This dynamic plenary will provide an opportunity to hear from the new CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a freshman Congresswoman from Delaware with strong ties to the AUCD network, and two key Hill staffers about a new Bill that would accelerate the transition away from subminimum wage and segregated employment and toward competitive, integrated employment. All of the speakers will talk about how disability issues are connected to a more broad agenda for civil rights and social justice, and where there are opportunities to advance that agenda with bipartisan support in the current political climate.
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
Kristine Lucius, JD
Michael Gamel-McCormick, PhD
My name is Celia Feinstein, I am the outgoing AUCD President, the Executive Director of the University of Disabilities at Temple University. I hope you had a great experience this year, and that you go home with renewed energy and commitment learn from and shared with. Looks like people had a great time last night, so thank you to our conference chair, Bruce Keisling for bringing a little bit of Memphis to Washington, D.C. (Applause).
The AUCD Conference is the time of learning and fellowship, and also a time of transition as we now welcome new members of the Board of Directors. Let me introduce you to the incoming 2017/2018 officers of the AUCD board. Please stand, or wave, or make yourselves known as I call your name. Bruce Keisling with the Tennessee Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities will be President of the association. (Applause). Amy Hewitt with the on Community Integration in Minnesota will become President elect. . (Applause).
"" Sachi Pavithran with the Center for Persons With Disabilities In Utah will be our new Secretary. (Applause). And Steving with the Riley Child Development Center in Indiana will be our new treasurer. Thank you to all of you who continued commitment and service. We also welcome several new members of the board this year. Our new at large members are Daniel Armstrong, UCEDD director of the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development, Danny, are you here? I don't see Danny. And the LEND director at the University of Vermont, Learner college of Medicine LEND program, Mercedes? No. Okay. (Laughter) And, Tawara Goode I know she's here. UCEDD director of the Georgetown University center for child and human development. (Applause). For those of you who don't know Mercedes, she has also served for the past three years as the multicultural council co-chair and we thank her for those years of service on the board prior to continuing in her new role. We also have some new council representatives, so please stand, wave, be recognized. For the council on leadership and advocacy, COLA, co-chair will be Angela Martin at The Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University in Michigan. Angela. Wayne State University In Michigan. (Applause). The new Community Education and Dissemination Council Chair Megan Orsag with the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M. (Applause)And the new multicultural council co-chair is Derrick Willis associate UCEDD Director with the University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development. (Applause). I would also like to welcome Sheida K. Raley with the Kansas University Center on Disability Development Disabilities as the new board trainee representative. (Applause). The time has now come for me in my last act on the AUCD board to pass the Gavel and leadership of the board to Bruce Keisling. Bruce, I know I speak for the board when I say we look forward to working with you during the coming years and wish you the best of success and moving the Association forward. Bruce, please accept this Gavel as a symbol of your office responsibilities and leadership of the Association for the coming year and as tempting as it may be. Please don't use it. (Laughter).
"" Thank you, I proudly accept this gavel as a symbol of my role as the AUCD Board of Directors. As my first official act it is my pleasure to thank you for your leadership, and mentorship over this past year, and present you with AUCD's President's Award. In recognition of your successful term of office on the AUCD Board of Directors, I have learned much from you over this past year, frankly the last five years on the board. And our network, and our board have grown stronger under your leadership. Thank you Celia. (Applause).
"" Now can I go right? (Laughter) That's what she asked. I would also like the take this time to present award to our other outgoing board members. These awards are given each year in appreciation of board member service and commitment to the association and our network as I call your name, please come up to the stage. Our service to the organization award go to our outgoing and final past President, Olivia Raynor. (Applause) Our outgoing secretary, Philip Wilson. (Applause). Our outgoing at-large member, Harolyn Belcher. (Applause). Our outgoing council on Leadership And Advocacy Co-chair, Mark Smith. (Applause)Our outgoing community education and Dissemination Council Chair, Jerry Alliston. (Applause). Our outgoing two-term trainee representative, Zipporah Levi-Shackleford. (Applause). (Laughter).
"" All right. Please welcome, please thank you again. Thank you again. Thanks for your hard work and commitment to the Board. Now let's move to the fun part of Wednesday morning meetings. The door prizes. Kristine F you would come to the stage. Excellent. All right. This year, we are giving awa, four pieces of high-tech quality merchandise, some of which I had to learn how to pronounce, it's beyond my age range at this point. We are giving away a Bohm Noise Canceling Headphones. An IRISPen Air 7 Wireless Scanning Pen, a FitBit Charge 2 and last but not least a Sonos Play: 3 Wireless Speaker. Remember, that holders of the raffle ticket must be present to win, get out your tickets folk to ensure a transparent process, we will be having AUCD staff do the actual drawing of the numbers and I will present the prizes, if we don't have a winner on the first try, we will continue to pull numbers until we do. (Laughter) The first is the Bohm Noise Canceling Headphones. Number 466.
