Disability Policy News In Brief

October 8, 2018

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October 8, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 182
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Congressional Calendar

The House is on recess and will reconvene on November 13. This means all members of the House will be in their districts in the run-up to the midterm elections. The Senate is on recess on October 8 and will reconvene at 3 PM on October 9. Connecting while members are home campaigning is a great way to show that you are interested in partnering for good policy in the long term.

This issue of In Brief includes several topics we encourage you to connect with your Member about. It is fair to use the campaign period to raise issues that you care about not only with the incumbent, but also with other candidates running to represent you.

Action Steps:

  • Call your lawmakers' district offices and ask for appointments with your Representatives while they are home.
  • Attend a town hall.
  • Connect with them at a public event (parade, festival, etc.)
  • Submit an op-ed to your local paper.
  • Use Facebook or Twitter to engage your members of Congress.



As midterm elections approach, voting is more important than ever. The voter turnout rate of people with disabilities was six percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities during the 2016 election. There are resources you can use to address that gap.

Action Step:

  • Learn more, share, and use resources to ensure access to voting for people with disabilities.
  • The National Association of the Deaf has established an ASL Voter Hotline to answer any questions you have about voting.
  • Use the League of Women Voters' guide to see the races on your ballot, compare candidates' positions side-by-side, and print out a "ballot" indicating your preferences. Educate yourself about the candidates running to represent you, print your "ballot" as a reminder and take it with you to the polls on Election Day.
  • Learn what you need to know about ADA voting accessibility.



Public Charge Rule

We have learned that the proposed changes to the public charge rule are expected to be officially published in the Federal Register on October 10. The text of the rule has also been released. Once the proposed rule is officially published, the public will be able to comment on it. The comment period will last 60 days.

Action Step:


Supreme Court

AUCD is grateful for the efforts made to educate and advocate for civil rights of people with disabilities during the confirmation process for Justice Kavanaugh. Following a confirmation vote of 50-48, Justice Kavanaugh has assumed the seat previously held by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Action Step:


  • Contact both of your Senators. Say thank you or express your concerns. Share that you continue to be committed to ensuring that the legal system defends the civil rights of people with disabilities.



Reporting on Assessing ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

The National Center on Learning Disabilities has issued its report Assessing ESSA: Missed Opportunities for People with Disabilities. The report contains the first analysis of how state educational plans authorized by ESSA are supporting students with disabilities in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The report's authors have also created a rating system to assess whether a state's plan has provided meaningful support since the law's implementation so far.

Action Steps:




October marks National Disability Awareness Employment Month. President Trump issued a presidential proclamation acknowledging the month. It can be read here.


On October 3, the Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4), sending the measure to the White House for signature and enactment. The bill's passage marks the culmination of a complicated reauthorization process for the agency that has lasted for more than four years. The reauthorization bill includes several key reforms that disability advocates have long sought, including a Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights and an increase in civil penalties for harm done to passengers with disabilities or their wheelchairs.

Action Step:

Contact members of your Congressional delegation. Thank them for the inclusion of the Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights and share what issues matter most to you during air travel.


State Specific Action Steps

Individuals and organizations in the following states are encouraged to share their voices by giving comment on proposed changes to Medicaid programs in their states. Issues and populations impacted vary since Medicaid is made up of complex programs in each state.



New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services has completed revisions to the statewide HCBS transition plan. The plan is available on their website and written comments will be accepted until October 22:


North Dakota

  • North Dakota's statewide HCBS transition plan is out for public comment through October 28. You can read the plan here.



  • Michigan's statewide HCBS transition plan is out for public comments through October 26. The public notice can be found here.



  • Missouri has submitted an amendment to the Gateway to Better Health Demonstration which would authorize the provision of a limited substance use disorder benefit and would update the standard terms and conditions to clarify that the state is not required to adhere to the rebate requirements of Section 1927 of the Social Security Act. Comments must be submitted by October 30.



  • Tennessee has posted an amendment to the TennCare II Demonstration which would impose a work/community engagement requirement on parents and caretakers, unless they are exempt. The state is accepting comments through October 26.


Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

Don't just be a voter - be an EDUCATED voter!

This week on Tuesdays with Liz, Liz shares how to get information about the candidates who are running for office on your state's Board of Elections website. Visit https://www.usa.gov/election-office and select your state or territory from the drop down menu, then click 'Go' and you will be taken to your state or local election office website where you can learn more about the candidates' positions on issues that matter to you.


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

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

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