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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Federal Legislation

In The Politics of Autism, I write:
No government agency has exclusive jurisdiction over all of these areas. The federal government takes the lead with some, while states and localities may be the main arenas for others. At each level, different bureaucracies deal with different aspects of autism. Courts and private organizations also play important roles in autism policymaking. Each place on the autism policy map has its own jargon and rules, hence the “alphabet soup” that bedevils parents.
Some major legislation before the 116th Congress:

The Autism CARES Act of 2019 (H.R. 1058/ S. 427) would reauthorize the primary federal autism law, the the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support, or Autism CARES, Act. It continue federal support for autism research, prevalence tracking, screening, professional training and other initiatives.

The IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 1878/S. 866) would  bring the federal share of funding for special education programs up to 40 percent, the amount the Congress authorized when the IDEA became law in 1975.  On March 26, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced the bill in the Senate.  House sponsors include Jared Huffman (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY).

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (H.R. 1814/S. 651) would increase from 26 to 46 the age threshold for tax-favored ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts. (ABLE accounts are designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses. To establish an account, an individual must have a qualifying impairment that began before the individual attained the age threshold.)  House sponsors include Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Senate sponsors include Bob Casey (D-PA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 2035/S. 995) would reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program (LRCP) program through FY 2024 at $200 million over five years. The bill was introduced in the House by Jim Langevin (D-RI), Cathy McMorris Rodgers  (R-WA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and in the Senate by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Disability Integration Act (H.R. 555/S. 117)   This bill would prohibit government entities and insurance providers from denying community-based services to individuals with disabilities that require long-term service or support that would enable such individuals to live in the community and lead an independent life.  House sponsor is F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senate sponsor is Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (H.R. 873/S. 260) would phase out subminimum wage certificates over the next six years, support people with disabilities as they enter the workforce, and provide grant funding to employers as they navigate the new labor market. House sponsors are Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Senate sponsor is Bob Casey (D-PA).