Disability Policy News In Brief

August 31, 2015

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August 31, 2015   |   Vol. XV, Issue 35
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are in recess and will reconvene on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Budget

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has come out with a new projection for the drop dead date on the debt ceiling stating that the US Treasury will hit the $18.1 billion borrowing limit in late-November or early-December. The CBO also released new estimates for the FY 2015 deficit. According to the CBO, the deficit is on track to be $60 billion less than what was projected earlier this year, and $59 billion less than last year. At now just 2.4 percent of GDP, the deficit as a share of the economy would be the lower than the average over the last 50 years, and the lowest since 2007.  

Appropriations

When Congress returns, it will have only three weeks to craft and get political support for a continuing resolution to keep the government running since done of the 13 annual appropriations bills have been signed into law.  The new fiscal year begins on October 1.  AUCD, along with 1500 other organizations, signed-on to an important letter drafted by NND United urging Congress to build on the Bipartisan Budget Act and stop sequestration. The letter states that "the current budget framework under which the House and Senate are writing their appropriations bills abides by the sequestered Budget Control Act (BCA) caps. The inadequacy of these levels has been proven through appropriations bills that fail to make the necessary nondefense discretionary (NDD) investments that protect all Americans and promote a strong economy." 

Employment

US Labor Department seeks nominations of members for the newly created Workforce Information Advisory Council. Nominations are due by October 6th, 2015. The council, made up of 14 members, is being established as required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and its main objective is to provide recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to address the evaluation and improvement of federal and state workforce and labor market information systems, and how the department and the states will cooperate in the management of those systems.

Education

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education published a final Rule eliminating the use of the Alternate Assessment on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) or the so-called 2% Rule.  AUCD helped to draft a letter on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force (CCD) thanking the Secretary for finalizing this policy that will ultimately lead to many more students graduating from high school prepared for college and careers.  AUCD believes that this policy change will go a long way to raising expectations of all students and ensuring that schools are held accountable for providing appropriate services, accommodations and instruction that may be needed to provide the opportunities for students with disabilities to achieve grade-level standards.  Multiple research studies and best practice show that most students with disabilities can successfully learn grade-level content and make significant academic progress when they receive systematic, explicit instruction, learning strategies, and other evidence-based services and supports.  In addition, nearly all states have now developed and are administering new high-quality general assessments that are universally designed to include students with disabilities.  This has reinforced that the vast majority of students with disabilities do not need to work toward so-called modified achievement standards and can be assessed on the general achievement standards. 

Parents Rights

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Dept. of Justice recently issued joint guidelines "Protecting the Rights of Parents and  Prospective Parents  with Disabilities: Technical Assistance for State and Local Child Welfare Agencies and Courts under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act." The technical assistance is intended to assist state and local child welfare agencies and courts to ensure that the welfare of children and families are protected.  The guidelines are in response to numerous complaints of discrimination from individuals with disabilities.

Accessible Communications Technology

On September 29th join in celebrating advances in communications technology for people with disabilities. Held at the National Press Club, Holeman Lounge (529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor) at 6pm, this event will include product demonstrations and presentations on the anniversaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Television Decoder Circuitry Act, and the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). RSVP to jeffrey.a.kramer@verizon.com

National Disability Organization on Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a final rule that, when fully implemented, will cut carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent by 2030. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) supports this Rule that will help prevent serious, long-term health consequences for the over 53 million Americans living with disabilities, including increased illnesses; secondary disabilities; and death due to respiratory illness, heat-related stress, insect-borne diseases and increase environmental disasters.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In case you missed it, for last week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz walked through the AUCD's Action Alert Center.  This week Liz will be interviewing Sharon Lewis (Principle Deputy Administrator of the Administration for Community Living) about the new Home and Community Based setting rule, as well as her daughter, Zoe Lewis on her experience of starting her freshman year of college.

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For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

 

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