Disability Policy News

February 17, 2020

Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
                February 17, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 7

three people, one female, one male, one male using wheelchairHome and Community Based Services (HCBS)

Senator Casey (D-PA) introduced the HCBS Infrastructure Improvement Act (S. 3277) to provide federal funding through multi-year grants to help states' HCBS service delivery systems. States would have the flexibility to use funding to achieve three or more of the following goals: Expand the supply and availability of affordable, accessible housing;  Provide accessible, affordable, reliable, equitable transportation options;  Increase wages and benefits and support and sustain direct care professionals; Expand competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities; and Build comprehensive, no-wrong-door application, referral and counseling systems. 

Plain Language:

  • This bill would give money to states to create better home and community-based services and systems for people with disabilities.

What this means to you:

  • Through waivers and state plan options, Medicaid offers states ways to provide HCBS. Yet, the needs are more than the available services. In 2017, more than 700,000 individuals were on wait lists to receive HCBS. States need resources to improve their service delivery networks to meet the needs of people with disabilities and older adults.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Senators to sign on as co-sponsors: United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121.

FDA logoAbuse and Neglect

Senators Murray (D-WA) and Murphy (D-CT) along with other Democratic senators wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner to immediately end the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) on children and adults with disabilities. The rule was first proposed on April 25, 2016. In the fall of 2018, and again in 2019, the FDA announced they intended to finalize the rule by December 2019. They are urging the FDA to finalize a proposed rule immediately.

Plain Language:

  • Senators are asking the government to end abusing people with disabilities.

What this means to you:

  • ESDs-which attach to the skin and allow another person to use electric shocks-are still allowed to be used as a form of punishment and behavioral control.

Action Steps:


Senator Udall (D-NM) and U.S. Representative Lowenthal (D-CA), along with Senator Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 (HR 5845, S 3263). It would phase out unnecessary single-use plastic products, hold companies accountable for wasteful products, reduce wasteful packaging, and reform our broken waste and recycling collection system.

 Plain Language:

  • This bill would get rid of using some plastic products to help the environment.

What this means to you:

  • Our global environmental challenges affect people with disabilities. At the same time, the changes in production and practice could impact access to items that have made communities more accessible. The bill authors worked with the disability community to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are protected as we shift environmental practices.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors: United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121.

Medicaid Work Requirements
Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Gresham v. Azar, about the Trump administration's approval of a restrictive Medicaid waiver project work requirements. Judge David Sentelle issued the unanimous opinion. The panel found that in approving the project without considering its effect on Medicaid coverage, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

Plain Language:
  • A decision has been made that Medicaid work requirements can not happen.
What this means to you: 
  • It means that thousands of low-income people will maintain their health insurance coverage - coverage that enables them to live, work, and participate as fully as they can in their communities.
Action step:

checklistCampaign 2020

After last week's New Hampshire primary, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennett, and Deval Patrick have dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.


DPSDisability Policy Seminar

Registration is now open for the Disability Policy Seminar and the AUCD Emerging Leaders Policy Forum.  Learn more information about the events.

You do need to register for both events if you plan to attend the Sunday AUCD Policy Forum before DPS.

AUCD Policy Talklogo of AUCD Policy Talk

Happy Valentine's Day from #AUCDPolicyTalk! Learn why we need to talk about sex from Parris Boyd @IODTempleU


Action Steps:

AUCD logoLove Policy? We do too!

Check out AUCD's new policy resource, a one-page fact sheet to help explain AUCD's policy efforts, and engage with us today!


image of person writing. Text: Fellowship
AUCD Disability Policy Fellowship
Applications are open for the full year (June 2020-May 2021) AUCD Disability Policy Fellowship. Persons with disabilities or family members, and persons from culturally diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub Tuesdays With Liz

Disability Access is a Right with Haben Girma

"We have a lot of work to do to make our world more inclusive." --Haben Girma, 2019 AUCD Conference featured speaker

Haben knows that being deafblind does NOT make her inferior; the world needs to work harder to accommodate her, as is law under the Americans with Disabilities Act. She advocates and tells her story so that everyone has a stronger understanding of what it's like to navigate college and a career as a deafblind individual in her book "Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law."


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