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: May 14, 2019

(From AUCD)

Budget:

The House Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee released their spending report for Fiscal Year 2020, which starts October 1, 2019; as expected there is much positive news to share. Please see below for the chart.

Bills to Watch

The time between now and the August Congressional Recess is prime time for significant

progress to be made around key policy issues. AUCD is following multiple issues and encourages you to engage on the issues that match your interest, life and work.

  • Autism CARES (see details below)
  • The Disability Integration Act (DIA), (S.117 and HR. 555) would prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports.
  • The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (S.260 and H. 863) would assist employers providing employment under special certificates issued under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to transform their business and program models to support individuals with disabilities to transition to competitive integrated employment, and would phase out the use of 14 (c) certificates.
  • The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651 and H.R. 1814) will increases from 26 to 46 the age for ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts.
  • The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 ((H.R. 2035; S. 995) reauthorizes the program through FY 2024 at $200 million over five years. The program's purpose is to make quality respite available to family caregivers regardless of care recipient's age or disability through coordinated State Lifespan Respite Systems.

Budget

Congress is in the midst of the budget and appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020, which starts October 1, 2019. House leaders have not yet moved a bill to set federal spending limits. Hearing directly from constituents about why and how program funding impacts their district is the most important way to impact appropriations, or how much money programs receive.

ABLE Age Adjustment Act

Sen. Casey together with Sens. Moran, Van Hollen, and Roberts, reintroduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act(S. 651). The bill makes ABLE accounts available to anyone who has acquired a disability prior to their 46th birthday. ABLE savings accounts allow people with disabilities to save for disability expenses and long-term needs without risking many of their federal disability benefits, and are currently available only to those who acquire their disability prior to their 26th birthday, leaving out millions - including veterans - who would otherwise qualify.

Disability Integration Act

The Disability Integration Act (DIA) (S.117 and HR. 555) was introduced on January 15th. This legislation would prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports. Advocates are pushing for passage by the House before July 26, 2019, the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are critical as co-sponsors of the Disability Integration Act (DIA) in order to achieve movement on this bill.

Additional resources:

Autism CARES 2019

The Autism CARES Act - which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families - will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427). Currently 14 Senators and 48 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors. Moving the bill before expiration in September will require action. Congressmen and Co-Sponsors Smith and Doyle have requested that the Energy & Commerce Committee consider H.R. 1058 in April during Autism Acceptance Month.

Disproportionality in Special Education

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on March 7, 2019, that the U.S. Department of Education had engaged in an 'illegal delay' of the Equity in IDEA regulations. The regulations were supposed to go into effect on July 1, 2018, and would have implemented the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements relating to significant racial disproportionality. The federal court's ruling requires those 2016 final regulations to go into effect immediately. The decision comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against the Department by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), who were represented by the National Center for Youth Law. The suit alleged that the Department had taken actions that interfere with their obligation under the IDEA to ensure children with disabilities get the education services they need in the most appropriate setting without regard to their race.

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019

The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 2035; S. 995) reauthorizes the program through FY 2024 at $200 million over five years. The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and in the Senate by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).The Lifespan Respite Care Program (LRCP): The U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) provides competitive grants to state agencies working with Aging and Disability Resource Centers/No Wrong Door Systems and state respite coalitions. The program’s purpose is to make quality respite available to family caregivers regardless of care recipient’s age or disability through coordinated State Lifespan Respite Systems.


Money Follows the Person

The Empower Care Act was introduced last week in the Senate (S. 548) by Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) and in the House (H.R. 1342) by Congresspersons Guthrie (R-KY) and Dingell (D-MI). This bill would extend and improve the Money Follows the Person program (MFP) through 2023.

Health Care

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m., entitled “Strengthening Our Health Care System: Legislation to Lower Consumer Costs and Expand Access.” Planned topics include:

  • Provide $10 billion per year for states to use for reinsurance funding to bring down premiums or for lowering out-of-pocket costs for consumers.
  • Provide $100 million per year for navigators that help sign people up for coverage.
  • Provide $200 million for states to set up state-run Affordable Care Act marketplaces.


Medicare-for-All: a single national health insurance program for all U.S. residents:

H.R.1384 Medicare for All Act of 2019 byRep. Jayapal

HEADs UP Act

Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs UP) Act (H.R. 2417). The HEADs UP Act would direct the Health Services and Resources Administration to designate people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) as a Medically Underserved Population.

Exercise and Fitness for All Act

Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) re-introduced legislation today to make fitness facilities across America more accessible for those with disabilities. The Exercise and Fitness for All Act(S.1244) would establish new federal guidelines to help ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunity to use fitness facilities as their able-bodied peers, and it would allow small businesses to use the Disabled Access Tax Credit to help cover the purchase of accessible exercise equipment.

Action Steps:

  • Read the bill (link above); share research and experience that connect to the bill with its co-sponsors
  • Share your view of the bill with your Senators

Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act (BENES Act)

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the BENES Act (S. 1280). The BENES Act would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to establish a system to notify individuals approaching Medicare eligibility, to simplify and modernize the eligibility enrollment process.

Action Steps:

  • Read the bill (link above); share research and experience that connect to the bill with its co-sponsors
  • Share your view of the bill with your Senators

Campaign 2020

The following notable candidates are running for president:

Bill Weld (R), Former Governor of Massachusetts

Eric Swalwell (D), U.S. Representative from California

Tim Ryan (D), U.S. Representative from Ohio

· Co-sponsor of the Autism CARES 2019

Beto O'Rourke (D), former U.S. Representative from Texas

Jay Inslee (D), Governor of Washington state

Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. Senator from Vermont

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota

· Co-sponsor of the Autism CARES 2019

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California

· Co-sponsor of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD

Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

· Co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019

Andrew Yang (D), entrepreneur and venture capitalist

John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland

Donald Trump (R), sitting President


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