Disability Policy News

August 31, 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)
                 August 31, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 35

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. COVID-19


Negotiations for further COVID-19 relief legislation remain stalled. While Senate Republicans have circulated details of a $497 billion 'skinny' version of their HEALS Act, called Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools and Small Business Act, they have yet to formally introduce the bill. Although on August recess, both the House and Senate remain on call for a vote if party leaders reach a deal on COVID-19 legislation.


Plain Language:

  • Democratic and Republican lawmakers have stopped working together on a COVID-19 package for now, but might start again in September when the Senate and House return from their break.

What this means to you:

  • It is very possible that Congress will not spend any additional money to help people with disabilities and the people who support them. It is also possible that Congress will pass a law that takes away some civil rights protections during COVID-19. You can call or email Congress to tell them about how COVID-19 has changed your life, for example your housing, services, health, school, or work. Every call and email matters.

Action Steps:

  • Read the full statement from AUCD urging action to protect civil rights.
  • Check out the updated Action Alert from AUCD for more details on how to contact your members of Congress and what to say when you do.
  • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives.

  • list with check marksPresidential Campaign 2020

    The Republican party hosted their National Convention last week, officially nominating President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for the party's 2020 ticket. The four-day event featured a series of live and recorded speeches in Charlotte, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Speakers included party leaders, members of the Trump family, and supporters of the President from across the country.

    At the Democratic National Convention, which took place the previous week, former Vice President Joe Biden was officially chosen as the Democratic nominee for President with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate.


    Plain Language:

    • Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for President and Senator Kamala Harris is the Democratic nominee for Vice President. This week, President Trump and Vice President Pence will officially become the Republican nominees for President and Vice President.
    What this means to you:

    • It’s time to think about who you want to vote for in November and make a plan to vote.  

    Action steps:

    United States Postal Service logo, blue and white envelope with titleUnited States Postal Service

    The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing with Postmaster General DeJoy on Monday, 8/24, on recent changes he's made to Post Office operations. The event followed an emergency House vote on Saturday to pass the Delivering for America Act (H.R.8015) with noticeable bipartisan support (257-150). The Act prohibits changes to Postal Service operations until 2021 and provides $25 billion in funding. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have proposed $10 billion in funding for the USPS in their latest COVID-19 relief 'skinny' legislation. It is currently unlikely that any additional USPS support will be provided due to continued partisan disagreement.


    Plain Language:

    • Many people across the country have noticed that they are getting their mail slower. Lawmakers are trying to figure out why and fix it before the November election.

    What it means to you:

    • If you plan on voting by mail, it is important that you mail in your ballot early. If you get your medications delivered, it is important that you order as early as possible and track your shipments.

    Action Steps:

    • Read the stories collected by NCIL and AAPD about how disruption in the mail service is impacting people with disabilities.
      • Share your stories and concerns with your members of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives.
    • Watch the House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing with postmaster general DeJoy today. 
    • Watch the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Friday, 8/21, hearing with postmaster general DeJoy.
    • If you plan on voting by mail for the November elections, check your state’s rules for absentee voting and request your absentee ballot as soon as possible. You can do both with this easy tool from FiveThirtyEight.

    hand putting ballot in boxVoting 2020

    Election Day is Tuesday, November 3! If we’re going to make an impact in every election, we have to be registered to vote. Now is the time to confirm your registration status and to register if needed.   



    • AUCD is offering a free webinar, Voter Rights and Accessibility, on Friday, September 11, 2020, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.
      • Register today to join us and get connected to tools that help empower persons with disabilities and their families. 

    Action Steps:

    logo of AUCD Policy TalkAUCD Policy Talk

    "Special education laws about individualized education programs, placements, accommodations, and discipline all dictate children's day-to-day experiences and whether they are able to progress academically. When the laws fail children, parents have a basic right to advocate on their behalf. Administrative law judges have a basic responsibility to listen."

    Meera Rothman, college student and former intern at the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Project HEAL, discusses the need to restructure due process to work for parents of students receiving special education services. 


    Action Steps:

    Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

    Tuesdays With Liz

    Liz dives into the steps you should take to vote in the election in November in 'The ABCs of Voting'.


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    For definitions of terms, please see AUCD's List of Policy Definitions