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 30, 2019

Employment

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! Join AUCD in highlighting the employment work across the network and educate others about the value of a workforce inclusive of workers with disabilities.

Action Steps:

Department of Labor Nomination

The U.S. Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia to be the Secretary of Labor by a vote of 53-44. During the confirmation hearing, many Senators raised concerns about Scalia's record of defending businesses at the expense of people with disabilities and asked questions about his stance on 14c certificates.

Action Steps:

  • You can watch or read the testimony of the nomination hearing here.
  • With NDEAM, now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress and state legislators on the importance of protecting the rights of workers with disabilities and expanding work force participation.

Budget and Appropriations

Last week, the Senate passed stopgap funding for federal agencies through November 21st. This gives Congress and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The continuing resolution (HR 4378) holds off another partial government shutdown until at least November 21st. Debates continue around both abortion policy and the border wall. The House has passed 10 of its 12 spending bills. The Senate has approved 10 of its spending bills with disagreements remaining on the Defense, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Military Construction-VA appropriations bills (S 2474).

Action Steps:

  • Programs and issues we watch remain in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriation bill that still needs passage.
  • To learn what is in the Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations, check out AUCD's first look.

Social Security

On September 11, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2019 (H.R.4280) was reintroduced by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and 20 other co-sponsors. The bill would raise the asset limit, update the earned and unearned income disregard rules, modernize financial eligibility rules and eliminate penalties for resource transfers, marriage and state tax credits. Congress has not adjusted these limits in many years, and these improvements are long overdue.

Action Steps:

Older Americans Act

The Dignity in Aging Act of 2019, a bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, has been introduced in the House (HR 4334). This bill will fund vital programs, like Meals on Wheels, that ensure that older Americans have the support they need to age independently and with dignity. The Supporting Family Caregivers Act, a bipartisan bill, was incorporated into the larger Dignity in Aging Act. This will help determine what kinds of targeted support caregivers need as they provide in-home care to family members.

Action Steps:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

NICHD released their strategic plan outlining research goals and priorities for the next five years. New themes include improving child and adolescent health and the transition to adulthood and advancing safe and effective therapeutics and devices for children and people with disabilities.

Action Steps:

  • Read NICHD's Strategic Plan.
  • AUCD and IDDRC provided input as this strategic plan was being developed. You can read our comments here.

Mental Health

Senate Judiciary, HELP and Homeland Security Committees are all considering legislation that could harm disability civil rights and stigmatize people with disabilities. Creating registries with mental health as an indicator or reopening institutions have both been proposed policies to address gun violence. The disability community has been actively engaged and expects movement on this soon.

Action Steps:

  • Read a joint statement from members of the disability community and allies on gun violence prevention policy and mental health disabilities.

Civil Rights

AUCD is a member of the Clear2Connect Coalition, a group of organizations from across the U.S. working together to protect the right for Americans with hearing loss to communicate via Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS), also known as captioned telephone service. The Coalition recently filed comments with the FCC about the need to protect quality and access to functional equivalency in telecommunication services for the deaf.


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).



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