Disability Policy News In Brief

October 14, 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)
October 14, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 40
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National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) kicked off on October 1st. How are you celebrating? Held every October, NDEAM is a fitting time to educate aboNDEAM picture from DOLut disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The 2019 NDEAM theme is "The Right Talent, Right Now."

Action Steps:

Digital Accessibility

On October 7th, the US Supreme Court rejected Domino's Pizza's request that the court take up the issue of website and mobile accessibility. This leaves the case of Domino's Pizza LLC v. Robles with the decision of the 9th Circuit, which ruled that digital inaccessibility impedes access to goods and services of physical businesses, which under the ADA are places of public accommodation. The case was originally brought by Guillermo Robles, who sued the pizza chain after he was unable to order food on the Domino's website and mobile app despite using screen-reading software.

Federal Spending

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on October 10, 2019, that requires federal agencies to have proposed offsets for any actions that result in mandatory spending increases. Those proposals must be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review.


Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) to study how different medications and treatments compare, so that patients and their caregivers have the information they need to choose the health care and treatment options that are best for them. A short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) (HR 4278) was passed to extend funding for PCORI to November 21. However, while it authorized the program it did not extend any of the funding mechanisms, leaving PCORI unable able to receive FY2020 funds. Congress will need to pass a long-term "extenders package" that will provide a lengthy reauthorization and extension of PCORI by the end of the calendar year.

Action Steps:

  • Share with your members your perspective on the importance of patient-centered research and the need not only to extend the program but all its funding mechanisms.
  • Learn more about advocacy from Friends of PCORI Reauthorization.

A lawsuit, Texas v. United States, was initially filed in February 2018 by 20 Republican state attorneys general and Republican governors. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act after Congress enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which "zeroed out" the individual mandate penalty beginning in 2019. Without the penalty, the plaintiffs argue that the mandate is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments over whether to affirm or reverse the district court decision that declared that the entire ACA is invalid. A ruling is expected soon which could result in the entirety of the ACA being struck down. If in favor of the plaintiffs, an appeal to the US Supreme Court is likely.

Action Steps:

  • Read the Amicus Brief here. (Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in court cases by interested members of the community. The briefs advise the court of relevant, additional information or arguments that the court might wish to consider which can have significant impact on judicial decision-making.)

Gun Violence

AUCD signed the joint statement  from the disability community on Gun Violence and proposed policies that could harm disability civil rights and stigmatize people with disabilities.

Action Step:

  • State-level sign-ons are accepted for this statement. If your center or organization would like to sign on, please complete the following form  https://forms.gle/QERXuPmuHJB49dv29

Public Charge

On Friday, October 11, 2019, three rulings blocked the proposed changes to the public charge rule that would make it more difficult for immigrants who rely on public assistance to obtain legal status. Two of the judges on Friday issued nationwide injunctions on enacting the policy, while the judge in California limited her ruling to the nine western states within the Ninth Circuit. The proposed changes to the public charge rule have been released in the Federal Register. Lawsuits filed by 21 states and the District of Columbia argued that the new regulations, which had been due to take effect on Tuesday, discriminate against low-income people from developing countries and undermine the well-being of children whose families might avoid using nutritional, health and other programs. Members of the disability community including AUCD have filed amicus briefs in WA, CA, NY and Cook County, IL.

Action Steps:

  • Protecting Immigrant Families has created an easy to ready impact guide to share widely.
  • You can read the Amicus Briefs filed here. (Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in court cases by interested members of the community. The briefs advise the court of relevant, additional information or arguments that the court might wish to consider which can have significant impact on judicial decision-making.)
Campaign 2020:
Tomorrow is the next Democratic presidential debate, held in Westerville, Ohio. Learn more about the 11 who will be on stage debating and those who are campaigning but will not be present at the debate due to Democratic National Committee rules.

Democrats Debating

Additional Democrats Running


Former Vice President Joe Biden

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado

President Donald Trump

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

Governor Steve Bullock of Montana

Former Governor Bill Weld of Massachusetts

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN

Former MD Rep. John Delany

Former Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, FL

Former Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois

Senator Kamala Harris of California

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio


Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Author Marianne Williamson


Former TX Rep. Beto O'Rourke

Former PA Rep. Joe Sestak


Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont


Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii



Philanthropist Tom Steyer



Businessman Andrew Yang



Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign and debates. Remember to use #CriptheVote on social media.
  • Check out C-SPAN's Event Tracker resource on candidates. You can search for coverage by candidate, state and date.

AUCD Policy Talk: Your Voice in Policy

logo of AUCD Policy Talk  AUCD launched AUCD Policy Talk on Friday! Join us in reading our first blog post. As someone interested in disability policy, we ask you to consider writing and submitting a blog post.

Action Steps:

Tuesdays with Liz: Accommodating Employees and Creating Access for Customers with Walmart's Russell Shaffer

"One person's convenience is another person's access." Russell Shaffer, Director of Global Culture, Diversity & Inclusion at Walmart Inc, spoke with Liz about the importance of large businesses like Walmart accommodating ALL of their employees, and considering how their products and services help ALL of their customers, including people with disabilities.

This episode is part of a series sponsored by Walmart in celebration of Disability Employment Month.

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