AUCD Legislative News In Brief

July 9, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  July 9, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 27
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Congressional Schedule
Congress returns from a week-long recess this week.  On Tuesday, the House begins consideration of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (see Health Care Reform).  The Senate will hold hearings on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and restraint and seclusion in schools.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will also hold a field hearing Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on "
The Americans with Disabilities Act At 22: A New Generation of Iowans Approaches the Labor Force with High Expectations."  In recognition of the upcoming ADA anniversary, the hearing will highlight successful strategies to help young adults with disabilities achieve success in the labor market.

AUCD Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership
AUCD is still accepting applications for the 2013 Disability Policy Leadership Fellow.  We encourage interested individuals to submit an application by July 30, 2012.  The fellowship is a tremendous and rewarding opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of federal policy and key legislation.  The fellow will get to experience living and working in Washington, DC for one year, learn about AUCD and current federal legislation affecting people with disabilities and their families, and exercise strong leadership skills.  AUCD welcomes applications from any network member who is staff at a UCEDD, LEND, or IDDRC, or a graduate-level trainee.  Past fellows have included recent graduates and mid-career professionals with a variety of expertise in areas such as social work, education, disability studies, business administration, and law. 
Click here to find out more about the fellowship and to read about the experiences of the current fellow, Kristina Majewski, through her blog: "Transitioning into a Brave (New) World."  For more information and to apply, click here.

Disability Treaty
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a
hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on Thursday.  The hearing is the next major step toward Senate ratification of the CRPD.  If the treaty is approved by the Committee, it will need 67 votes to pass the full Senate.  Please visit AUCD's action center to contact your Senators about the CRPD.  Also visit USICD's website to join the USICD sign-on letter and support the ratification of the CRPD.  See May 29 In Brief for background information.  

Restraint & Seclusion in Schools
On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing entitled "Beyond Seclusion and Restraint: Creating Positive Learning Environments for All Students."  The focus of the hearing will be positive alternatives to restraint and seclusion and the need for policies contained in the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020, H.R. 1381), which AUCD strongly supports.  Daniel Crimmins, PhD, Past President of AUCD and Director of the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, will testify.  Visit AUCD's Action Center to contact your member of Congress and build support for the bills.   

Two more states - Wisconsin and Washington - have been approved for waivers from requirements in the nation's main education law, No Child Left Behind.  This announcement brings the total number of states approved to 26, meaning that more than half of states are no longer subject to the accountability system in NCLB.  In order get waivers, states have to adopt college- and career-ready standards and tie evaluations of teachers and schools, in part, to student achievement on standardized tests.  Ten states and the District of Columbia still have applications pending with the Department of Education: Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, and South Carolina.  An additional four states -Alabama, Alaska, Maine, and West Virginia - plan to apply for waivers in the third round of applications in early September.  Several states (ID, KS, AL, AK, ME, WV) were given permission to freeze their student proficiency goals for one year while they wait for approval.  For more information on Wisconsin and Washington's plans, see this recent Education Week article.  The National Center for Learning Disabilities has prepared a more thorough analysis of many of the approved waivers here.

Health Care Reform
The House of Representatives will take up legislation this week to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, with a final vote as early as Tuesday.  The chamber passed similar legislation (H.R. 2) in January 2011, but this newer bill, called the Repeal of Obamacare Act, includes an extensive list of findings explaining its supporters' rationale for wanting to repeal the law.  Although the bill is expected to pass the Republican-controlled House, it is unlikely to advance in the Senate. 

GAO Report on Children's SSI
The Government Accountability Office recently published a new report on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for children.  The report confirms that the Social Security Administration applies stringent criteria to evaluating applications and highlights several important factors about the program.  According to the report, the share of children awarded SSI for mental impairments has remained stable for over a decade, although the diagnoses within the category changed (e.g. intellectual disability diagnosis fell while autism diagnosis rose dramatically).  Additionally, the number of children applying for and receiving SSI has increased due to several factors, including the dramatic rise in child poverty over the last decade.

Save the Date: National Forum on Disability Issues
:  News anchor and journalist Judy Woodruff from the PBS NewsHour has confirmed she will moderate the forum!  Now with over 40 disability and aging organizations as co-sponsors of the Forum, and this big announcement, the planning committee will continue to work on commitments of the candidates.  If you have personal connections with the candidates or their campaign staff or would like to co-sponsor the Forum, please contact Kim Musheno.  For general information on the forum read the FAQ on AUCD's homepage.  To further 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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