Disability Policy News In Brief

March 4, 2019

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March 4, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 9
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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). Currently 14 members of Congress from only eight states and territories (FL, Guam, IN, MI, NJ, NY, PA, WY) have joined as co-sponsors.

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.”


Strategic Planning

The Request for Information period has closed for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) strategic planning. NICHD reports that staff will be analyzing the responses and convening small working groups to review and finalize the plan’s research themes as they near the final steps of the strategic planning process.


Money Follows the Person

The Empower Care Act was introduced last week in the Senate (S. 548) by Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) and in the House (H.R. 1342) by Congresspersons Guthrie (R-KY) and Dingell (D-MI). This bill would extend and improve the Money Follows the Person program (MFP) through 2023.

Action Steps:


Health Care

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m., entitled “Strengthening Our Health Care System: Legislation to Lower Consumer Costs and Expand Access.” Planned topics include:

  • Provide $10 billion per year for states to use for reinsurance funding to bring down premiums or for lowering out-of-pocket costs for consumers.
  • Provide $100 million per year for navigators that help sign people up for coverage.
  • Provide $200 million for states to set up state-run Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Action Steps:

  • Reach out to your Representatives and share the needs of people with disabilities in our healthcare system.


Restraint and Seclusion

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint.” Video archive of the hearing, along with the full submitted testimony of each witness has been posted.

Action Steps:

  • Review the testimony shared in the hearing.
  • 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.


Higher Education

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), outlined her priorities last Thursday for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act this year as she begins "good-faith negotiations" with HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and committee Republicans over a bill.

Action Step:

  • Reach out to your Representative and both of your Senators and share your priorities for making sure the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act meets the needs of people with disabilities.


Campaign 2020

The Democratic National Committee announced plans for the party's first two presidential primary debates. The first debate will take place in June and be sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo; the second will be held in July, hosted by CNN. Both debates could be held over two weeknights, with the field of candidates being randomly separated into two 10-person stages if necessary.

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

  • Jay Inslee (D), Governor of Washington state, announced on February 28, 2019
  • 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: Autism CARES Act Reauthorization

Tune in as Liz goes over what the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act is and why it's so important that Congress reauthorize it.


Learn more about the Autism CARES Act at https://bit.ly/2HaywVO

Educate Congress about the importance of CARES at https://bit.ly/2XyUmYS

Ask your congressmembers to co-sponsor CARES at https://bit.ly/2XyUmYS


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

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