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

Wyoming Primary Elections 2022

Click this link to be taken to the primary candidate roster for 2022.



2022 Election Dates

Primary Election: August 16, 2022 | General Election: November 8, 2022

Click here to view other Key Election Dates



WGCDD Legislative Update 2022

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 2022 legislative budget session begins February 14, 2022. 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 2022

The council will review bills during the 67th Legislative Budget Session that could have an impact in the disability community.

For a full list of bills, please visit https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2022


Interim Committee meetings calendar can be found here: https://wyoleg.gov/Calendar/20211201/Meeting


Redistricting information can be found here:

https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislature/LegislatureAbout?tab=3


An Article from Cowboy State Daily News Regarding Reasonable Accommodations Bill: https://cowboystatedaily.com/2022/02/15/house-introduces-bill-requiring-reasonable-accommodation-for-unvaccinated-workers/



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.


2022 Legislative Bills

2022 Legislative Bills in Progress .xlsx

National News

POTUS Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

https://www.whitehouse.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/



ABLE Age Adjustment Act

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1219?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22ABLE+Age+Adjustment%22%5D%7D&r=2&s=2#:~:text=Introduced%20in%20House%20(02%2F23%2F2021)&text=This%20bill%20increases%20from%2026,pay%20for%20disability%2Drelated%20expenses.


September 26, 2022

On August 31st, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a plan to overhaul the enrollment process for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Basic Health Programs (BHPs) and eliminate arbitrary coverage caps for children in CHIP.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to “simplify application and verification processes to make it easier for children, older adults, and people with lower incomes with Medicaid and CHIP coverage to enroll in and retain vital health insurance.” The proposed rule follows President Biden’s executive orders in April 2022 and January 2021 directing federal agencies to take action to expand affordable, quality health coverage, including by strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid, CHIP, and BHPs provide healthcare to 88 million Americans, many of whom have disabilities. The rule, if finalized, will standardize “eligibility and enrollment policies, such as limiting renewals to once every 12 months, allowing applicants 30 days to respond to information requests, requiring prepopulated renewal forms, and establishing clear, consistent renewal processes.” The proposed rule is open for public comment until 5 p.m. on November 7, 2022.

Plain Language

The Biden-Harris administration has announced a plan to make getting healthcare easier for people across the country. The plan will make it easier for people eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to enroll in such programs.


Budget and Appropriations

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations (LHHS) bill funds almost all disability programs. On July 28th, Chairman Leahy (D-VA) released the Chairman’s mark of the 12 senate appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2023. The House of Representative LHHS subcommittee has marked-up the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills and Revised Report on the Subcommittee Allocations. While the House and Senate have hit road bumps on passing a continuing resolution this week and there is the possibility of a government shutdown, it is still expected that the House and Senate will reach a deal and pass a continuing resolution before October 1st continuing Fiscal Year 2022 funding levels until most likely after the election.

Plain Language

The Senate Democrats have released their funding bills for Fiscal Year 2023. The House of Representatives has passed its bill through Committee. The House or Representatives and Senate will not finish work by October 1st. They will likely pass a bill to continue funding until after the election.


U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Extends Deadline for Public Comments on Advancing Equity

On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued the 2022 determination letters on state implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Part B and Part C. The IDEA requires OSEP to issue an annual determination, based on the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR), which evaluates the State’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the IDEA and describes how the State will improve its implementation.

As noted in this year’s determination letters, and consistent with the Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, the Department of Education is looking at how the 2023 determinations process can promote equity. The Department of Education recognizes that this is a very complex issue and is welcoming suggestions from the public on innovative solutions. The deadline for public comments has been extended to October 31st. To share your feedback, email SPPAPR@ed.gov and include “Determinations Feedback” in the subject line.

Plain Language

OSEP reviews how schools are serving students with disabilities each year. This year, the Department of Education is asking for people’s comments on how they can make sure their reviews equally take into account people’s race, income, location, etc. You can provide comment if you have suggestions of how to make the process better for all students.


Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act

The Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (S. 3238 / H.R. 2373) was introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) and is cosponsored by Senator Daines (R-MT) in the Senate and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. McMorris-Rodgers in the House. The bill will phase-out the use of 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and assist employers in transforming their business models to support individuals with disabilities through competitive integrated employment. This bill also creates technical assistance centers to support businesses as they phase-out subminimum wage.

Plain Language

This is a bill that will phase-out paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage. Current law allows certain employers to pay workers with disabilities below the minimum wage, and this bill would stop this from happening, so people with disabilities can have jobs and careers that pay a living wage.

What It Means For You

If you or someone you know is currently being paid below the minimum wage because of their disability, this bill will phase-out the use of subminimum wage over the course of several years. The bill will also provide support to businesses as they phase-out the practice of subminimum wage.


ABLE Age Adjustment Act

The Able Age Adjustment Act (S.331/H.R. 1219) was introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) in the Senate and Rep. Cárdenas (D-CA) in the House. This bill will increase the age eligibility for ABLE accounts from 26 to 46, giving millions of people with disabilities the chance to save money without losing eligibility for federal benefits. On June 22, 2022, the Senate Finance Committee marked-up the Enhancing American Retirement Now Act (EARN Act), which is a part of the larger retirement reform bill (SECURE 2.0). The ABLE Age Adjustment Act was included in the EARN Act as part of the mark-up. ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities to save money, while not disqualifying them from federal benefits like Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. AUCD recently signed on to this letter from the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination.

Plain Language

The Senate Finance Committee met to discuss the EARN Act. The Committee included the ABLE Age Adjustment Act in the EARN Act. ABLE accounts are savings accounts for people who develop their disability before the age of 26, and they allow people to save money without risking losing federal benefits such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. The Able Age Adjustment Act would increase the age of eligibility to 46, giving more people access to these accounts.


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