Disability Policy News In Brief

March 11, 2019

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March 11, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 10
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On Monday, March 11, President Trump will release his budget proposal for federal fiscal year 2020 (which starts on October 1). The President's budget proposal lays out the Administration's funding priorities and values. Media reports suggest that President Trump's budget will propose deep cuts in domestic spending, an area of the budget known as non-defense discretionary spending. We won't know the details of proposed cuts for specific programs right away, since the budget will be released in two parts (the second part is expected during the week of March 18). But on Monday, we will know the overall amount proposed for non-defense discretionary spending, and we'll be able to compare that amount to previous levels of spending and national needs.

Action Steps:

Learn More:

Take Action:

  • Share your reactions to proposed cuts to non-defense discretionary spending with your members of Congress when the budget is released. Speak about the programs and investments that are critical to people with disabilities. 

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 six Senators and 21 Representatives from 14 states and territories (FL, Guam, IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, PA, SC, 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."


ABLE Age Adjustment Act

Sen. Casey together with Sens. Moran, Van Hollen, and Roberts, reintroduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act(S. 651). The bill makes ABLE accounts available to anyone who has acquired a disability prior to their 46th birthday. ABLE savings accounts allow people with disabilities to save for disability expenses and long-term needs without risking many of their federal disability benefits, and are currently available only to those who acquire their disability prior to their 26th birthday, leaving out millions - including veterans - who would otherwise qualify. 

Action Steps:

Learn more:

Take Action:

  • Call your Senators: Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators to ask for their support and co-sponsorship.

Money Follows the Person

The Empower Care Act has been introduced 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:

Disability Integration Act

The Disability Integration Act (DIA) (S.117 and HR. 555) was introduced on January 15th.  This legislation would prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports. Advocates are pushing for passage by the House before July 26, 2019, the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are critical as co-sponsors of the Disability Integration Act (DIA) in order to achieve movement on this bill.

Additional resources:

Action Step:

  • Call your members of Congress: Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative.

Once connected, ask to speak with a staff member who handles civil rights and/or disability issues. Make sure you give them your name and identify that you are a constituent. Tell the staff member, "Please tell Representative [NAME] that I want them to co-sponsor the Disability Integration Act (H.R. 555) today!"

Disproportionality in Special Education

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on March 7, 2019, that the U.S. Department of Education had engaged in an 'illegal delay' of the Equity in IDEA regulations. The regulations were supposed to go into effect on July 1, 2018, and would have implemented the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements relating to significant racial disproportionality. The federal court's ruling requires those 2016 final regulations to go into effect immediately. The decision comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against the Department by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), who were represented by the National Center for Youth Law. The suit alleged that the Department had taken actions that interfere with their obligation under the IDEA to ensure children with disabilities get the education services they need in the most appropriate setting without regard to their race.

Action Step:

  •  Connect with leaders in your state to begin the work of implementing this important rule.

Campaign 2020

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: Tuesdays with Liz: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month!

March is Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. Liz goes over what that means and the types of discrimination a person with a developmental disability can face.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AS_mx-bbD1U" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>



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