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 2021

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 2021 legislative session begins January 12, 2021. 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 2021

Below are the current bills the council reviewed during the 66th General Session that could have an impact in the disability community.

For a full list of bills, please visit https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2021


Interim Committee meetings calendar can be found here: https://wyoleg.gov/Calendar/20210401/Meeting



2021 bills in progress.xlsx

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.


National News


In the News: August 2, 2021

***"Disability Policy News" will be on a break for the remainder of the August Congressional Recess. ***



Infrastructure and Budget Reconciliation

Fiscal Year 2022

On July 29th, the House passed H.R. 4502, the "minibus" Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 22) appropriation package to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as agencies pertaining to rural development, water development, financial services, general government, the environment, and military construction. The Senate has not yet acted on FY 22 funding.

Plain language:

· Congress is working on passing a budget.



Bipartisan Infrastructure

The Senate voted 67-32 to advance a bipartisan infrastructure package on Wednesday, July 28th. Seventeen Republicans and all 50 Democrats voted in favor. The final legislative language for the package is still being written, but the legislation will cost around $1.2 trillion over eight years, about $550 billion of which is new federal spending, including major priorities for the disability community:

  • $39 billion to modernize public transit, upgrade aging infrastructure & make stations accessible

  • $65 billion to ensure access to high-speed internet for all


Plain language:

· Congress is working on a big bill that could improve our country's infrastructure.

    • Infrastructure means the buildings, roads, bridges, power lines, and other things our country needs to work every day.


Budget Reconciliation

Work continues on the budget reconciliation package that will be used to pass many parts of Presidents Biden's Jobs and Family Plan.

  • Budget Reconciliation is a tool that makes legislation easier to pass in the Senate; a reconciliation bill only needs a simple majority (51) in the Senate.

The next few weeks will be the time that top-level numbers are set giving committees direction on creating the final package. The Better Care Better Jobs Act is the legislative language around the investment into Home and Community Based services (HCBS) that will be a part of the Budget Reconciliation process. In order to pass, all 50 Democratic Senators will need to support the package, as all Republican Senators have vowed they will not.

Action Steps:

· The most critical need is for education and advocacy around Home and Community Based Services. Members of Congress need to be hearing continuously how important the $400 billion dollar investment is to their constituents.

· It is fair to reach out to every member of Congress and share how important the Better Care Better Jobs Act (S.2210, H.R. 4231) is.

o The following 10 Democratic Senators have not yet supported the Better Jobs Better Care Act; contacting them should be a priority:

§ Coons, DE

§ Carper, DE

§ Hickenlooper, CO

§ Cortez Masto, NV

§ Tester, MT

§ Warner, VA

§ Kelly, AZ

§ Sinema, AZ

§ Ossoff, GA

§ Manchin, WV

· Messages for members of Congress:

o If they are supportive of the Better Jobs Better Care Act, thank them and share why it is so important to make sure the final package includes the $400 billion.

o If they are not yet supportive, reach out and share why HCBS is important. Offer to answer any questions as they consider becoming a co-sponsor.


National Council on Disability

The National Council on Disability (NCD) is working on its next five-year strategic plan. The five-year agency strategic plan is intended to define the agency mission, long-term goals, strategies the agency has planned, and various approaches it plans to use to monitor its progress in addressing national problems and opportunities related to its mission. Stakeholders are encourage to review the current draft and provide feedback.

Plain language:

· NCD is a federal agency that gives advice to the President, Congress, and other federal agencies about disability. They are making a five-year plan and want input.

Read the draft plan on the Council's website

Direct Support Professionals

  • Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers

  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act on July 14th. This bill would authorize over $1 billion in supporting the direct care workforce and family caregivers. The bill aligns with President Biden's American Jobs Plan, which calls for substantial investments to meet the growing demand for home and community-based services.


  • Plain language:

  • · A bill to support the HCBS workforce has been introduced.


  • Voting

  • Attention to voting rights and access continues at both state and national levels President Biden spoke on July 13, 2021 at the National Constitution Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Protecting the Sacred, Constitutional Right to Vote. VP Harris meets with disability advocated on July 14, details of the meeting are in the Vice President's remarks.


  • Plain language:

  • · A new report talks about how voting can be more accessible for people with disabilities.

  • What this means to you:

  • · There can be many barriers to voting for people with disabilities. Elevating the most current data and reporting can help as state and federal voting legislation is considered.


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




Child Tax Credit 2021

The monthly child tax credit payments are steadily rolling in for millions of eligible families.

FAQ's:

https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/2021-child-tax-credit-and-advance-child-tax-credit-payments-frequently-asked-questions


CHILD TAX CREDIT PAYMENT SCHEDULE

July 15: First 2021 Check

Aug 13

Sept 15

Oct 15

Nov 15

Dec 15: Last 2021 Check


Saverlife Articles & Videos

https://www.saverlife.org/community/one-stop-guide-to-child-tax-credit-resources



Article: Everything parents need to know about opting out of child tax credit payments and more