Disability Policy News In Brief

April 9, 2018

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April 9, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 156
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Congress

Members of Congress return to DC this week after a two-week recess.

Action Item: If you met with your Members or attended an event where they were present, follow up with a thank you and a reminder of your priorities.  

Budget & Appropriations

Fiscal Year 2018

News reports indicated that the White house is considering using a provision of  the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to cut billions of dollars in spending from the bipartisan omnibus funding deal they just passed March 23. The process would be a rescission resolution requiring a simple majority vote by the Senate. AUCD is monitoring this consideration and meeting with Members to discuss potential implications.

Fiscal Year 2019

House and Senate subcommittees are in the process of crafting 12 appropriation bills for FY19.

Action Item: Continue to education and advocate around LEND and UCEDD funding for FY19. Your messaging to the Senate around FY19 will serve to reinforce the importance of the FY18 funding and is a clear reminder to not adjust the FY18 agreement. Please use the AUCD Action Center to send an email (which you can personalize) to your Members of Congress advocating and/or educating about the importance of LEND, and advocating and/or educating about the importance of UCEDD.

Health

Opioids

The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package enacted last month boosted funding for both the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of which will go toward the opioid crisis.

  • Following six hearings over the past six months, on April 4, Senate HELP Committee leaders released a bipartisan discussion draft of a bill aimed at combating the opioid epidemic. On April 11, the committee will hold a hearing on the Opioid Crisis Response Act, which includes measures attempting to make it easier to prescribe smaller packs of opioids for limited durations, spur the development of nonaddictive painkillers, and bolster the detection of illegal drugs at the border. Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has said he'd like to see opioid legislation marked up this spring.
  • Members of the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee are evaluating more than 30 proposals ranging from improving data sharing to enhancing the Food and Drug Administration's authority to target illicit drugs in the mail. E&C Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), is aiming to introduce legislation by Memorial Day. Prior to this, on April 11, the Healthcare, Benefits and Admin Rules Subcommittee (Chairman Jim Jordan, R-OH) will hold a hearing on "Local Responses and Resources to Curtail the Opioid Epidemic".

Education

Discipline Disparities

On April 4, Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce and Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled, "Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities." The ranking members requested that the GAO investigate disparities in discipline policies and practices applied to students of color, boys, and students with disabilities. The report identified that black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined in K-12 public schools. This pattern of disproportionate discipline persists regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school students attend. In 2014, the Department of Ed and the Department of Justice issued a School Discipline Guidance Package, to remind schools of their legal obligations to administer school discipline without discriminating on the base of race, color, or national origin. Based on the empirical evidence provided in this GAO report, Representatives Scott and Nadler explained that "it is critically important the guidance be strengthened, and not rescinded, as some have suggested."  

Action item: You can submit individual or organizations comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking was issued that would postpone by two years the compliance date for implementing efforts to correct disparate treatment of students of color with disability until May 13, 2018. You may wish to send a copy of your comments to your congressional delegation.

Tribal Consultation

The Department of Education has invited tribal leaders, Native youth, and other stakeholders to a tribal consultation on April 22 in Albuquerque, NM.  they are seeking input on Bureau of Indian Affair's role in overseeing and managing federal education programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

E4Texas

The Texas Center for Disabilities at the University of Texas at Austin announced E4Texas, which is a college-based experience for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to obtain education related to employment, daily living skills, and professionalism. Students will attend classes on the main campus in Austin.

Money Follows the Person

Continue educating your Members of Congress on the importance of Money Follows the Person (MFP) - particularly those members on the House Energy & Commerce Committee - in order to ensure that MFP is reauthorized and people with disabilities have access to their community. Please use this toolkit to help with your advocacy. Bill numbers: EMPOWER Care Act - S. 2227 and HR 5306.

HCBS Settings Rule

In 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the HCBS Settings Rule. Please visit hcbsadvocacy.org for background and timeline. Action Items: Advocates should continue to work with their state Medicaid Agency regarding: 1) comprehensive person-centered planning best practices, 2) timely notice of public comment periods in order to respond to revised statewide transition plans, 3) ongoing monitoring of settings that were deemed isolating. If you have any questions please contact Christine Grosso.

2018 Disability Policy Seminar

The Trainee Orientation archived webinar, which highlighted what you can expect and how you should prepare, is now available. Please also remember to register:

Appointments

On March 30, the President announced the following appointments to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities: Emily Colson of MA, Olegario Cantos VII of VA, Claudia Horn of NC, Stephanie Hubach of PA, Annette Liike of MI, Vijayalakshmi Appareddy of TN, Karen Moderow of CA, and Christopher Glenn Neeley of SC. See also AUCDs summary of background and biographies for each appointee. Action Item: Reach out to Members with whom you have connections or who are from your state, congratulate them and share about your work and experience.

Policy Internship

Each semester, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) hosts 2 internship positions in DC. Interns gain valuable experience in the nation's capital and build skills necessary to be ideal candidates for open positions at NCIL, CILs, and other advocacy organizations around the country. The NCIL Policy Internship Program is open to students and individuals pursuing a career in a field relevant to NCIL interests, particularly Independent Living and disability advocacy. Visit the NCIL site for more information on eligibility. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and letter of recommendation to Lindsay Baran at lindsay@ncil.org before April 30. 

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

The Tuesdays with Liz series is taking a break while Liz Weintraub is on detail working with the Senate Aging Committee. Tuesdays with Liz will return to a regular taping schedule and new episodes will air in the late Spring when Liz returns to AUCD. Until then, we will be highlighting some of our favorite Tuesdays with Liz episodes from this past year here and on social media at @AUCDnews.

This week we are revisiting Liz's interview with Finn Gardiner of ASAN Boston as he reflects on his work in involving self-advocates in Autism Research.

 

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For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

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

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