AUCD Legislative News In Brief

May 21, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  May 21, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 20
  
Subscribe to AUCD InBrief  |  AUCD InBrief Archive  | RSS  |  AUCD InBrief Archive

Congressional Schedule
The House is in recess this week through the middle of next week.  The Senate will be in recess next week. The Senate's main focus this week is on the Food and Drug Administration's prescription-drug user fee reauthorization. There are no hearings or mark-ups on disability-related issues.

Budget
Congressional wrangling continued last week as five Republican budget resolutions were defeated in the Senate on Wednesday.  Among them was the House-adopted budget championed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  Democrats regarded the votes as political stunts and maintain that a budget resolution is not necessary because the Budget Control Act (BCA, P.L. 112-25) passed last August established spending amounts for the upcoming fiscal year in addition to raising the debt limit. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pushed to begin discussions on the next debt limit increase, which is expected to be needed early next year.  Boehner said he would not support raising the limit without spending cuts equal to or greater than the increase.  But at a meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday, President Obama warned House leaders that he wants a "clean" debt limit increase and would not sign a measure that included cuts beyond those contained in the BCA.  Before the end of the year, Congress will have to address the debt limit increase, expiring tax cuts, annual appropriations and the automatic cuts (sequester) scheduled for January.  Some congressional insiders believe that lawmakers will have to seek extensions of the tax cuts and delay the sequester for several months into 2013 in order to work out their differences over a longer-term plan.  Experts warn that allowing all the tax cuts to expire and permitting the automatic spending cuts to take place would have more than a $7 trillion impact over a decade and could throw the economy back into recession next year.

Restraint & Seclusion in Schools
The U.S. Department of Education issued Wednesday a resource document on restraint and seclusion in schools.  The document is intended to be a tool for states, school districts, schools, parents and other stakeholders to use in developing policies for the use of these techniques.  It outlines 15 principles to which the Department believes policies should adhere, including preventing the need for restraint and seclusion, limiting their use to emergencies, notifying parents when their children are restrained/secluded and training teachers on effective alternatives such as positive behavioral interventions and supports.  AUCD issued a press release applauding the Department for taking this important step.  However, because the document is not law, federal legislation is still needed to ensure that all students are afforded baseline protections.  Visit AUCD's Action Center for tools to educate Senators and Representative about the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020, H.R. 1381). 

ADA Rules on Pool Accessibility
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a regulation Friday extending the date by which existing swimming pools must comply with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.  The new rules went into effect March 15, but the hotel industry lobbied for more time to comply with the standards for swimming pool accessibility.  The DOJ initially issued a 60-day extension and asked for comments on a possible six-month extension.  Under the regulation issued last week, existing pools will have until January 31, 2013 to comply with the accessibility standards.  Any new pools must comply with the rules immediately.  The rules require large hotel pools to have at least two accessible means of entry and at least one swimming pool lift.  Smaller pools need only have accessible entry.  The Americans with Disabilities Act requires existing pools to meet these standards to the extent that doing so is readily achievable, or "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense."  For more information, see the DOJ press release 

Health Care Reform
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released
guidelines Wednesday for the implementation of federally-facilitated exchanges (FFE) under the Affordable Care Act.  Under the ACA, each State must establish an Affordable Insurance Exchange ("Exchange") to help individuals and eligible employers compare and select qualified health plans that meet consumer protection and other standards by 2014 (see ACA Fact on Exchanges).  However, the law recognizes that not every state will elect to establish its own Exchange, or may not have one operable by the deadline.  In those states, the ACA directs HHS to create and operate an FFE to ensure consumers in all 50 states have access to high-quality affordable health overage options.  The guidance discusses key implementation policies, including how states can partner with HHS and ways the department can consult with stakeholders to operate FFEs.  Additionally, as of May 16, over $188 million in exchange establishment grants have been distributed to a total of 34 states (including the District of Columbia). 

Affordable Care Act: Get the Facts
AUCD offers facts about the law and its implementation in this new section of In Brief.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
AUCD received news late last week that the CRPD has finally been transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent.  Due to Senate procedure, the treaty documents have not yet been made public.  Neither the White House nor the Senate can release the documents until the Senate completes the transmittal process.  AUCD anticipates that this process will only take a few days.  Watch news in In Brief and AUCD Action Alerts for next steps toward ratification!  For more information about the CRPD and the ratification process, see the
U.S. International Council on Disabilities Convention website.

AUCD Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership
AUCD is now accepting applications for the 2013 Disability Policy Leadership Fellow.  The deadline for applications is
July 30, 2012.  The fellowship is an opportunity for a network member to live and work in Washington, DC for one year, learn about AUCD, current federal legislation affecting people with disabilities and their families and exercise leadership skills.  Click here to find out more about the fellowship and to read more about the experiences of the current Fellow, Kristina Majewski through her blog: "Transitioning into a Brave (New) World."  For more information and to apply, click here.

Save the Date: National Forum on Disability Issues
AUCD is part of the forum planning committee for the 2012 National Forum on Disability Issues on Friday, September 28th at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.  This event is a non-partisan forum where presidential candidates are scheduled to offer their visions of policy that affect people with disabilities.  Among the 2012 invitees are President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.  The forum will be webcast live providing the opportunity for everyone to learn about the candidates' views on disability issues. If you cannot make it to Columbus, Ohio, please organize a watch party.  For general information on the forum contact
Kristina Majewski at AUCD.  To co-sponsor or make a contribution to the forum, contact Sue Hetrick with Ability Center (shetrick@abilitycenter.org).  Invitations to the presidential nominees were mailed last week.

 

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

For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website: http://www.aucd.org/template/page.cfm?id=164

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910