20)


Democrat (updated 3/23/20)



Presidential candidates have been releasing various policy plans that impact the disability community. Some have specific disability plans, while others have disability embedded throughout other plans. Click on the links below to read each candidate's plan.


Democratic Candidates:


Republican Candidates:


Voting

Plain Language:

  • Make sure you can vote in this year's election and get ready for it.

What this means to you:

  • The power of the disability vote is HUGE and your voice and vote will make an impact.

Action steps:



How could a federal shutdown affect people with disabilities?


The link below will take you to the Social Security Administration's contingency plan for a shutdown:

https://www.ssa.gov/agency/shutdown/materials/contingency-plan-09-25-18.pdf


This link will show how Food Stamps could be affected in a shutdown:

https://www.freshebt.com/government-shutdown-ebt-food-stamp-benefits/


This link will show how housing assistance could be affected by a shutdown:

https://affordablehousingonline.com/shutdown


This link will show how the mail could be affected by a shutdown:

https://www.elitedaily.com/p/what-happens-to-the-mail-in-a-government-shutdown-heres-what-it-could-mean-for-holiday-packages-15543900


Here is a link to the IRS contingency plan and an article explaining how a shutdown could affect your tax return:

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/266/IRS-Lapse-in-Appropriations-Contingency-Plan_Filing-Season_2019-01-15.pdf

https://www.libertytax.com/tax-lounge/what-does-a-government-shutdown-mean-for-your-taxes/


Here are two links specific to how a government shutdown could affect Wyoming:

Casper Star Tribune Article:

https://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/the-federal-government-shutdown-s-impacts-on-wyoming/collection_3e5dd5f9-9094-5f4c-a8c1-801ec7d45d7d.html


Wyoming Public Media:

https://www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/term/government-shutdown#stream/0