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 2019

The Council's 2019 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 2019

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 2019 legislative session starts January 08, 2019.


National News


In the News: September 3, 2019

This is the last week of recess for congress, resuming Sept 6, 2019.


ABLE Age Adjustment Act

This bill increases from 26 to 46 the age threshold for tax-favored ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts. (ABLE accounts are designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses. To establish an account, an individual must have a qualifying impairment that began before the individual attained the age threshold.)

(S. 651, H.R. 1814)

  • 2019 amendment: ABLE Age Adjustment Act is pending (15 co-sponsors in Senate, 36 co-sponsors in House).


Autism CARES Act

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!


Transportation

The Department of Transportation published in the federal register its final statement of enforcement priorities regarding service animals. The statement governs what DOT will and won't enforce until it can finalize the revision of its service animal regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act. The notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to come out at the end of 2019.


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.


Medicare for All

Congress and many people running for president are talking about Medicare for All. This is a relatively new health care idea. Right now, there are many different plans and none of them will likely become law because Republicans and Democrats do not agree.

Definitions

Republicans and Democrats: Two groups of people that have different views on how to run the county

Congress: People who make laws for our country

Health insurance: A plan to protect you from having to spend all your money on medical care

Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS): Getting help that you want and need for as long as you need

Private insurance: Health insurance paid for by the person through an employer, or just by the person

Public insurance: Health insurance paid for by the government

History of Medicare and Medicaid

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid. Over the years, Congress has made changes to Medicare and Medicaid, so more people are able to receive health coverage. Medicare was created when people over 65 found it difficult to get health insurance. Medicaid was to provide health coverage for poor people and disabled people.

What are the GOALS of Medicare for All?

Universal coverage is the goal, meaning everyone has healthcare that is affordable and accessible. Proposed plans should include ALL people. The current Medicare does not pay for long-term services and supports, hearing, dental, vision or foot care – Medicare for All could change that.

What are the COSTS?

It’s important to know the costs of your health insurance. How much is your employer spending? How much is the government spending? How much are you spending? People pay money for healthcare every month. Medicare for All plans have different ways of paying for the ideas – through more taxes or through individuals paying more, or both.

What are the ideas for Medicare for ALL?

The Medicare for All ideas are different. Some make big changes. Some make little changes. Some would cover all and some will let people have Medicare and keep a private insurance. Words you might be hearing:

  • Ben is confused with all the different ways his doctor and hospital bills are paid for. He wants one way to pay for all his care. This is called a “single-payer” systemwhen the government would be in charge of paying for all health care.
  • Dawn does not have a job, so she has no health insurance. She needs to see a doctor and wants to be able to buy health insurance that she can afford. Dawn is looking for a “public option” which would give her the choice to buy health coverage that is run by the government.
  • John needs to see a doctor and dentist every six months and needs daily care from a personal care assistant to get him ready for the day. John needs comprehensive coverage which means health care for whatever the person needs. Whatever care a person needs—medical, dental, mental, vision, reproductive, long-term, and more—would be covered.
  • Sara has a disability that makes her need to take medicine every day for her heart. Sara has to spend lots of her own money to buy her medicine. Her insurance company does not pay for her medicine because she has a pre-existing condition. This is a medical condition that started before a person had healthcare insurance.

Questions to Ask

Important questions to ask are: Would you eliminate Medicaid? If you would, what is the role of states in healthcare? Why would your plan be better than Medicaid is today? Will Medicare for All cover the needs of all, including people with disabilities?

Learn more about current proposals:

Kind of Plan

Bills Introduced

Medicare-for-All: a single national health insurance program for all U.S. residents

H.R.1384 Medicare for All Act of 2019 byRep. Jayapal (Hearing, House Rules Committee 4/30)

S.1129 Medicare for All Act of 2019 by Sen. Sanders

Public Plan Option, based on Medicare, offered through the ACA Marketplace

S.3 Keeping Health Insurance Affordable Act of 2019 by Sen. Cardin

S.981 H.R. 2000 Medicare-X Choice Act of 2019 by Sen. Bennet and Sen. Kaine, S. 981 and Rep. Delgado, H.R.2000

The CHOICE Act by Rep. Schakowsky, H.R. 2085 and Sen. Whitehouse, S. 1033

A Medicare buy-in option for older individuals not yet eligible for the current Medicare program

Medicare at 50 Act by Sen. Stabenow, S. 470

Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act of 2019 by Rep. Higgins,H.R. 1346

A Medicaid buy-in option that states can elect to offer to individuals through the ACA marketplace

State Public Option Act by Sen. Schatz, S. 489 and Rep. Luján, H.R. 1277

Plan to prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s pre-existing conditions

S.1125 Protect Act by Sen Tillis

H.R.692 Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2019 by Rep Walden

Campaign 2020

Former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh has joined the race for the Republican nomination.

Declared Republican Candidates:

Donald Trump www.donaldjtrump.com

Bill Weld www.weld2020.org

Joe Walsh www.joewalsh.org

The race continues to qualify for the September Democratic Debate which as of now includes:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Businessman Andrew Yang

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has dropped out of the race, along with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (who announced his campaign for Senator), California Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton.

Get to know who is running on the Democratic ticket! These charts include candidates' positions on disability issues.

Democrats

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





5-14-19 AUCD budget chart.pdf

Wyoming Legislation to Watch 2019

The 2019 General Session has ended. Below are the final outcomes on the legislative bills that could be impactful in the disability community.

Updated 2/27/2019. For a full list of bills, please visit https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019.

2019 Legislative Bills in progress (1).xlsx