Miscellaneous News: Registration Open for The Arc’s National Convention

Are you ready to join advocates from all over the country? Registration is officially open for The Arc’s 2019 National Convention in Washington, DC. Whether you’re a professional looking to develop skills, a person with I/DD or family member trying to expand your advocacy and support network, or an ally interested in getting more involved in the disability community, we have a program that will speak to you! You’ll connect with other passionate advocates from across the country and learn how to navigate and work to improve employment, education, housing, technology, criminal justice, and more. Register today!

Autism/Family Support: House Committee Approves Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite, F2F Health Information Centers Reauthorizations

On July 17, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R 1058, as amended); the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.2035); and the Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act (H.R. 2328, as amended), which includes extension of the Family to Family (F2F) Health Information Centers through 2023. The Autism CARES Act funds autism research, surveillance, and education programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Lifespan Respite Care Program, through grants to states, helps build coordinated state lifespan respite systems, helps family caregivers pay for respite or find funding sources, encourages development of new and innovative community and faith based respite opportunities, and trains respite workers and volunteers. Family to Family (F2F) Health Information Centers provide critical support to families caring for children and youth with special health care needs (and assist providers, state and federal agencies, legislators, and other stakeholders to better understand and serve this constituency). These bills must next be approved by the full House of Representatives and then taken up by the Senate. Visit the Committee website for more information, including video of the markup. The Arc supports all three reauthorizations and is very pleased that the amendment to the Autism CARES Act requires three self-advocates (up from two) on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

Budget & Appropriations: Broad Budget Deal Reached

On July 18, the Administration and Congressional leaders announced an agreement on topline budget numbers for the next two fiscal years as well as to increase the debt ceiling. The deal would avert the scheduled nearly 10% cut in discretionary programs that include housing, employment, education, transportation, and many other disability-related programs for Fiscal Year 2020. As leaders work to identify offsets to cover the costs of this deal, disability advocates are working to ensure that offsets do not come at the expense of other programs that benefit people with disabilities.

Employment: President Nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor Secretary

On July 18, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Eugene Scalia for Secretary of Labor. Scalia is currently a partner at the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm. He served as chief legal officer at the Department of Labor from 2002 to 2003. The Department of Labor is the agency responsible for the implementation of federal labor and employment laws, including those relating to wages and hours. Additionally, it includes the Office of Disability Employment Policy, which is a non-regulatory agency that promotes employment of people with disabilities.

Employment: House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

On July 18, the House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act (H.R.582), which increases the federal minimum wage to $15.00 an hour over the course of six years. Additionally, it eliminates the use of subminimum wage for people with disabilities under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act over the same six-year period. There is no scheduled action on the bill in the Senate. This is the first time that a bill to eliminate 14(c) has passed a body of Congress.

Miscellaneous News: Registration Open for The Arc’s National Convention

Are you ready to join advocates from all over the country? Registration is officially open for The Arc’s 2019 National Convention in Washington, DC. Whether you’re a professional looking to develop skills, a person with I/DD or family member trying to expand your advocacy and support network, or an ally interested in getting more involved in the disability community, we have a program that will speak to you! You’ll connect with other passionate advocates from across the country and learn how to navigate and work to improve employment, education, housing, technology, criminal justice, and more. Register today!

Autism/Family Support: House Subcommittee Approves Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite Reauthorizations

On July 11, the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously voted to approve the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R.1058); and the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.2035). The Autism CARES Act funds autism research, surveillance, and education programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Lifespan Respite Care Program, through grants to states, helps build coordinated state lifespan respite systems, helps family caregivers pay for respite or find funding sources, encourages development of new and innovative community and faith based respite opportunities, and trains respite workers and volunteers. These bills must next be approved by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. Visit the Committee website for more information, including video of the markup.

Tax: Mississippi Opens Qualified ABLE Program

In June, Mississippi opened a new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 43. The program is open to all eligible individuals nationwide. It has six investment options and a checking option with a debit card. The program has a quarterly maintenance fee of $15 with a $3.75 discount for opting to receive statements via email and a $1.25 discount for Mississippi residents. Asset-based fees for investment options range from 0.34% to 0.38%. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here.

Miscellaneous News: Registration Open for The Arc’s National Convention

Are you ready to join advocates from all over the country? Registration is officially open for The Arc’s 2019 National Convention in Washington, DC. Whether you’re a professional looking to develop skills, a family member trying to expand your advocacy and support network, or an ally interested in getting more involved in the disability community, we have a program that will speak to you! You’ll connect with other passionate advocates from across the country and learn how to navigate and work to improve employment, education, housing, technology, criminal justice, and more. Register today at convention.thearc.org!

Autism/Family Support: House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite Reauthorizations

On June 25, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Reauthorizing Vital Health Programs for American Families.” The hearing examined four bills reauthorizing health laws, including the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act and the Lifespan Respite Care Act. Witnesses for these reauthorizations were Amy Hewitt, Director, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota; and Jill Kagan, Director, ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. Visit the committee website to review testimony and archived video of the hearing.