AUCD Legislative News In Brief

May 29, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  May 29, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 21
  
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Congressional Schedule
The Senate is in recess this week; the House returns from recess tomorrow. 

Congressional agenda
House Republican leaders are planning a summer floor agenda that, as part of their political messaging, is designed to show voters that the majority can run a functional legislative body.  Among the leadership priorities for the next two months: jobs and the economy; a response to the Supreme Court's expected ruling on the 2010 health reform law; fiscal year 2013 spending bills; and extensions of the expiring tax cuts and energy production incentives.  See House Majority Leader Cantor's
memorandum to his caucus for the full agenda.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also laid out an ambitious summer agenda for his chamber that includes finding a compromise on a bill to extend low student loan interest rates, bills to provide a tax credit to employers who expand their payroll and establish workplace pay equity, and reauthorizations of flood insurance and farm programs.

Appropriations
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education has tentatively scheduled a markup of its annual appropriations bill for June 12, with the full Appropriations Committee marking up two days later on June 14.  Despite this forward movement, the bill is not expected to move beyond the full committee until after the elections, which means Congress will need to pass short-term spending bills to fund government programs into the new fiscal year (FY 2013) that begins October 1.  The House has not yet scheduled a markup for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
A bipartisan group of seven Senators announced their support for the CRPD Friday, about a week after the
treaty package was submitted to the Senate by the Obama Administration.  In their statement, Senators McCain (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), Moran (R-KS), Harkin (D-IA), Barrasso (R-WY), Coons (D-DE), and Udall (D-NM) affirm that the treaty upholds the American values of non-discrimination and equal access for persons with disabilities in all areas of life.  The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) immediately issued a press release announcing its support for ratification of the CRPD.  The purpose of the CRPD is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.  Only nations which have ratified the CRPD can participate in official conferences to discuss how the CRPD is to be interpreted and work with other nations that are party to the treaty in upholding the rights of persons with disabilities.  Sixty-seven Senators must vote in favor of its ratification for the U.S. to legally become a party to the treaty under international law.  The Obama Administration signed the treaty on July 30, 2009.  Next week, AUCD will meet with CCD International Task Force member organizations and other lead disability organizations in Washington, DC to discuss strategy and next steps, such as Hill visits, action alerts, and sign on letters.  The U.S. International Committee on Disabilities (USICD) will share its analysis of the treaty package when it is completed.  Thanks to those of you who helped educate key Senators.  Please stay tuned for next steps. 

Education
The U.S. Department of Education announced today eight more states that have received waivers from certain requirements in the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known as No Child Left Behind).  Today's announcement brings the total number of states receiving flexibility to 19 with more likely to be announced in the coming weeks.  The states that received waivers were required to adopt reforms around college and career ready standards, teacher and principal evaluations and accountability systems.  Twenty-six states applied for waivers in this second round of applications; the remaining eighteen applications are still under review.  The states announced today are: Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.

The U.S. Department of Education unveiled Tuesday plans for a new Race to the Top District Competition.  This program will provide $400 million to 20 school districts to implement plans for individualized classroom instruction aimed at closing achievement gaps and preparing each student for college and a career.  Preference will be given to applicants that form partnerships with public and private organizations to sustain their work and offer services that help meet students' academic, social and emotional needs, and enhance their ability to succeed.

ADA Rules on Pool Accessibility
After extending the date by which existing swimming pools must comply (see last week's
In Brief), the U.S. Department of Justice published a Q&A document to address a series of common questions from the hotel industry regarding new accessibility requirements for pools.  The document emphasizes the flexibility of the standards, including the fact that there is no need to provide access to existing pools if doing so is not "readily achievable" and that the Department will not pursue enforcement of the fixed lift requirements against those who have purchased otherwise-compliant portable lifts as long as they are available to all guests at all times the pool remains open for use.

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

  • ACA Facts: Oral Health
    The ACA supports implementation of a variety of initiatives relating to oral health prevention and access.

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

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