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: November 18, 2019


Autism CARES

The Autism CARES Act of 2019 was signed into law on September 30, 2019.This secures five-year reauthorizations for CARES programs, including:

  • Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Training Programs
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Training Programs
  • Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE)
  • The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network

The successful passage reflects your efforts to educate members about the bill, the work it supports and the needs in your state.


Transformation to Competitive Employment

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (S.260 and H. 873) will assist businesses in adapting their program models to support the transition of individuals with disabilities from segregated work environments to competitive, integrated employment. This law aims phase out use of 14(c) certificates, originally issued under the FSLA.

  • Learn more about the act here.
  • Find out if your members are co-sponsors: Senators and Representatives
  • Not a co-sponsor? Call, email, or tweet your Members of Congress and tell them why their support of the Transformation to Competitive Employment is so important educating them to be a co-sponsor.
  • Sample call/email: My name is [your full name], and I am from [city]. I'm [calling/writing] to ask the [Senator/Representative] to support the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act. This bill would make sure that people with disabilities get to work in our communities for fair pay. With the right supports, people with all kinds of disabilities and support needs can succeed in integrated employment, and TCEA would give states and service providers the resources they need to provide those supports. Can I count on the [Senator/Representative] to support the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act?United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121
  • Sample post: @________, we/I need your support of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act to end subminimum wage! @AUCDnews #RealWork4RealPay
  • A co-sponsor? Call, email, or facebook/tweet your Members of Congress to thank them for being a co-sponsor.
    • Sample call/email: My name is [your full name], and I am from [city]. I'm [calling/writing] to thank the [Senator/Representative] for supporting the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act. Your support will make sure that people with disabilities get to work in our communities for fair pay. With the right supports, people with all kinds of disabilities and support needs can succeed in integrated employment, and TCEA would give states and service providers the resources they need to provide those supports. Thank you for co-sponsor and urge your colleagues to support today! United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121
    • Sample post: @________, thank you for your support of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act to end subminimum wage! @AUCDnews #RealWork4RealPay
  • ABLE Act

This December will mark the 5th anniversary of the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which created tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities who have a disability before age 26. Since 2014, over 50,000 individuals have opened ABLE accounts. Unfortunately, millions of people with disabilities aren't eligible for ABLE accounts because they did not acquire their disability before age 26. So as we are celebrating this anniversary, we are urging Congress to pass the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651, H.R. 1814). The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would make six million more people with disabilities eligible to open an ABLE account. It would also greatly enhance the sustainability of all ABLE programs nationwide.

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

We are two weeks away from the current stop-gap continuing resolution (CR) expiring on November 21st. A vote on the Defense, Labor, HHS, and Ed package (HR 2740) has not advanced due to partisan disagreements. This would likely require Congress to pass a new CR. Under a CR, agencies can't start new projects or increase buying rates on long-term contracts.

  • Social Security

On October 30, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2019 (S.2753). The bill would update and enhance the SSI program by adjusting income limits upward, something Congress has not done in many years. In addition, the SSI Restoration Act would repeal SSI's in-kind support and maintenance provisions as well as penalties for resource transfers, marriage, and state tax credits.

Action Steps:

  • Learn more about earned income disregard.
  • Contact your Senator with your SSI stories. United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Health Insurance Open Enrollment

ACA open enrollment for 2020 health care coverage began on Friday, Nov. 1, and ends Sunday, Dec. 15. Now is the time for individuals who are uninsured or are looking for affordable health insurance to enroll in a private health insurance plan available through state marketplaces. During open enrollment, a person can purchase private health insurance through the marketplace in each state. There may also be financial assistance to help with health care costs available to people with low and moderate incomes. It is also important for people who currently have insurance through the marketplace to look at their plan to determine if it will continue to meet their needs. Individuals who do not take action will be automatically re-enrolled in their current plan. Re-enrollment is also an important opportunity for people to report any changes in income.

Action Step:

National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month. This month is dedicated to recognition of the vital role family caregivers play in the lives of people with disabilities and to educating the public about the need for greater support. This year's theme is #BeCareCurious.

Action Steps:

  • Family caregivers should share their stories (with consent from those for whom they are providing care) and ask questions about care options for their loved ones. Use #BeCareCurious.
  • Read President Trump's 2019 Proclamation here.

Department of Education

Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett recently left the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The new Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner,Mark Schultz, has taken over as acting assistant secretary. With this change in leadership, members of the disability community drafted a public letter addressing concerns about competitive integrated employment regulations in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and opposing any considerations of opening the regulations at this time. AUCD signed on to this letter.

Action Steps:

  • National, state and local groups can sign on to this letter. Please sign on using this link. Sign-ons are due by Monday, November 18th.

Medicaid

Last week, local and state elections saw potential impacts on Medicaid expansion. In the governor's race in Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear claimed victory against incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who was among the first in the country to try to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Those rules are tied up in court, as a federal judge blocked them back in March. Former Gov. Steve Beshear - the governor-elect's father - was among the first to expand Medicaid under the then-new Affordable Care Act, and his son has also made this a key part of his platform. In Virginia, Democrats regained control of the state legislature with Medicaid expansion being a platform message.


Action Steps:

  • Centers in KY and VA have the opportunity to meet with newly-elected state officials. Share with them the work you do for the state and the impact of Medicaid for people with disabilities.

The territories are facing a major cliff on November 22 -- after the current CR expires -- when the 100% Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) will expire and revert back to statutory levels. Before the current CR, it was projected that Puerto Rico would exhaust the federal funds available by March 2020; with the CR FMAP through November they will run through the cap even sooner. If they hit the cap, difficult choices on how to keep Medicaid operating without federal funds could include disenrolling beneficiaries, cutting core benefits, cutting payment rates and seeing more providers drop out of the program.

Action Step:

  • Read a sign-on letter supported by AUCD asking Congress to extend the higher FMAP and allocate additional funds for Medicaid in Puerto Rico and the other territories.

Campaign 2020

Elizabeth Warren is the latest candidate to release a Disability Plan: Fighting for an Accessible & Inclusive America.

Mike Bloomberg is the latest to join the Democratic presidential race. You can learn more about himhere.

AAPD, REV Up!, and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) have been working on a Presidential candidates questionnaire. The questionnaire collects responses on disability issues from a range of candidates. To date, the following candidates have replied: Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Joe Sestak, Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson.



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