Major Recent Events
115th Congress – House Republicans, Senate Select Leadership
In Leadership elections for the 115th Congress, which will begin in January, the House Republican Caucus re-elected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Majority Leader, and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) as Majority Whip, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Republican Conference Chair. Similarly, Senate Republicans re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Majority Leader, Sen. John Cornyn as Majority Whip, and Senator John Thune as Republican Conference Chair. Senate Democrats elected Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) as Minority Leader and Democratic Conference Chair and re-elected Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) as Minority Whip and elected Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as Assistant Minority Leader. House Democrats will hold their leadership elections on November 30.
Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Establishes Sound Requirements for Light Duty Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a final rule requiring all new hybrid or electric vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less make an audible noise when traveling at speeds up to 19 miles per hour. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have low vision, are aware of vehicles as they approach. When a vehicle travels above 19 miles per hour it will make enough noise to be heard. With some phase-in, full compliance is required by September 1, 2019.
Tax – Michigan Opens ABLE Program
On November 1, Michigan became the fifth state to open a Qualified ABLE Program. This program is open to qualified individuals nation-wide. It offers five different investment options. More information about state implementation the ABLE Act can be found here.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Fellowship Program Accepting Applications
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking applicants for its Public Policy Fellowship. Applicants should be exemplary professionals, people with disabilities, or family members of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. The fellowship prepares mid-career, or more seasoned leaders, to assume leadership in the disability public policy arena at the state or national level. Fellows spend one year in Washington, D.C. in the office of a Member of Congress, Congressional Committee, or federal agency. Learn more and apply for the fellowship here. Applications are due December 15, 2016.
Autism – Transition Report Released
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, “Youth with Autism: Roundtable Views of Services Needed During the Transition into Adulthood.” GAO studied (1) the services and supports transitioning youth with ASD need to attain their goals for adulthood, (2) the characteristics of these services and supports, and (3) how youth with ASD can be fully integrated into society. To address these objectives, GAO convened a roundtable discussion including adults with ASD, service providers, researchers, and parents of youth with ASD. Among these panelists was The Arc’s Board member, Dena Gassner. The panel described the services and supports that youth with ASD may need to help them achieve five goals for adulthood: postsecondary education; employment; maximizing independent living; health and safety; and maximizing community integration.
NOTE: With Congress on recess for the upcoming November 29 holiday, the next issue of Capitol Insider will be published on December 5. In the meantime, please check the Capitol Insider blog for updates.
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