Both the House and the Senate remain in recess this week. Additionally, the Disability
Policy Seminar starts April 13th. As a result, the next edition of Capitol Insider will be
sent out on April 20th. In the meantime, we encourage you to follow @TheArcUS on
Twitter, visit The Arc Capitol Insider Blog, as well as The Arc’s Facebook page for up
to date information related to federal policy.
Major Events Last Week
Medicaid – U.S. Supreme Rules That Providers Cannot Sue to Enforce Payment
On March 31, in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court
decided that the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause cannot be used by private
providers of Medicaid-funded community services for people with developmental
disabilities to sue the state of Idaho for setting payment rates too low. The providers
of habilitation services had sued Idaho for violating a provision of the Medicaid
program that requires states to set rates that ensure adequate access to services.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the providers’ right to
sue Idaho under the Supremacy Clause.
The issue of provision of adequate rate-setting is a major one for Medicaid
beneficiaries, including people with I/DD. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decided
that the Supremacy Clause does not confer a private right of action, and that
Medicaid providers cannot sue to enforce the Medicaid provisions requiring states to
“assure that payments are consistent with efficiency, economy, and quality of care”
while “safeguard[ing] against unnecessary utilization of … care and services”. Some
court observers believe that this decision could further narrow the rights of
beneficiaries to use other means to protect individual rights. It remains to be seen
how this decision will be interpreted in the lower courts and in future Supreme Court
Education – Updated Report Released on Restraint and Seclusion Laws
An updated report on state laws and regulations related to the prevention of
restraints and seclusion in schools has just been published. Jessica Butler, who
coordinates Congressional affairs for the Autism National Committee, has been
tracking the issue since 2009. The report includes a highlighted map showing
states that have meaningful protections for children. As of this report, only 22 states
have such protections for all students, and only 34 provide such protections for
students with disabilities. In February, Representative Don Beyer (D-VA)
introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 927) to provide minimum federal
standards on restraint, seclusion, and aversive interventions. Get involved in the
campaign to prevent restraint and seclusion at http://stophurtingkids.com/.
Employment – Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) notices of
proposed rulemaking available for review
Last week, five notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) related to the Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) were made available for public inspection at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.
The five NPRMs include:
Joint NPRM—The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) developed
a joint NPRM to implement jointly-administered activities under Title I of WIOA
regarding Unified and Combined State Plans, performance accountability, and the
one-stop system. The joint NPRM applies to all core programs, including the State
Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Adult Education programs.
DOL-only NPRM—This NPRM will implement changes made to the adult, dislocated
worker, and youth programs authorized under title I of WIOA.
Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA)—This NPRM will implement
changes to programs authorized under AEFLA, which is contained in title II of WIOA.
Two NPRMs will implement changes made to the programs authorized under the
Rehabilitation Act, which is contained in Title IV of WIOA, as well as new provisions
State Vocational Rehabilitation Services program and the State Supported
Employment Services program, as well as new provisions in Section 511(Limitations
on the Use of Subminimum Wages); and
All other Rehabilitation Act programs administered by ED—Client Assistance,
American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Protection and Advocacy of
Individual Rights, Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind
programs, and the discretionary grant programs authorized under Title III of the
The official 60-day comment period will begin once the NPRMs are published in the
Federal Register. Once the 60-day public comment period begins, written comments
can be submitted through Regulations.gov at: www.regulations.gov. The Arc will be
actively engaged in this review and comment process.
Webinar – Understanding the ABLE Act Webinar Now Available
April is Fair Housing Month, a time to celebrate the Fair Housing Act and raise
awareness about this important civil rights law. The Fair Housing Act makes it
illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, sex,
religion, national origin, familial status or disability. The Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) has kicked off Fair Housing Month with the launch
of a new national media campaign. This year’s campaign, implemented by HUD in
partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance, highlights the release of a
number of new public service announcements and uses the Twitter hashtag
#FairHousingMonth. National, state, and local disability advocates are encouraged
to participate in this opportunity to enhance awareness of the Fair Housing Act and
its important protections for people with disabilities and other covered groups.
Diversity – News from the Administration on Community Living
Last week, Aaron Bishop, Commissioner for the Administration for Intellectual and
Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), published a blog post titled “Toward a More
Inclusive Definition of Diversity in the Disability Community.” In it, he outlines how
AIDD is actively taking steps to increase the cultural competency of leadership,
staff, and decision makers across the developmental disability networks. You can
hear more about AIDD’s plans at the Disability Policy Seminar (DPS). On Monday
afternoon (April 13th), Commissioner Bishop will be presenting and gathering
feedback on this imitative and the next steps in strengthening the self-advocacy
Disability Policy Seminar
It’s almost here! The 2015 Disability Policy Seminar will take place April 13-15th at
the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington, D.C. Don’t miss out; register here.
Make sure your voice is heard on critical disability policy issues! Also, don’t forget
to follow Twitter hashtag #DPS2015 for live updates from the seminar.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423