Disability Policy News In Brief

September 4, 2018

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September 4, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 177
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Recess

Congress is back in session this week with the House returning from their month-long recess. As always, their work will impact our lives significantly. Make sure you are sharing your voice.

Action Steps:

  • If your Senators or Representative held a public event, thank them.
  • If you attended, tell them and share what issues you came to speak about.
  • If they didn't have an event, express your interest in a future event.
  • Invite them to visit with you personally.
  • Share what issues you would like to discuss with them.
  • Reach out to their office this week. Ask for details about how the budget and healthcare discussions will impact you and others in your community.

These types of engagement are about building relationships between you and your lawmakers and are essential to making sure your voice is heard in our democracy.

 

Healthcare

Money Follows the Person (MFP) Hearing

On September 5, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing entitled "Opportunities to Improve Health Care." The hearing will include testimony on Money Follows the Person (MFP) and its importance to the public.

Action Step:

  • If your Member is a co-sponsor of the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227/H.R. 5306), please thank them for their support. If they are not, please continue to educate them on the importance of MFP in your state with this toolkit and pre-crafted email.

 

Civil Rights

Judge Kavanaugh

The Senate Judiciary Committee currently plans to hold Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings on September 4, 5, 6, and 7. AUCD's Senior Advocacy Specialist, Liz Weintraub, will be a witness to the committee on September 7. Liz's testimony will focus on the Doe case and on the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Action Steps:

  • Every Senator will have a vote, so contacting both your Senators to share your concerns and speaking specifically about the civil rights of people with disabilities is critical. Phone calls and in-person meetings (including in state offices) are the most impactful.
  • Amplify Liz's testimony by following and sharing AUCD's coverage of the hearing and by calling your Senators.

AUCD has two emails you can send your Senators:

  • One that educates Senators about the concerning aspects of Judge Kavanaugh's record. You can find it here.
  • One that asks Senators to oppose the nomination based on Judge Kavanaugh's record. You can find it here.

Communication to the following Senators is particularly important:

Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV)

If you live in their states, you are encouraged to activate your networks. If you are not in their states, consider reaching out to friends and urge them to activate their voices.

 

Electric Shock Devices in Schools

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts continues to use electric shocks on over 60 students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ-4) is circulating a Dear Colleagues letter calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act on its 2016 proposal to ban the use of electric shock devices.

Action Step:

  • Ask your Members of Congress to sign the letter on banning electric shock devices. Members of Congress can sign on by contacting [email protected]

 

Administration

Assistant Secretary for Family Support at HHS

The Senate confirmed Lynn A. Johnson in a 67-28 vote to be the next Assistant Secretary for Family Support at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Johnson is currently the Executive Director of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services in Colorado, and previously served as Chief of Staff for Jane Norton, the former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. She also served as Deputy Director for Policy and as Human Services Policy Advisor under Bill Owens, the former Governor of Colorado. The new Assistant Secretary also previously ran a consulting firm focused on mental health, high-risk youth, developmental disabilities, early childhood education, and child welfare.

 

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

This week, Liz provides an overview of what public comments on rules and regulations are, and how you can make them.

To read about how to make a public comment, check out AUCD's Public Comment Tool Guide at https://bit.ly/2N14ze0.

You can go to http://www.regulations.gov to submit a public comment.

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

 
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