AUCD Legislative News In Brief

October 27, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
    October 27, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 43
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Congressional Schedule

While Congress is out on recess until it returns for a special post-election "lame-duck" session on November 12, some lawmakers were called back for an oversight hearing on the federal response to the Ebola virus. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the House Government Oversight Committee called for the hearing which was held on Friday.  Most Republican Members used the opportunity to criticize the Administration's response to the public health emergency, while Democrats used the opportunity to bring attention to how recent cuts to Federal spending for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes for Health (NIH) are impacting the country's ability to address the emergency.


In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will host a Twitter chat tomorrow, October 28 at 2:00pm ET on role of the federal government as a model employer of people with disabilities. EEOC Chair Jenny Yang and Commissioner Chai Feldblum will answer questions during the hour-long chat. Submit question using #EEOC4NDEAM. The EEOC invites queries regarding the hiring, promotion and retention of people with disabilities in the federal government and suggestions on how agencies can increase the number of people with disabilities in the federal workforce.

CCD's Employment Task Force, including AUCD, is gearing up to respond to draft regulations to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Act of 2014, the law to make sure that people with disabilities are supported in having a job. The Departments of Labor and Education plan to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) as early as January.  If you interested in participating in an AUCD workgroup to help policy staff respond to the proposed rule, please contact Kim Musheno at [email protected].

Education - Bullying

On October 21 the US Department of Education (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance for schools to understand their legal obligations related to bullying and students with disabilities.  This document builds on guidance issued in 2013 stating that bullying of students with disabilities on any basis can result in the denial of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) under IDEA.  The most recent guidance explains that bullying of a student with a disability on any basis can similarly result in a denial of FAPE under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and reiterates schools' obligations to address conduct that may constitute a disability-based harassment violation.

Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Justice Department. The administration has announced that the White House plans to nominate her as permanent head of the Civil Rights Division. The Division, which oversees civil rights enforcement, including disability rights and Olmstead litigation, has been without a permanent head since President Obama nominated Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor. The previous nominee, Debo Adegbile, a lawyer from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, faced opposition on Capitol Hill and was not confirmed by the Senate.

Disability Treaty (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Senator Harkin (D-IA) has formally requested that the Senate take up the Disability Treaty during the lame duck session.  Former Senator Bob Dole (KS) last week suggested on PBS News Hour that we are only two votes shy of the 67 or 2/3 needed to ratify the treaty. Network members are encouraged to reach out to their Senators during this recess to educate them about the importance of the treaty.  For more information, see AUCD's talking points on the treaty.


The CCD Transportation Task Force has shared a request for proposals (RFP) for local and regional advocates to convene an event aimed at educating the public and policy makers about the need for accessible, affordable transportation for all and/or about existing programs that accomplish these goals.  These discussions will be vital early in the coming year as Congress debates a long term surface transportation bill that has the capacity to provide access to transportation and could highlight the need for employment, accessible housing and community integration.  Applications are due by Nov. 21. There will be an informational teleconference this Thursday. RSVP for this call by sending an email to [email protected].  For the RFP, email [email protected]

Public Policy at the AUCD Annual Conference

This year's annual meeting has a lot to offer those interested in public policy, starting with Sunday's workshop on how to package research findings to inform policymakers.  The opening plenary session on Monday will expand on this concept of packaging our expertise and knowledge with policymakers and divers audiences to make an impact and accelerate progress. Tuesday's morning plenary features our federal Administration partners from the departments of Labor, Education, and the Administration for Community Living moderated by award-winning national journalist, Judy Woodruff.  The week will wrap up with experts discussing the impact of the election on disability policies and funding a as well as what's in store for the 114th Congress.  Following the policy panel, AUCD network members will be visiting their congressional delegations to update them on their research, education, and training activities. Finally, the conference is packed with presentations on the network's latest research and best practices within concurrent sessions, posters and special interest group meetings.  Hope to see you there!


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