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 Update 2022

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 2022 legislative budget session begins February 14, 2022. 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.



Wyoming Legislation to Watch 2022

The council will review bills during the 67th Legislative Budget Session that could have an impact in the disability community.

For a full list of bills, please visit https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2022


Interim Committee meetings calendar can be found here: https://wyoleg.gov/Calendar/20211201/Meeting


Redistricting information can be found here:

https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislature/LegislatureAbout?tab=3


An Article from Cowboy State Daily News Regarding Reasonable Accommodations Bill: https://cowboystatedaily.com/2022/02/15/house-introduces-bill-requiring-reasonable-accommodation-for-unvaccinated-workers/



Attending a Legislative Meeting

General protocols for attending an in-person committee meeting

  • Do not attend a committee meeting in person if you are sick, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or are under a quarantine or isolation order due to a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 or close contact exposure to COVID-19. To the extent possible, maintain a minimum of six feet between others attending the meeting at all times.

  • If you attend a committee meeting in person and later test positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19 you must report your exposure to the LSO Director. This shall apply if the meeting occurred within two days before the onset of symptoms or two days prior to positive specimen collection for asymptomatic individuals.

  • During public comment, if you would like to address the committee, you will be recognized and called on by the chairman.

  • After the chairman has recognized you, please stand and address the chairman (i.e., "Mr./Madam Chairman"). Clearly state your name and the organization you represent when applicable.

  • All comments, questions, and responses must flow through the chairman by addressing the chairman each time you wish to speak.

  • View Management Council Policy 18-03 governing rules and standards of decorum and civility during legislative meetings.


Protocol for attending a virtual committee meeting

  • All virtual committee meetings can be viewed on the Wyoming Legislature’s YouTube channel. You may access the Legislature’s YouTube channel here or by going to www.youtube.com and searching “Wyoming Legislature.”

  • You can register to participate in the Zoom meeting for each committee by clicking the “testify” button provided for each committee meeting on the Legislature’s Calendar page. Those not wishing to offer testimony are encouraged to watch via the Legislature's YouTube channel due to the limited number of people who may be in the Zoom meeting.

  • If you would like to address the committee in the Zoom meeting, use the “raise hand” function at the appropriate time when the chairman calls for public comment. Staff will then modify your attendee's credential at which point you will need to have video turned on and microphone unmuted. Following testimony, staff will modify your attendee's credentials again.

  • Staying up to date


Providing written materials to the committee at an in-person meeting during the legislative session

  • Entities or individuals who wish to submit written materials to a committee, please email the completed committee handout form and your documents to each member of the committee, and also email to legdocs@wyoleg.gov.

  • In your email, please include the committee name, meeting date, document author, and document provider.

  • Legislator email addresses can be found here.

  • If attending a meeting in person, please give the handout form and a copy of your handout to the committee staff. Bring enough copies of your handout for the committee members, audience and staff. Please also email an electronic copy to legdocs@wyoleg.gov.

  • Please email electronic handouts at least one day prior to the committee meeting.


Other helpful information

  • The agenda for each committee meeting can be found on the Legislature’s website. Click here.

  • If you wish to video record, audio record, or take photographs during the committee meeting you need to advise the chairman in advance of the meeting.

  • If you plan to use large video or audio equipment, you will need to obtain advance approval from the committee chairman regarding the location of the equipment.


How do I make an effective presentation to the committee?

  • Prepare a handout with a summary of your points, before you begin, hand out all of the copies to the chairman or committee staff.

  • Be brief and don’t repeat what another speaker has said. If your statement is similar to previous comments, you may simply state that you agree with a previous speaker.


2022 Legislative Bills in Progress

2022 Legislative Bills in Progress .xlsx

National News

POTUS Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

https://www.whitehouse.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/



ABLE Age Adjustment Act

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1219?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22ABLE+Age+Adjustment%22%5D%7D&r=2&s=2#:~:text=Introduced%20in%20House%20(02%2F23%2F2021)&text=This%20bill%20increases%20from%2026,pay%20for%20disability%2Drelated%20expenses.


May 9, 2022


Money Follows the Person Expansion

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. MFP was first authorized in 2005 and has provided states with $4.06 billion to support people with disabilities who choose to transition out of institutions and back into their homes and communities. “From the start of the program in 2008 through the end of 2020, states have transitioned over 107,000 people to community living under MFP.”

