Amie Lulinski is taking a position on The Arc of the United States Public Policy Office
in Washington D.C.! We congratulate Amie on this important appointment and look
forward to working with her in our National Office. Well done Amie! Amie also serves
on The Arc of Illinois Board of Directors as Secretary.

On my way to Springpatch as the clock winds down on this important legislative
session.

Tony

Capitol Insider

Major Events Last Week

Health/Autism – Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act Introduced in
the House

On May 9, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4631) was
introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ).   The bill largely extends the
research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training activities under
the Combating Autism Act for an additional 5 years.  It does, however, include a few
changes.  The bill reforms the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to
promote greater coordination among federal agencies.  The bill also requires the
Government Accountability Office (GAO) to re view the existing landscape of services
(federal, state, local government, and the private and non-profit sectors), conduct a
survey of stakeholders, and make recommendations to enhance coordination,
efficiency, and the value of the services currently provided to assist individuals with
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Unfortunately, this bill does not include a name
change.  Learn more about the Combating Autism Act on The Arc’s website.

Health/Autism – Senate Bill Introduced for Military Coverage of Behavioral
Health Therapy

On May 14, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY),
and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Caring for Military Children with Developmental
Disabilities Act of 2014.
  This bill requires TRICARE, the Department of Defense and
retiree health program for members of the uniformed services and their families, to
provide coverage for behavioral health treatments, including applied behavior analysis
(ABA).   Under current TRICAR E policies, many children are denied coverage for ABA,
and those children who do receive care often receive less than the prescribed treatment.
Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia currently require private insurers to cover
ABA as a medically necessary service for most children with a developmental disability
and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management also categorizes ABA as a “medical
therapy” and covers ABA for federal employees’ dependents.  Learn more at Senator
Murray’s website
.

Education – Department of Education Released Guidance Outlining Charter
Schools’ Responsibilities Under Federal Civil Rights Laws

On May 14, the Department of Education released guidance clarifying that charter
schools – like all public schools – have a federal obligation to ensure that all children,
regardless of race, national origin, sex, or disability status, receive a fair and equal
opportunity to succeed.  Charters have grown significantly in recent years and now
make up nearly 6 percent of the nation’s public schools – three times the number in
1999.  Read the Department’s letter on their website.

Major Events This Week

Autism – House Subcommittee Hearing Announced

On May 20, the Government Operations Subcommittee of the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee, chaired by Representative John Mica (R-FL), will hold
a hearing on autism spectrum disorders.  The hearing title is “Examining the Federal
Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders”.   For more information, see the committee
website
.

Social Security – Senate to Hold Hearing on Strengthening Social Security

On Wednesday, May 21, the Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Social
Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, chaired by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), will
hold a hearing on “Strengthening Social Security to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow’s
Retirees.”  Witnesses will be: Stephen Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security
Administration; Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci, Chair of the Economics Department, New
School for Social Research, The New School; Dr. Jason J. Fichtner, Senior Research
Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Dr. Maya Rockeymoore,
President & CEO, Center for Global Policy Solutions.  Visit the Committee website to
learn more and to view live video the day of the hearing.

Announcements

Employment – New Guidance on Youth Transition and Vocational
Rehabilitation

The Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), has issued
a technical assistance circular (RSA-TAC-14-03) that addresses a variety of transition-
related issues affecting state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies.  As noted by
RSA, the issues addressed in the TAC “pertain to: (1) the effective collaboration between
VR agencies and State educational agencies (SEA) for the provision of transition
services; (2) the VR process as it relates to referral and application for services, the
determination of eligibility, and the development of the individualized plan for
employment ( IPE); and (3) the services that may be provided through the VR program.
The guidance contained in this TAC will better enable VR agencies to implement
policies and engage in innovative strategies designed to improve the transition of
students with disabilities including those with the most significant disabilities, from school
to the achievement of integrated employment outcomes and careers.”

Education/Employment – National Institutes of Health to Hold Webinars on
Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they will be hosting a three-part
Disability Employment Awareness Webcast Series to provide information on the
employment and inclusion of people with disabilities.  The first webinar in the series
will take place on May 27, 2014 from 11am – 12:30pm EST. Learn more at the NIH
website
.


Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
 
Tony@www.thearcofil.org