AUCD Legislative News In Brief

June 18, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  June 18, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 24
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Congressional Schedule
Both the House and Senate are in session this week.  In the next two weeks, Congress must confront two of the most politically sticky issues that face lawmakers between now and the November elections: extending low interest rates on student loans and a compromise on a $109 billion two-year highway funding bill.  So far, Congress is deadlocked on these two issues.  Also within the next two weeks, the Supreme Court will issue its decision on the constitutionality of portions of the health reform law.  Both parties are reportedly preparing legislation to respond to whatever the Court decides.

ADA/Olmstead Hearing
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing Thursday entitled "Olmstead Enforcement Update: Using the ADA to Promote Community Integration."  Witnesses include Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Henry Claypool, Principal Deputy Administrator at the Administration for Community Living.  The hearing will likely be webcast on the Committee's

Budget & Appropriations
The fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill for programs within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, providing an overall funding level of $158.8 billion.  AUCD network programs are level-funded compared to the current fiscal year (FY 2012), with the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development receiving a small increase.  Other programs authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Act - DD Councils, the Protection and Advocacy Systems and Projects of National Significance - are also level-funded in the bill.  The House Appropriations Committee is planning to markup its Labor-HHS-Ed bill later this month.  Despite this forward movement, the bill is not likely to move further until after the November elections, which means that Congress will need to pass short-term spending bills called continuing resolutions to fund government programs into the new fiscal year that begins October 1.  AUCD will have a complete analysis of the Senate bill within the next few days.  Additional highlights from the Senate Committee's press release are as follows:

The Senate Committee bill includes an increase of $100 million for IDEA Part B and a $20 million increase in Part C early intervention services.  It also adds $10 million to the budget for the National Center for Special Education Research and provides a $70 million increase for Head Start.

Assisting People with Disabilities
The bill includes nearly $12 million to the Department of Education and $7.2 million to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for the Promoting School Readiness for Minors in SSI (PROMISE) program, an interagency effort to improve outcomes for children receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits. The bill also includes a $290 million increase to support SSA's efforts to eliminate the disability hearings backlog by the end of FY 2013.

Health and Prevention
The bill provides an increase of $54 million for Community Transformation Grants to implement evidence-based public health interventions and make preventive services more accessible. The bill provides additional funding to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement the Affordable Care Act. 

Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Justice
announced on January 26, 2012 that it reached a settlement agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia to resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The agreement would shut down four of five state-run facilities, including Southside Virginia Training Center in Dinwiddie County, which houses 225 patients and employs about 900 people.  It would provide 4,200 waiver slots over 10 years for people with intellectual disabilities who are on waiting lists for special services.  (See January 30 In Brief for background).  A fairness hearing on whether to approve the settlement was held before the federal district court in Virginia on Friday, June 8th.   The federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge John Gibney stated he would approve the settlement as long as certain changes were made to the language of the agreement.  Generally, he voiced concerns regarding the lack of clarity of some provisions.  In particular, he wants the agreement to include specific language clarifying that Virginia officials cannot remove residents from their facilities without their consent or that of their parents or authorized representatives.  The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force and other disability advocates continue to follow this issue very closely.

Affordable Care Act: Get the Facts
AUCD offers facts about the law and its implementation in this new section of In Brief.  See all the facts on our Get the Facts page.

AUCD Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership
AUCD is accepting applications for the 2013 Disability Policy Leadership Fellow.  The deadline for applications is
July 30, 2012.  For more information and to apply, click here.

Save the Date: National Forum on Disability Issues
Planning for the 2012 Presidential Forum on Disability Issues continues.  The event will be held on Friday, September 28th in Columbus, Ohio.  This event is a non-partisan forum where presidential and Ohio candidates are scheduled to offer their visions of policy that affect people with disabilities.  Among the 2012 invitees are President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, as well as Ohio U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel.  For general information on the forum contact
Kristina Majewski at AUCD or read the FAQ on AUCD's homepage.  To support the forum, like it on Facebook!


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

For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website:

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