Disability Policy News In Brief

May 30, 2016

Christine Grosso, MS
Public Policy Analyst
[email protected]

Kim E. Musheno
Director of Public Policy
[email protected]

Siddarth Nagaraj, MALD
Senior Program Specialist

Liz Weintraub
Senior Advocacy Specialist
[email protected]

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
May 30, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 74
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Editor's Note: We have published the May 30th edition of Disability Policy News In Brief early in honor of Memorial Day. We hope everyone enjoys the holiday weekend!

Civil Rights/ADA

On May 19, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing, which included testimony regarding a bill that would weaken Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The bill, ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services Act (HR 241), would allow businesses to be notified if they are in violation of the law and to be given time to comply before a law suit can be filed. AUCD signed onto a letter of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in strong opposition to this bill.  The letter asserts that the ADA does not provide damages for failure to comply with the ADA (several states allow for damages, but not the federal law.)  CCD member Kelly Buckland, executive director of NCIL, testified in opposition to the bill.  His testimony points out that it is actually very difficult to find a lawyer to bring an ADA complaint against a place of public accommodations because it cannot collect damages.  Businesses have had more than a quarter of a century to comply with the law, Buckland added.  ADA Notification bills have also been introduced in the past.

Medicaid and Incarcerated Youth

AUCD signed onto a letter, along with several other organizations, that responds to the recent bill introduced by Representatives Cardenas (D-CA) and Griffith (R-VA) and Senators Murphy (D-CT) and Booker (D-NJ); the At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act (H.R.5100, S.2874) aims to improve access to Medicaid coverage and health services for young people under 21 by requiring that states not terminate Medicaid benefits for youth who enter the justice system. The option to suspend rather than terminate Medicaid coverage while a person is incarcerated makes it easier for a person leaving the criminal justice system to regain health coverage upon their release. This ensures quicker access to mental health services, prescribed medicines, and other needed care. It also helps to improve the health of local communities and can reduce the chance of people returning to jail or prison.


On May 18, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the final Overtime rule with an effective date of December 1 of this year. Along with the rule, DOL announced a non-enforcement policy; meaning from December 1, 2016 to March 17, 2019, the Department will not enforce the updated salary threshold of $913 per week for the subset of employers covered by this non-enforcement policy. Throughout the duration of this non-enforcement policy, the Department will engage in outreach and technical assistance efforts, including to providers of services in settings covered by this policy. This non-enforcement policy does not apply to providers of Medicaid- funded services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) in residential care facilities with 16 or more beds. That being said, it does apply to providers of Medicaid-funded services for individuals with I/DD in residential homes and facilities with 15 or fewer beds. This non-enforcement timeframe is intended to align with the implementation timeline of the Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) final rule, which will allow Medicaid HCBS providers, who qualify, to prepare for the implementation. AUCD is in the midst of analyzing the rule and the non-enforcement policy more closely. DOL has also released guidance and fact sheets, and will be hosting a webinar that can be found here.


On May 26, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement provisions of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regarding school accountability, data reporting, and consolidated state plans (an official version of the NPRM will be published in the May 31 Federal Register).  While AUCD is still reviewing the proposed rules, the Association issued a statement supporting the Department's efforts to write rules that focus on making data accessible to families and communities, ensuring students with disabilities are included in all school accountability systems, and supporting States and local school districts to create interventions that address the needs of children with disabilities when they are in a consistently underperforming subgroup. The Department allows for a 60 day comment period. AUCD will prepare comments and urges network members and allies to contribute to these comments and to develop and submit their own.  For more information, please see the Department's fact sheet, chart comparing the NPRM to NCLB and a press release.


On May 19, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the "Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act" (S. 2962). The bill would expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by 50 percent (phased in by ten percent per year for the next five years), allowing the program to create or preserve approximately 1.3 million affordable homes (or 400,000 more units) over 10 years, than under the current program. The LIHTC program provides much-needed funding for construction and preservation of affordable housing across the US. Under this provision, a portion of the housing credit units in a given development could be offered to low-income households with incomes above the housing credit's current limit of 60 percent of area median income so long as the average income limit for the property remains at 60 percent of area median income or less. Though the general expansion of LIHTC is a positive step, this bill does not include additional income targeting Extremely Low Income households (defined as incomes at or below 30% of the area median). This is an area that AUCD, in partnership with the CCD, will continue to monitor.

FDA Ban on Electric Stimulation Devices

As was reported in last week's In Brief, the FDA is extending the comment period for the proposed rule to ban electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) for an additional 60 days (to July 25). AUCD along with several other organizations signed on to a letter expressing concern about delaying the timeline.  The letter urges the Administration to finalize the rules prohibiting ESDs as soon as possible. This letter calls on the White House to take all steps necessary to ensure that the final rule is shepherded through the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and published no later than October 31, 2016.  AUCD already submitted comments in line with the original deadline of May 25.  In addition, AUCD developed and submitted joint recommendations with its DD Act partners at NDRN and NACDD.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All       

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Lydia Brown who is talking about the Women with Autism project and the Anthology. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Robyn Powell from the Disabled Parenting Project about people with disabilities who are parents.


For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

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

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

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

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