466. 117. 117. Do we have 117?
"" We have 466?
"" 466? Yes. Come on up! (Laughter) (Applause)Okay. The second is the IRISPen Air 7 Wireless Scanning Pen, number 259. 259. Quickly, --259! We have a winner. (Applause).
"" Third is the FitBit Charge 2. Number 363. 363. Number 47. 47 for the FitBit Charge 2. 281.
All right. Congratulations. The final prize is a Sonos Play: 3 Wireless Speaker. Number 489, 489.
All right. Congratulations. Come and receive your prize. Congratulations to all winners. (Applause). Before we move into the closing plenary, I would like to thank everyone for your coming to the conference and to give you a come of reminders. This conference continue to get better each and every year and part because of your feedback and ideas. Please take a few minutes now, or on your travels home to complete the conference survey, a link is available through the conference app, posted on the conference website and will be in your email inbox right after the conference. We urge you to use the survey to give us your constructive criticism and thoughts for improvement so we can create a even better conference next year for our network. We hope to see many of you again, for the 2018 Disability Policy Seminar on April 23-25 right here at the Renaissance Hotel, this is a great chance to expand one's awareness of federal policy and other issues that directly effect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Also taking place on March 20th of next year is AUCD's third annual gala, being held at the Ronlad Reagan Building and International Trade Center where we will be celebrating leadership and state policy. Tickets go on sale in a few month, sponsorships are available now, go to AUCDforall.organization to get more information. And last but not least, be sure to Mark your calendars for the AUCD 2018 Conference on November 10-14 back here at the renaissance. We hope you can join us once again. Thanks again for a great conference and safe travels to all. We're going to continue at this time right into our plenary session today with congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt, and now I'd like to welcome, Angie Mitchell a trainee with the LEND Program at the University of Delaware to the stage to introduce our first plenary speaker. (Applause).
"" Good morning everyone. I am incredibly honored to start the closing plenary today by introducing the United States representative Lisa Rochester Blunt. Congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt has made history many times in the state of Delaware, most recently with her election to the Congress, as the first woman and person of color representing Delaware.
She also served in the cabinet's two Delaware governors as the first female African American Secretary of Labor, and the first African American Deputy Secretary of Health and Social Services. During her career congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt has also worked directly with the disability community including time with the institute for community inclusion which is the Massachusetts UCEDD. (Applause). I first had the honor to meet the congresswoman last Spring when I attended the disability policy seminar as a representative of the Delaware Disability Council. Our Delaware delegations scheduled visits on Capitol Hill with our legislators, and congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt graciously agreed to meet with us.
We shared how to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would effect us. I shared about my son who is six years old and has non-verbal Autism spectrum disorder among other cooccurring conditions. I was struck by her compassion and her empathy. I felt that she truly heard my family's story, and was vested in standing for those who were not able to do so for themselves. At that meeting I became certain that Congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt is a true ally to the disability community, and for that, I am so grateful. Without further adieu, I would like to introduce Congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt. (Applause).
"" Good morning. Okay. The anymore of this conference is lift your voice! So Good morning! All right. That's what I'm talking about. I am just humbled and honored to be with you this morning. I'm especially proud to be a member of your family. The ICI, the Institute for Community Inclusion UMASS Boston was my last place of employment right before going into the House of Representatives, so, let's give bill Kiernan my old boss, the whole team a hand. It's almost like a reunion for me to come and to see Andy, who I haven't seen in a little while as well. And even our Delaware UCEDD, when I got into office, one of the first things I did was say, we need to sit down and talk to the folks in our UCEDD. I understand your significance, I understand your importance. I hope all of you understand how important you are, especially at this time.
