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: August 17, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Package 4

Negotiations on legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis stalled last week in the wake of President Trump’s Executive Orders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed members for the planned August recess, although both have instituted a 24-hour notice to return should a vote be scheduled for COVID-19 legislation. It is unclear when or if negotiations will resume between Congressional leaders and the White House. On Sunday evening, Speaker Pelosi announced she would be calling the House back to session to address issues concerning the United States Postal Service. The timeline of that return and scope of House activities remained unclear as of publication.

Lawmakers, lawyers, and other stakeholders continue to evaluate the legality and impact of the series of executive actions on COVID-19 relief signed by President Trump last week. The orders aim to suspend the payroll tax collection, prevent evictions, continue student loan deferrals through at least the end of the year, and provide for partially reviving expanded unemployment insurance. However, members of both parties at the federal and state levels have pushed back on the orders, and Majority Leader McConnell has indicated he is open to resuming negotiations for a bill with his Democratic counterparts.

Plain Language:

  • Lawmakers have stopped working on a COVID-19 package for now, but might start again soon. President Trump made some executive orders, but we don’t know if they can or will change anything.

    • An executive order is a type of written instruction that presidents use without input from Congress or judges. Executive orders can only be given to federal agencies, not to citizens.

Presidential Campaign 2020

Former Vice President and Presumptive Democratic Nominee Joe Biden announced that he has chosen Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate for the 2020 presidential election. Harris, a first-term senator and former state Attorney General from California, is the first Black woman and the first Asian-American to join a major party’s presidential ticket. Harris was long considered a top contender for the Vice Presidency following her own bid for the Democratic nomination, which she ended in December 2019, and Biden’s March announcement that he would choose a woman Vice President. Harris was the first Democratic presidential candidate to release a plan for Americans with disabilities, which focused on expanding access to healthcare through a Medicare “buy-in” option, increasing integrated employment opportunities in the federal government and nationwide, and investing in vocational rehabilitation services through the Department of Education.

Also in campaign news, both the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention will be held virtually this year, on August 17-20 and August 24-27, respectively.

Plain Language:

  • Joe Biden is running for President in the Democratic party with Kamala Harris as his Vice President.


Department of Education

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) has filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education alleging that a rule imposed by the Secretary pulls money away from K-12 public schools and the students they serve. The rule, called “Providing Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Non-public Schools,” could divert over a billion dollars in emergency education funds from the CARES Act (P.L.116-136) from public schools to private schools. The lawsuit argues that Secretary DeVos’s rule harms public school students, including students of color and students with disabilities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and distance learning, by limiting the ability of schools to educate students safely and effectively during COVID-19.

Plain Language:

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a rule that gives emergency money from Congress to private schools instead of public schools. A disability rights group called COPAA says the rule is not okay and is suing the Secretary and the Department of Education to stop it.



Executive Order on Telehealth

President Trump signed an Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access in response to the unique challenges of rural communities when seeking healthcare. The order directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to extend telehealth services offered to Medicare beneficiaries beyond the public health emergency and to streamline payment for some Medicare services in rural areas. The order further commissions a report on policies to improve healthcare access and quality of care for rural communities, as well as mandates the development and implementation of physical and communications healthcare infrastructures. This focus on rural healthcare is part of President Trump’ wider appeal to rural communities in the upcoming election, which he views as the backbone of his base.

Plain Language:

  • President Trump wants to make it easier for people in rural areas to get the healthcare they need. He made a rule that people with Medicare can still use telehealth after COVID-19 ends.

    • Telehealth is when a person can have a doctors appointment through the phone or a video call.


Prescription Medication

The National Council on Disability released a statement opposing the use of the International Pricing Index (IPI) to determine the cost of medications in the United States. The statement comes following a series of executive orders signed by President Trump last month that aim to lower the prices of prescription drugs. It is unclear if the orders will have much effect, as both drug makers and market experts indicate that they could prove difficult to implement. This statement underscores the continued concern from the disability community about the dangers of using discriminatory metrics like quality-adjusted life years in drug pricing.

Plain Language:

  • The President signed an order that uses quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) to set drug prices. The disability community opposes using the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) used in other countries because they can increase discrimination against people with disabilities in healthcare.

    • An executive order is a type of written instruction that presidents use without input from Congress or judges. Executive orders can only be given to federal agencies, not to citizens.



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 5/4/20)


Democrat (updated 5/4/20)




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