Disability Policy News In Brief

January 5, 2015

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January 5, 2015   |   Vol. XV, Issue 1
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Happy New Year!

With the new-year, we hope you enjoy the new look of our policy newsletter: In Brief. This version should be easier to read, share, and subscribe. AUCD is also officially launching Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, a brief video spot featuring AUCD policy staffer Liz Weintraub discussing current policy issues.  This more accessible policy brief is intended to highlight major issues discussed in In Brief in a way that is more fun and easy to understand.  Tuesdays with Liz will be published every Tuesday using AUCD's YouTube channel.

New Congress

The House and Senate both reconvene tomorrow for the beginning of the 114th Congress. Fifty-eight new Representatives and thirteen new Senators will be sworn in and House and Senate leaders and committee chairmen will be installed. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is expected to be officially re-elected, but as in the 2013 election, he faces some opposition from within the Republican Party. Representatives Louie Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida have put themselves forward as alternatives.  With Republicans taking the majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will now take on the role of Majority leader.  Both Boehner and McConnell will also have larger Republican majorities since the November elections with 246 Republicans in the House and 54 Republicans in the Senate (but still short the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster). The beginning of the 114th Congress also means that a new slate of committee chairs take their seats in the Senate. The New York Times has published a full list, including their legislative priorities.

To those members of the AUCD network planning to participate in the upcoming LEND/DBP meeting on January 23, please consider coming a day in advance to meet with new or returning Members of Congress.

Congressional Schedule

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has released the House calendar for 2015, including a one-pager and full calendar. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also released a tentative 2015 calendar for the Senate. Congress is expected to act quickly this week on energy and health care legislation, including several bills aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

Department of Labor Home Care Rule

On December 22, DC District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled in Home Care Association of America v. Weil, striking down the "third party employer" mandate of the Department of Labor's new home care regulation. The rule, which officially took effect January 1, takes several steps to extend minimum wage and overtime protection to home care workers, including changing the definition of "companionship services" (which are exempt from these worker protections) and requiring all home care workers employed by a third party to be covered by minimum wage and overtime rules. Judge Leon's decision ends this third party regulation. The Home Care Association has also filed a motion challenging the revised definition of companionship services. Judge Leon has delayed the new definition until January 15. In effect, the implementation of the rule has been delayed until January 15. A hearing is scheduled for January 9 on the matter. AUCD will continue to monitor the litigation and provide updates as they occur.

Learn more from the Department's Home Care and Litigation pages. See December 22 In Brief to learn more about a Dear Colleague letter from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Department Health and Human Services Office on Civil Rights reminding states of their Court's Olmstead obligations while implementing the rule.

Americans with Disabilities Act

AUCD met with organizers of the ADA Legacy Tour, a nation-wide bus tour designed to raise awareness of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act leading up to the 25th anniversary of the landmark civil rights law. To date, the bus has traveled to 18 states and more than 11,500 miles. Given some of the recent legislative and legal attempts to weaken the ADA, it is extremely important to continue to educate policymakers and the public about the ADA. This bus tour is a unique opportunity for AUCD members across the country do just that. The current route is online. To discuss funding a gas stop or to help drive the bus, contact Mark Johnson.


For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

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

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

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