Disability Policy News In Brief

September 30, 2019

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Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
September 30, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 38
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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! Join AUCD in highlighting the employment work across the network and educate others about the value of a workforce inclusive of workers with disabilities.

Action Steps:

  • See how the Office of Disability Employment Policy is celebrating NDEAM.
  • Take on the challenge! Learn more about the Administration for Community Living's (ACL) funded challenge on creating an inclusive talent pipeline for American businesses.

Department of Labor Nomination

The U.S. Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia to be the Secretary of Labor by a vote of 53-44. During the confirmation hearing, many Senators raised concerns about Scalia's record of defending businesses at the expense of people with disabilities and asked questions about his stance on 14c certificates.

Action Steps:

  • You can watch or read the testimony of the nomination hearing here.
  • With NDEAM, now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress and state legislators on the importance of protecting the rights of workers with disabilities and expanding work force participation.

Budget and Appropriations

Last week, the Senate passed stopgap funding for federal agencies through November 21st. This gives Congress and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The continuing resolution (HR 4378) holds off another partial government shutdown until at least November 21st. Debates continue around both abortion policy and the border wall. The House has passed 10 of its 12 spending bills. The Senate has approved 10 of its spending bills with disagreements remaining on the Defense, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Military Construction-VA appropriations bills (S 2474).

Action Steps:

  • Programs and issues we watch remain in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriation bill that still needs passage.
  • To learn what is in the Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations, check out AUCD's first look.

Social Security

On September 11, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2019 (H.R.4280) was reintroduced by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and 20 other co-sponsors. The bill would raise the asset limit, update the earned and unearned income disregard rules, modernize financial eligibility rules and eliminate penalties for resource transfers, marriage and state tax credits. Congress has not adjusted these limits in many years, and these improvements are long overdue.

Action Steps:

  • For more information about this bill, see this policy brief from Justice in Aging.

Older Americans Act

The Dignity in Aging Act of 2019, a bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, has been introduced in the House (HR 4334). This bill will fund vital programs, like Meals on Wheels, that ensure that older Americans have the support they need to age independently and with dignity. The Supporting Family Caregivers Act, a bipartisan bill, was incorporated into the larger Dignity in Aging Act. This will help determine what kinds of targeted support caregivers need as they provide in-home care to family members.

Action Steps:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

NICHD released their strategic plan outlining research goals and priorities for the next five years. New themes include improving child and adolescent health and the transition to adulthood and advancing safe and effective therapeutics and devices for children and people with disabilities.

Action Steps:

  • AUCD and IDDRC provided input as this strategic plan was being developed. You can read our comments here.

Mental Health

Senate Judiciary, HELP and Homeland Security Committees are all considering legislation that could harm disability civil rights and stigmatize people with disabilities. Creating registries with mental health as an indicator or reopening institutions have both been proposed policies to address gun violence. The disability community has been actively engaged and expects movement on this soon.

Action Steps:

  • Read a joint statement from members of the disability community and allies on gun violence prevention policy and mental health disabilities.

Civil Rights

AUCD is a member of the Clear2Connect Coalition, a group of organizations from across the U.S. working together to protect the right for Americans with hearing loss to communicate via Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS), also known as captioned telephone service. The Coalition recently filed comments with the FCC about the need to protect quality and access to functional equivalency in telecommunication services for the deaf.

Action Steps:

Share your policy story!

Share your policy story today! The AUCD policy team seeks to share policy ideas in innovative and accessible ways. AUCD will soon be launching a policy blog - AUCD Policy Talk. As someone interested in disability policy, we ask you to consider writing and submitting a blog post. Maybe you have a personal story impacted by a policy. Perhaps there is a local, state or federal level policy that your center is engaged in. The possibilities are endless!

Action Steps:

Tuesdays with Liz: The DD Act in Alabama with Linda Russo and James Tucker

 Liz visited with Linda Russo from the Alabama UCEDD, which is at the Civitan International Research Center & Sparks Clinics, and James Tucker, from the Alabama Disabilities Advocacies Program, which is the P&A in Alabama, to learn about the DD Act in action in Alabama.

Learn more about the DD Act:

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All! is a production of AUCD. Thank you to James Willet, Jr., from the Alabama UCEDD for your help with the production of this episode.


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



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