Disability Policy News In Brief

November 26, 2018

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November 26, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 188
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Lame Duck

The House and Senate return today, November 26th, for the last session of the 115th Congress.

Action Steps:

  • Connect with your congressional delegation while they are home urge them to address MFP grants to states to expand access to Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) to help people who are living in or at risk of entering medical institutions return home before they recess. Ask returning members to make Autism CARES reauthorization a priority of the 116th Congress. Use these resource sheets for talking points:
Public Charge Rule

State health officials are increasingly alarmed that thousands of legal immigrants are forgoing Medicaid and Obamacare coverage because of a looming rule that many believe will jeopardize their chances of citizenship. The proposed changes to the public charge rule have been published in the Federal Register. The comment period ends December 10, 2018. Our friends at Rooted in Rights have created video resources that illustrate how the change would impact families that include people with disabilities. Making comments is a critical way to impact policy.

Action Steps:

Health Care

CMS approves Kentucky Waiver

For a second time, the administration has approved Kentucky's controversial Medicaid waiver imposing work requirements on some enrollees. The waiver, which takes effect April 1, is part of a strategy to surmount a June federal court decision that blocked the Kentucky program, a major blow to the Trump administration's efforts to overhaul health coverage for the poor.

Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Tracker

ANCOR has announced the debut of evvtracker.org, a tool for tracking how states plan to implement their Electronic Visit Verification systems. In December of 2016, Congress passed a law requiring states to ensure that many home and community-based services (HCBS) were actually being delivered by requiring providers to electronically verify the service was delivered while still at the place of delivery. States need to comply with these new requirements beginning January 2020, or face penalties to their federal Medicaid contributions to the state.

Action Step:

READI for Disasters Act

Senator Bob Casey (PA) plans to introduce the READI for Disasters Act this week with, Tammy Duckworth (IL) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) as confirmed cosponsors. The READI for Disasters Act would establish a National Commission on Disability Rights and Disasters to study the needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults and others with access and functional needs throughout emergency preparation and planning, disaster response, recovery and mitigation. Additionally it provides financial support for developing and providing technical assistance and training to state and local emergency managers and disaster relief agencies.

Action Steps:
  • Reach out to your Senators now and ask them to co-sponsor. Staff questions and commitments to co-sponsor should be directed to [email protected]
  • Organizations - local, state and national - can sign on as supporters (contact Josh Dubensky [email protected] to add your organization's name and/or share your letter of support)

Keeping All Students Safe Act

The voice of Alex Campbell - advocate and son of LEND alumni Sean Campbell - illustrates the importance of the KASSA Act introduced by Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA-08) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) on November 14, 2018. The legislation would:

  • make it illegal for any school receiving taxpayer dollars to seclude children 
  • limits the use of physical restraint to instances when it is necessary for the safety of students and teachers
  • establish minimum safety standards in schools
  • require states to monitor the law's implementation
  • increase transparency and oversight to prevent future abuse of students
Action Steps:
  • Ask members of your congressional delegation to join as co-sponsors for this legislation.
Every Student Succeeds Act

With more than 20 new incoming governors, states may make changes to their plans for holding schools accountable under the Every Student Succeeds Act. In a recent letter, Frank Brogan, who leads the Education Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, outlined how states can submit proposed changes for federal approval.

Action Step:
  • Read Brogan's letter and engage with the new administration in your state to ensure the needs of student with disabilities are met under revised ESSA plans.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

Catch up on the 2018 midterm election results with Liz as she shares this election's major milestones and how YOU can continue to advocate during the lame duck period.

Check out AUCD's Contacting Congress Tool at https://bit.ly/2Fvfl9M and watch https://youtu.be/tTB164rn8cQ to learn how YOU can contact Congress.


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

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