Disability Policy News In Brief

February 25, 2019

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
February 25, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 8
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Autism CARES 2019   

The Autism CARES Act - which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families - will sunset (expire) in September 2019 without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427).

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Congressional delegation and make sure they are engaged in the reauthorization. 
  • Invite your Congressmembers to be a co-sponsor of Autism CARES, or thank them for their involvement. 
  • Use this easy form to send an educational email to your members about the importance of Autism CARES legislation.
  • Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121, and advocate as a private citizen for the bill's reauthorization.

Sample Script: I am [Name] from [State]. I have seen the impact of Autism CARES and the lives changed because of this important legislation. I urge you to co-sponsor reauthorization. Thank you.

District Work Week

Congress returns to DC this week after its week-long recess, making this the ideal time to reach out to your Congressional delegation.

Action Steps:

  • If your Representative or Senators had a public event in the district that was of interest to you, thank them.
  • If your Representative or Senators made a public statement about an issue you are interested in while home, call them to follow up on what that means for policy that you care about. 

Health Care

Secretary Alex Azar delivered his 2019 State of the Department Address on February 22nd. The Secretary's remarks focused on efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, a package of drug pricing reforms, new health coverage options and a flurry of new moves from the CMS innovation center - the four priorities he's stressed since taking the role.

Action Step:

  • Contact your Congressional delegation and share how the policies of HHS are impacting your state. 

Higher Education Act

House Education Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) announced a series of bipartisan hearings to mark the start of an effort to update the Higher Education Act. The hearings, which have yet to be scheduled, will focus on the cost of college, accountability, improving student outcomes, the role of community colleges, historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions, and "high-quality pathways" to a degree.

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are set to negotiate a higher education bill in their chamber. Alexander, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chair, has laid out his vision for a bill and says he wants to get it signed into law by the end of this year. 

Restraint and Seclusion

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing at 10:15 a.m. on "Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint." 

Action Steps:

  • Reach out to your Congressional Delegation and ask them to join as co-sponsors of the soon to be introduced Keeping All Students Safe Act.


Campaign 2020

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.

  • Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. Senator from Vermont announced on February 19, 2019
  • Amy Klobuchar (D), U.S. Senator from Minnesota, announced on February 10, 2019
  • Corey Booker (D), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, announced on February 1, 2019
  • Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23, 2019 
  • Kamala Harris (D), U.S. Senator from California, announced on January 21, 2019
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D), U.S. Senator from New York, announced on January 15, 2019
  • Julian Castro (D), former U.S. Secretary of HUD, announced on January 12, 2019
  • Tulsi Gabbard (D), U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced on January 11, 2019
  • Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced on December 31, 2018
  • John Delaney (D), former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed on August 10, 2017

Action Steps:

  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links above); use the sites to ask questions about disability policy.

Tuesdays with Liz: Shelly Christensen Talks Inclusion in the Jewish Community

In recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, Liz chats with Shelly Christensen about her new book, From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community, the intersection of Jewish and disability identities, and the importance of belonging and inclusion.


This video was produced in loving memory of Rabbi Lynn Landsberg.



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