The Notice of Funding Opportunity makes individual awards of up to $5 million available for more than 20 states and territories that currently are not participating in MFP. The funds will support initial planning and implementation to get the programs started so more people with Medicaid can receive high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services in a setting they choose. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2022. The anticipated start date is September 1, 2022.

On March 31, 2022, for states already participating in MFP, CMS announced an increased reimbursement rate for MFP “supplemental services.” These services will now be 100 percent federally funded with no state share. CMS is also expanding the definition of supplemental services to include additional services that can support an individual’s transition from an institution to the community, including short-term housing and food assistance.

Plain Language:

CMS is offering new grants to some states and territories, so they can create programs to help people who live in institutions to move into the community. States and territories currently participating in MFP will received increased federal funding for providing some additional services.


The Health Equity and Accountability Act

On April 26, 2022, Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-2nd), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA). Since 2003, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, comprised of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has introduced the HEAA. The HEAA works to improve health equity. The “HEAA is a comprehensive and strategic legislative roadmap that aims to eliminate racial and ethnic health inequities.” HEAA is the only comprehensive legislation that “directly addresses the intersection of health inequities with race and ethnicity, as well as immigration status, age, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, language, and socio-economic status.”

The bill focuses on ten main topics to ensure health equity:

· Collecting and reporting data

· Ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate health and healthcare

· Improving health workforce diversity

· Improving healthcare access and quality

· Improving health outcomes for women, children, and families

· Improving treatment for mental health conditions and substance use

· Addressing high impact minority diseases

· Improving health information technology

· Ensuring accountability and evaluation

· Addressing social determinants and improving environmental justice

Plain Language:

The HEAA was introduced in the House of Representatives. The HEAA will work to eliminate the differences in healthcare experienced by people with disabilities and people of color to ensure everyone can access high-quality healthcare.


The Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act

On April 28, 2022, Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5th), Jim Banks (R-IN-3rd) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2nd) introduced The Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act. The bill would expand access to treatment and prevent discrimination against people with disabilities by prohibiting the use of “quality adjusted life years” (QALYs) in all federal programs. Currently, only Medicare is prohibited from using QALYs. QALYs are a metric used to determine the cost-effectiveness of medications and treatment in healthcare. The metric is a subjective quality of life standard that anticipates a person’s lifespan. The use of QALYs can lead to denying medications and treatment to people with disabilities.

In 2019, the National Council on Disability issued the report Quality-Adjusted Life Years and the Devaluation of Life with Disability. “The lives of people with disabilities are equally valuable to those without disabilities, and healthcare decisions based on devaluing the lives of people with disabilities are discriminatory.” In an effort to lower healthcare costs, some public and private health insurance providers have utilized QALYs to determine the cost-effectiveness of medications and treatment. QALYs place a lower value on medications and treatments which extend the lives of people with and disabilities. In the report, NCD found sufficient evidence of the discriminatory effects of QALYs. The use of QALYs in a state-run program violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Plain Language:

People with disabilities may be denied medication and treatment if QALYs are used to make decisions. The use of QALYs discriminate against people with disabilities in receiving healthcare. Some members of Congress are working to be sure federal programs do not use QALYs.


Office of Minority Health Releases Framework for Health Equity

The Office of Minority Health of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the Framework for Health Equity for 2022-2032. The Framework looks to strengthen CMS’ infrastructure for assessment, create greater collaborations across the healthcare system to drive important structural changes and identify and eliminate barriers to CMS-supported benefits, services, and coverage for people who are underserved or disadvantaged and service providers.

The Framework focuses on five priority areas including:

  • Expanding the Collection, Reporting, and Analysis of Standardized Data

  • Assessing the Causes of Disparities Within CMS Programs and Addressing Inequities in Policies and Operations to Close Gaps

  • Building Capacity of Health Care Organizations and the Workforce to Reduce Health and Health Care Disparities

  • Advancing Language Access, Health Literacy and the Provision of Culturally Tailored Services

  • Increasing All Forms of Accessibility to Health Care Services and Coverage

Plain Language:

CMS has written a new plan for how to improve access to quality healthcare by people with disabilities and people of color over the next ten years.



Voting

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




Issue Brief: Guardianship