Live and Let Sine Die

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The Capitol Roundup

The Arc of Arizona's weekly recap of State & Federal legislative happenings

May 12, 2017

Live and Let Sine Die
At the Statehouse...

Last Wedensday evening, the Arizona legislature ended the 2017 regular legislative session. A total of 350 bills were passed, 40 measures filed with the Secretary of State, and Governor Ducey has signed 302 bills into law. More than 40 proposals are on his desk for consideration.
 
In the final days of the session, legislators acted to extend Taxpayer Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits from one to two years, adding a variety of verification and control measures that drew some criticism throughout the year.  After a proposal to remove fingerprinting requirements for TANF beneficiaries was approved, however, a bipartisan coalition approved the TANF extension – even with new strings attached.
 
A full report of legislative action and outcomes will be provided later this week.


​On the Federal Front...


House Passes Bill to Repeal the ACA, Cut Medicaid

On May 4, the House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213. The Arc strongly opposed the bill for many reasons, the most critical being the deep cuts and radical restructuring of the Medicaid program. Over $800 billion will be cut from the program over 10 years and millions of people may lose coverage, based on the analysis of the original version of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office.

The AHCA will let states opt to allow insurance companies go back to charging more for people with pre-existing conditions. Over 50 million people have pre-existing conditions including many people with disabilities. States would also have the option of eliminating the requirement that health plans cover essential health benefits such as prescription drugs, therapy services, mental health services, and other basic health care services. The combination of these changes makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to access affordable health insurance that meets their health care needs.

The Senate is expected to develop legislation and has a workgroup of Senators to re-work portions of the House bill. Because the Senate plans to also use the special budget rules known as budget reconciliation, they will only need 51 votes to pass the bill. Medicaid restructuring will likely be considered in the Senate because the cuts to Medicaid in the House version pay for the removal of the taxes on drugs, health plans, devices, and the other costs of the AHCA. The Arc will work to persuade the Senate not to cut and cap the Medicaid program.

Click here to watch the latest in The Arc's series of videos on the critical importance of health care and Medicaid to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please share with your networks.
 
Omnibus Spending Package Enacted Through the End of FY 2017; Most Disability Programs Level Funded

On May 5, within hours of the expiration of a one-week funding bill, President Trump signed into law a measure to fund most of the federal government through the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 on September 30. The measure provides for a $15 billion increase each for defense and nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs over the FY 2017 sequester caps that had been negotiated in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Disability-related programs were almost entirely level funded. Two exceptions were the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants with a $90 million increase (less than 1%) and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights with a $1.5 million increase (1.4%). The bill also includes $1.5 billion for border security (technology and repairs), but not for construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, as President Trump had wanted. Democratic leaders are saying that they succeeded in excluding 160 poison pill riders, including exclusion of Planned Parenthood funding. House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) posted a summary of what the measure does and does not include here.
 
Caregiver Strategy Bill Introduced in the Senate

On May 3, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 1028, the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. The Arc supports this bipartisan legislation to implement the recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care for the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would create an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors. The advisory body is charged with identifying specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers. S. 1028 is scheduled to be marked up by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on May 10.
 
Social Security - A New Series Starts Off by Getting Disability Wrong

With the recent launch of a new, widely-criticized series, "Disabled America," The Washington Post unfortunately joined the ranks of news media that have reported on Social Security's disability programs in ways that get the facts wrong and leave the public with false impressions. Visit The Arc's blog to learn more about the first article in the Post's new series, and to see a round-up of analyses and responses.
 
Announcements
 
Paul Marchand Internship Application for Fall 2017 Session -
Deadline extended to May 15

The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer session to assist interns interested in pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). For 38 years, Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advocate and recognized leader working on behalf of people with I/DD and the larger disability community. Upon his retirement in 2011, The Arc, with substantial contributions from United Cerebral Palsy, other organizations, and individuals with whom Paul worked during his decades in Washington, D.C. established an internship to honor Paul and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates. See more information here.
Nominate Your Catalyst Today!

Nominations are officially open for The Arc's 2017 Catalyst Awards! The Catalyst Awards recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that are champions for achievement in the lives of people with I/DD. Each awardee illustrates what can be achieved and how we must move forward to create a fully inclusive society. Nomination categories range from education to employment, and include advocacy-both community and government! Know someone who deserves to be honored? Nominate them today! Deadline: Friday, May 26.





Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC
www.pcmlawaz.com

The Arc of Arizona
www.arcarizona.org

and

The Arc of the United States

www.thearc.org


The Capitol Roundup is provided weekly throughout the Arizona Legislative session as a benefit of Membership in The Arc of Arizona. To continue receiving this publication, visit www.arcarizona.org/become-a-member to start or renew your Membership today!