AUCD Legislative News In Brief

June 2, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
   June 2, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 22
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Congressional Schedule

The House is not in session this week. The Senate is in session and is expected to vote on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Combating Autism Reauthorization Act

On May 28, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health unanimously passed H.R. 4631, a bill to reauthorize and amend the Combating Autism Act. The text of the committee-passed bill is available on the committee site. However, both Health Subcommittee Chairman Pitts (R-PA) and Ranking Minority Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) both made statements that additional changes could be made before the full committee markup and that they are working in a bicameral, bipartisan way to move this bill quickly through Congress before the September 30 sunset date. Senate staff are currently drafting a bipartisan bill and hope to introduce it within the next couple of weeks.  AUCD and other advocates are meeting with key staff to educate them about the accomplishments of the law. Take action now!

CRPD/Disability Treaty

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Bond v. United States.  The unanimous judgment supports what disability advocates and legal scholars had long contended: that the Bond case is not an obstacle to ratifying the Disability Treaty. The Bond case involved a challenge to a federal statute implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was enacted after that Convention was ratified. . "The Supreme Court has spoken. Bond is no impediment to ratification of the Disability Treaty, and the Chief Justice has given the Senate a clear blueprint on how to ratify a treaty while preserving existing states' rights," said Marca Bristo, President of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities.  "It's now time to restore American leadership on disability rights by moving forward immediately with ratification of the Disability Treaty. One billion people worldwide with disabilities have waited long enough."  For more information on Bond and how it relates to the CRPD, see the Common Grounder blogpost. AUCD is currently setting up grassroots calls in key states to share information and develop action steps.  Senators Harkin and Menendez are hoping to see a Senate vote on ratification before the ADA anniversary on July 26 (take action now).

Long Term Services and Supports

HCBS Settings Rule

State and national advocates have been hard at work on the HCBS settings rule, including finding, creating, and posting materials on New resources include:

AUCD will host a call for network members tomorrow, June 3 to discuss state action on the rule. If you are interested in joining please contact Rachel Patterson at [email protected].

Money Follows the Person

According to new data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 35,000 people participated in the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program as of August 2013, with over 5,000 transitions in progress. Three states (OH, TX, and WA) made up 40 percent of all MFP transitions, with Texas accounting for the most cumulative transitions (7,307 or 21%). MFP was originally authorized in 2005 and extended under the Affordable Care Act. 45 states and the District of Columbia currently participate in MFP.


Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education, wrote a "dear colleague" letter last week to remind charter schools that Federal civil rights laws, regulations, and guidance apply just as they do to traditional public schools. Her letter sought to remind charter school officials of their obligations under the Civil Rights Act, Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. She highlighted nondiscrimination requirements, including the provision of a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities.

Intellectual Disability

On Tuesday, May 27, The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Freddie Lee Hall in the case Hall v. Florida, a death penalty case concerning the definition of intellectual disability (ID). In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that executing inmates with ID is unconstitutional as it violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In Tuesday's decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hall that Florida cannot rely solely on an IQ score to determine whether an inmate has ID. Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that IQ tests have a margin of error and those inmates whose scores fall within the margin must be allowed to present other evidence. Additionally, Justice Kennedy modified the 2002 Atkins decision by adopting the term "intellectually disabled" and abandoning "mentally retarded," which has previously been used by the court in its opinions.


The U.S. Department of Labor announcement of this year's Disability Employment Initiative funding: Applications are due July 8th. This round is focused on increasing collaboration across systems as well as improving the service level of American Job Centers. Although only a Workforce Investment Board (WIB) can apply (as is required by statute), this round has a required partnerships with community colleges and public agencies serving persons with disabilities.

Sports Safety

On Thursday, May 29, President Obama hosted a day-long summit of sports executives, researchers, professional athletes, parents, and coaches at the White House to discuss the dangers of sports-related concussions. The President did not announce any new regulations or legislation on the issue, the event highlighted new commitments to the issue, including a $10 million donation from Steve Tisch - owner of the New York Giants football team - to the newly renamed UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program. The NCAA, Department of Defense, NFL, and National Institute of Standards and Technology also announced new commitments to research, education, and prevention.

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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:

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