That's really why I came today. My message is very simple. One that we are living in very important times. The times that we are living in right now, we face challenges to our opportunity to have healthcare. We face challenges to civil rights and the potential of rolling back. And so I came today to say, we're not going back! We're not going back. (Applause)So right, we're not going back! So first of all, what's important about this room and what's important about your theme is the lifting up of The Voice. But it's important that those voices be multiplied. So when people come into see me in my office, and educate me, that makes a difference. The fact that I had the opportunity to work at the ICI and know that one of my priorities has to be not just about employment and jobs, but about employing people with disabilities so that when a major company came into my office yesterday and sat down on the sofa and talked about diversity and inclusion and told me how many African Americans and women we have, I said well how many people with disabilities do you have? (Applause)We have to ask those questions and we have to educate. So I took the opportunity to tell him about his competitor, and how they showed me what they're doing. (Laughter) Just educating, just trying to educate. So I wanted you to know that what you do means something. Whether you're a parent, whether you're a person with a disability, whether you're an educator, whether you're trying to help policymakers and lawmakers, it matters. It matters the most right now. I started off as a caseworker in a congressional office. I actually went to a town hall meeting in my state of Delaware, met my congressman, I had a baby on my hip and one in my belly, I went up to him, he said we have internships in our office. And I applied. And I became an intern for three months then came on board full-time as a caseworker, constituent caseworker. The area I focused on was social security disability. It's funny when you look back over your life and see the threads and how they weave together. Years later, I became, as was mentioned Secretary of Labor, head of state personnel, and even in those jobs. It was about jobs but we also were trying to hold ourselves accountable for how we hire a diverse population. And people with disabilities wove through that. The division of vocational rehabilitation was one of the agencies under our department. And I got an education there from Andrea Guest, Andrea educated me very, very well our director. Years later, my daughter became a VR counselor for transition aged youth. I'm older than you think. (Laughter). She turns 29 this week. But again, it's apart of who I am. But in 2014, as my colleagues know, working for the ICI, going around the country, working with VR leaders, I remember being home and receiving a call that my husband, Charles Rochester reptured his Achilles tendon N a heart of weeks blood clots went to his heart and lung, at the age of 52 he passed away. He was a vegetarian, worked out every day, humble, sweet, smart. You never know what is going to happen to you or what's going to happen in your life. And for that whole year -- first of all for the night that it happened, that he went to the emergency room, it was the ICI, it was bill Kiernan that came to the hospital with me, Susan, Susan and Bill came to the hospital, stayed with me until my family was able to drive from Delaware to be with me, family. That whole year, I still worked, he let me telecommute from Delaware so that I could still work on the projects that we were working on. Family, family. That whole year I was so sad, and I remember just feeling lost and questioning everything. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Why did that happen to my husband? And I remember at the end of that summer seeing a family, a father and a few kids, three kids in front of me at the supermarket who had to put back a bunch of grape because they were $9. And I said that's not who we are. And I felt that the campaigns were so negative, so negative and I'm saying I'm already depressed these people are bringing me down! (Laughter) They're bringing me down, I don't care what their names were. And it was actually on the anniversary of the passing of my husband that I decided to run. That I had never run for anything in my life, never. I had never been in a debate in my life. I had never raised money like that in my life. But I felt I had nothing to lose and everything to give. So I'm standing before you not because of any accidents or mistakes, or even luck. Last night I heard Oprah say, "luck, it's no such thing, it's preparation meeting the moment of opportunity". Preparation meeting the moment of opportunity. We have been prepared. This is our moment. We have so much to do so that we don't go backwards. And it's only going to be because we come together and remember that we're family. That when one of us is down, we're all down. When one of us hurts, we all hurt some my second message to you is that, stay encouraged. Stay hopeful. When the freshman class came in this year, we asked all the staff the leave our orientation so that we could find out what do we have in common? Do we have common ground? We asked who has a port? People raised their hand. Who in here was major your? People raised their hand. Who in here cares about this issue or that? And we commit that we would try to stay together. That was in December. In January, we had John Lewis come and we had a breakfast for Martin Luther King's holiday he was our guest speaker talk about civil rights and the challenges and from once we've come. February, we signed a pledge of civility, my republican colleague wrote out a pledge and said we're not going to agree on everything. But can we agree to be civil? Can we agree to talk to each other with respect? Can we try to find some common ground? (Applause)So I stood on the floor of the House and gave a speech on Valentine's Day about civility. We went to the Holocaust Museum together, shut down the museum that night, toured it and then came back and talked about immigration in a safe space. So what I want you to know is that we're not going to always agree on everything. But we're family. And we have to remember that. So I am excited to be in Congress. I get up every day on fire! I get up every day on purpose. Like you said you raise your hand like you're in church, that's how I feel. (Laughter) I preach! Because we have come this far by faith. I, you know when it was time to stand on the familiar of the House people said, well, kept saying what does it feel like to make history. First African American to represent the state of Delaware in Congress. First woman... and I said you know, you don't think about that. It's like, all of you are doing this important work and you're just doing the work because you know it's the right thing to do. And I said to my sister who had been researching our family, said I want to carry something with me on the day I'm sworn in to remember how far we've come and to remember how significant the day is. And she found a card that was a voter registration card, it basically was an oath of office to allow my great, great, great grandfather who was a slave the right to vote. He couldn't right his name, he could only sign an X. And she took that card and we turned it into a scarf that I carried with me that. I carry it everywhere to remember we have survived slavery. We have made it through that. We can make it through anything. We've come this far by faith. (Applause)People with disabilities are all of us. We all deserve a good job. We all deserve housing. We all deserve education and not to be relegated to the back of the bus. Every single one of us has purpose. Every single one of us has meaning. Every single one of us, every single one of us. So, lastly, I would say, together we must lift our voices. Lift your voices. Lift your voices! Make it known that we are in this together, even when people feel like we're separate and apart. I love you. I love you guys, especially. (Laughter) And I want you to be encouraged and stay ready. Because this is about, as Oprah said "preparation meeting the moment of opportunity." It's our time. (Applause)I forgot to say, I know about universal design, I know about employment first, I know about accommodations, I know -- I can rundown all of it that this group has trained me up well. And I will spread the word and lift my voice as well. Thanks. (Applause).
