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: May 18, 2020

What happened last week:

  • The House passed the HEROES Act along party lines on Friday, May 15th. This can be seen as a starting point for negotiations with the White House and the Senate.
  • Senate leadership has not yet expressed an interest in "taking up" or considering the legislation. It may be the case that they do not consider this bill as part of their Package 4. Senate action may come in June or later.
  • Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act)

What the HEROS Act does:

  • Home and Community Based Services investment to support wages, services, leave, and related critical needs to support access to home and community- based services.
  • $10,000,000 for Developmental Disabilities Act Programs
  • $10 Billion additional for nutrition services and increased flexibility to support greater access for people with disabilities
  • Requirement for CDC Field Study Pertaining to Health Inequities
  • Specifically: "the impact of disability status on health care access and disease outcomes"




Congressional Action

Congressional leaders are using various strategies to respond to the needs of people during COVID-19. This includes introducing new legislation and issuing letters to federal agencies and Congressional leadership requesting clarification, guidance, and public statements for the record that the needs of people with disabilities are included in Package 4. These include:

  • Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García (D-IL) introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2020 (H.R.6637). This legislation reforms policies and expands federal health care resources for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as other underserved populations who face discrimination and barriers to care due to their immigration status, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and English language skills.
  • Senate Democrats (Warren, Casey, Gillibrand, Hassan, Brown, Duckworth, Markey and Baldwin) sent a letter to House and Senate leadership about priorities for the next COVID19 relief package. It includes a focus on HCBS funding, protecting civil rights of people with disabilities, and access to PPE.
  • Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced Strengthening COVID- 19 Unemployment Insurance (UI) Protections (H.R.6680) which would make changes to the UI provisions and strengthen the CARES Act.
  • Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA-03) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation, the "Relaunching America's Workforce Act" (H.R. 6646), to authorize funding to help workers quickly re-enter the workforce. This bill includes authorizing $500 million to support training and temporary employment responding to the COVID-19 national emergency, including for health care, direct care and frontline workers.

Appropriations

The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education will hold a hearing on COVID-19 Response on May 6th.

Action steps:


Vocational Rehabilitation Services

The U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) submitted a report to Congress regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) called The State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program Before and After Enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 2014. This report summarizes trends in the performance of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program with respect to the characteristics of individuals served, the services they received, and the employment outcomes they achieved using data collected and reported by VR agencies to RSA within the Department prior to and following the enactment of WIOA. The report also describes the technical assistance RSA has provided to the State VR agencies as they have implemented the changes to the VR program made by WIOA.

Plain Language:

  • The federal government wrote a paper on how employment services are for people with disabilities.

What this means to you:

  • This report is useful to learn the trends on services since WIOA.

Action Steps:

  • Read the report.
  • Share with your Members of Congress this report and your state's employment data and work for your center.

Department of Health and Human Services

A letter from Attorney Generals from California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin was sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging it not to finalize its proposed regulation, "Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities" (Section 1557 Rule). The letter says that the plan proposed would (a) undermine critical protections that prohibit discrimination; (b) risk restricting access to care at a dangerous time; and (c) directly conflicts with the Office of Management and Budget's directive to focus on "mission critical work."

Plain Language:

  • A letter was sent to the federal government saying they should not complete a regulation on discrimination in healthcare systems.

What this means to you:

  • Discrimination within the healthcare system leads to poor coverage and health outcomes. Individuals who have experienced discrimination in healthcare like people with disabilities often postpone or forgo needed healthcare, resulting in poorer health outcomes. HHS moving forward with this rule during a national pandemic could create unnecessary confusion and administrative burdens for state agencies, healthcare providers, and patients.

Action Steps:

Congressional Updates

Following a special election for Maryland's vacant Seventh District Congressional seat, which was formerly held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, Kweisi Mfume (D) will serve out the remainder of Cummings' term, which ends Jan. 3. Mfume also seeks a full two-year term and is on the ballot for the state's June primary. Mfume previously represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District for five terms, beginning in 1987.

AUCD Policy Talk

These are unprecedented and uncertain times for parents, students, school systems, teachers and related service providers, but we must protect every child with a disability's right to a free and appropriate public education. On #AUCDPolicyTalk, Kennedy Krieger Institute director Maureen Van Stone shares about ensuring equitable access to remote learning for students with disabilities. #WhatWeNeed#WeAreEssential #myideamatters Read the full blog post.

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