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Major Events Last Week

Education – New Legislation Introduced to Protect Children From Abuse

Senate Bill 2054, the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2014, was
introduced by Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) as a co-
sponsor.  S.2054 addresses the lack of federal law regulating the treatment of minors in
residential facilities by establishing standards designed to prevent child abuse and improve
access to medical care during emergencies.  The bill would prohibit physical or mental abuse
and withholding of essential food, water, clothing, shelter, or medical care to children in the
program’s care and restrict the use of restraints.  The bill requires programs to obtain parental
consent before making nonemergency changes to a child’s medication. Programs must report
any deaths to the protection and advocacy system within 48 hours after informing the state of
the death.  Covered programs include public or private residential programs that provide
behavioral modification programs and therapeutic boarding schools and are designed for
children with emotional, behavioral, or mental health problems or alcohol or substance abuse
issues.  To view The Arc’s statement on this legislation, visit our blog.

Education – Legislation Introduced to Raise Federal Funding for the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act
H.R. 4136, introduced by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jared Huffman (D-CA),
Dave Reichert (R-WA), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Tim Walz (D-MN), and David McKinley (R-WV), calls
for full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The IDEA Full Funding Act
would increase spending over the next decade to bring the federal share of funding for special
education up to 40%, the amount promised when the law was first enacted in 1975. How the
increased spending would be paid for is not specified in the bill.

Health Care – Obama Administration Issues Regulations Making Adjustments to the
Affordable Care Act

The Department of Health and Human Services announced regulations last week that would allow
states and insurers the option to renew plans that do not meet the consumer protections and other
Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.  Specifically, it allows renewal of non-compliant plans until
October 1, 2016.  This means that non-compliant plans could potentially remain in effect until well
into 2017 as long as the policy year began before October 2016.  Thus far 27 states, plus Puerto
Rico and Guam, have allowed insurers to renew these plans. The Administration also announced
that it was extending the 2015 open enrollment period to run from November 15, 2014 to February
15, 2015.

Social Security – Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act Introduced in Senate

Last week, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2014 (S. 2089; “SSI Restoration Act”). Last
year, Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced similar legislation in the House (H.R. 1601; SSI
Restoration Act of 2013).  S. 2089 proposes to update and index to inflation the SSI earned income
and general income disregards, update and index to inflation the SSI asset limits (from the current
levels of $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple to $10,000 for an individual and $15,000
for a couple), and make other improvements to the SSI program that simplify administration and
support beneficiaries. The Arc strongly supports this important legislation to update and strengthen


Medicare/Medicaid – Second Round of Webinars on Disability-Competent Care
The Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office in the Department of Health and Human Services
announced a second round of webinars on disability-competent care designed to enhance the
capacity of health care professionals and health plans to integrate care for adults with disabilities.

Health Care – Deadline to Sign Up for Health Insurance in The Private Marketplace
The open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance in the private marketplace ends on
March 31, 2014.  To learn more about the Affordable Care Act or to find out how to enroll in health
insurance visit

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

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