Disability Policy News In Brief

July 6, 2015

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July 6, 2015   |   Vol. XV, Issue 27
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Both chambers of Congress are expected to take up their respective bills to  reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this week.  Debate on the Senate bill, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) is expected to start tomorrow while the Student Success Act (HR 5) is likely to start later this week.   Both bills advanced out of committee but the House Bill was pulled from the floor in February before there was final vote. 

The House is planning on resetting the rules for debate on the bill because it stalled amid conservative objections.  The bill passed the committee on a party-line vote. While on the floor 24 of the 44 amendments were adopted under the initial rule. Currently there are 12 amendments that received no action; therefore, they are still in order. In addition, the House Rules Committee could add any of the other 82 amendments submitted for consideration at the time - as well as proposals submitted this week - as it decides a new rule for debate on Tuesday.  AUCD will be monitoring the amendments.

The Senate bill was unanimously approved by the HELP Committee, but multiple committee members made statements about their reservations before voting for it.  AUCD joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR),and more than 30 national organizations in a letter to the full Senate in anticipation of Senate mark-up of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S.1177). AUCD has also signed on to a letter with LCCHR opposing the current version of HR 5.  The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities sent similar letters to the House and Senate today.

Even if both chambers pass their respective measures leaders will have to deal with two very different bills in a conference committee. Stay tuned for AUCD action alerts on this issue.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Completive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

The fourth meeting of the committee created by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will be held on July13-14th in Washington DC.  The meetings will be open to the public on July 13th from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EDT and on July 14 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The agenda includes the four subcommittees reporting on their work on draft chapters for the interim report; expert panels that will address issues related to transitioning non-integrated work site to Competitive Integrated Employment; and a public comment period on July 14. Instructions about submitting written comments can be found in the Federal Register Notice.

Vocational Rehabilitation

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services published a Notice of Proposed Priority to establish a Workforce Innovation and Technical Assistance Center to provide training and technical assistance to improve services under the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services program and the State Supported Employment Services program for individuals with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, and to implement changes to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, signed into law on July 22, 2014. Comments must be received by Monday, July 21, 2014. Instruction on submission of comments can be found in the Notice.


Last month, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) issued proposed regulations to implement the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE).  The proposed regulations address a number of issues including: the relationship of a person with signature authority and the designated beneficiary of the account; qualifications for eligibility; status of an ABLE account when individual is no longer considered "disabled"; limits on contributions to the account; potential penalties; and qualified expenses. Public comments are due on September 21, 2015.  AUCD will be joining other national organizations to develop and submit comments. Finally, the IRS announced a public hearing related to the NPRM scheduled for October 14, 2015.


This month marks the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To commemorate this historic law there are numerous events across the countryTuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All started the month with a brief history of the ADA and will highlight the anniversary with interviews with disability leaders.   The Department of Labor has launched a timeline line to track the progress that has been made over the past 25 years.  The federal government's website for comprehensive information about disability-related programs, services, policies laws and regulations, has also launched a dedicated site to celebrate.

Higher Education

The Department of Education recently announcement its funding opportunity for the Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Grants.gov: http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=277482 (grant #84.407A) Closing date for applications is August 10 with applications being available June 26, 2015. The Application for the National Coordinating Center is also available at http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=277503  (062615-002) with same deadline.

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


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