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.


National News


In the News: January 15, 2020

We are now at the halfway point of the 116th Congress. Looking ahead to 2020, many policy actions will continue to keep the House and Senate busy: Impeachment trial, fiscal year 2021 appropriations, campaign 2020 election races, and more.

Family Caregiving

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has issued a request for information/input to assist the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council in developing its initial report to Congress and to inform the development of the national family caregiving strategy and help the Council plan future activities, including public listening sessions. The deadline for public input is February 7, 2020.

Plain Language:

· The government wants to hear from you about being a family caregiving.

What this means to you:

· ACL and the advisory council are identifying actions that communities, providers, government, and others are taking and may take to recognize and support family caregivers

Action Steps:

· You can provide input here: https://acl.gov/form/public-input-raise.

· The request was also included in the Federal Register: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-12-09/pdf/2019-26438.pdf.

· Use AUCD's plain language guide Public Comment and Regulations.

Home and Community Based Services

Reps. Scanlon (D-PA) and Emmer (R-MN) introduced the Isaiah Baker and Margie Harris-Austin Act (HR 5443) to extend reimbursement of DSP services while a person receiving HCBS is in the hospital. This addresses a longstanding challenge in the 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver program that prevents individuals with disabilities and seniors who go to the hospital from bringing with them the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who know them best to provide them with the support they rely on. The legislation brings 1915(c) in line with other HCBS authorities by allowing payment for DSPs to provide personal assistance and other services when the individual they support has a short-term stay in an acute care hospital. A Senate companion bill is expected to be introduced soon.

Plain language:

· This bill helps disabled people who have a hospital visit to have a direct support professional there to provide supports they need.

What this means to you:

· This legislation will make a big difference in the lives of people with disabilities and seniors who rely on these services. DSPs and the people they support build relationships and familiarity that can play a crucial role in avoiding unnecessary trauma during hospital stays.

Action Step:

· Contact your members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsor: United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121.

Healthcare

Last week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on "Legislation to Improve Americans' Health Care Coverage and Outcomes." The BENES Act (HR 2477) and the Protecting Patients Transportation to Care Act (HR 3935) were among the pieces of legislation the Committee heard testimony on.

Plain Language:

· Congress had a hearing (or public meeting) on bills to improve heath care in America.

What this means to you:

· The various pieces of legislation considered by the Subcommittee would impact people with disabilities and their access and coverage to health care and health outcomes.


ABLE Act

This December marked 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.

Want to learn more about Wyoming's ABLE program?? Click here.


Disability Policy Seminar

Registration is now open for the Disability Policy Seminar and the AUCD Emerging Leaders Policy Forum. Learn more information about the events.

You do need to register for both events if you plan to attend the Sunday AUCD Policy Forum before DPS.

· Register for the AUCD Policy Forum at https://www.aucd.org/meetings/register.cfm?id=315

· Register for DPS at https://disabilitypolicyseminar.org/

· Contact Rylin Rodgers at rrodgers@aucd.org or Sarah Mueller at smueller@aucd.orgfor questions




Campaign 2020

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced last week he is ending his campaign for president.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is the latest Democratic candidate to release a disability policy plan, Protecting the Rights and Equality of People with Disabilities.

Democratic presidential primary debate (January 14, 2020)

Next week, January 14th, CNN and the Des Moines Register will host a debate, to be held at Drake University. Currently, the following five candidates have qualified: Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren. It is the seventh of 12 Democratic primary debates scheduled for the 2020 presidential election.

Candidates have until January 10 to qualify. They need 225,000 unique contributors and at least 5 percent support in four eligible polls or 7 percent support in two eligible state-level polls. For the full list of requirements, click here.

Click on the candidates names to see their campaign information.

Republican


Democrat



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 2020

The 2020 Budget Session will commence February 10, 2020. Below are the current bills to review that could impact the disability community.

Updated 1/8/2020. For a full list of bills, please visit https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2020

2020 bills in progress.xlsx