"" Thank you so much, that was wonderful, thank you.
"" Love you guys!
"" All right. Please, Kristine have a seat, let's hear it again for the antidepressant, Lisa Rochester Blunt. (Applause)If you coupled Congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt with the eelection results yesterday, this is truly a good morning and we're really excited to have the leadership of Lisa Rochester Blunt in the United States House of Representatives from the first state and the great state of Delaware, so thank you again, Lisa. (Applause).
We're just rearranging the stage. Give us a second. So the rest of the program this morning is going to be former hill staffers and current Hill staffers, and there will be lots of time for a Q&A with the audience, Congresswoman Lisa Rochester Blunt had to go vote, so sorry she wasn't able to take questions. But feel free to be ready with your questions. We're going to have a roving mic, I'm going to start out like a fireside chat, then we're going the move to questions from the audience. There's no fire, but you get the idea. (Laughter).
"" We are the fire.
"" So, I'm really delighted to be joined this morning by a good friend who worked far great Senator for many years, senate Leigh from Vermont, are those folks from Vermont? Senator, I'll tell one of the Senator's stories. When I was working for Senator Harkin in '93 and '94 they took the statute of freedom off of the top of the Capitol to be cleaned or, kind of freshened up. An then they put the statute back on top of the Capitol. The morning when they flew the he'll continue to put it back on top of the Capitol, the Senators and the House members and their staff were invited to come and watch that historic occurrence. And, you know there were a lot of people, and I was with a bunch, I was 28, kind of very baby hill staffer. And I was with a bunch of Harkin staffers. And Senator Harkin kind of walked up to the senator's only area, the roped off area for Senators and their families, and he saw a bunch of Harkin staffers and said, just pretend like you're my family. (Laughter) So went in with Senator Harkin we had brought homemade, it's Iowa, homemade baked goods. And Senator Leghe noticed we had some good homemade baked good. He said, can I have some of those. I thought it was good he felt good Mooching off of Senator Harkins family. I'm a big fan, we give him an award when I was at the American association of people with disabilities, I remember working closely with Kristine, Kristine has had many jobs nor Senator Leighe including the top job, chief counsel, chief of staff for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee which is a pretty important job and a pretty hard job. The Judiciary Committee deals with judges, but they also have jurisdiction over lots of other issues including issues that we care about like criminal justice reform, training for law enforcement, lots of important issues for our community. But you know, I remember working closely with you and your colleagues on the Jeffrey Sutton judicial nomination, I don't know if people remember that.
"" Who remembers that? It was awhile ago.
"" I knew you would remember. So for people that don't know, Jeff Sutton was a nominee, the first round of nominees that George W. Bush put forward, and it caught the attention of the disability community because he had been the lawyer that had argued against the constitutionality of the Americans with Disabilities Act in front of the Supreme Court. And was responsible for some of the -- as an advocate, he didn't issue the ruling, but as a advocate, he was responsible for some of the problematic decisions that we got from the Supreme Court like the Garret decision that involved a nurse who had cancer and when she came back to work after having had cancer for a state-run employer, they told her that they were going to demote her because they didn't think she could do the senior job that she was doing having had cancer. She challenged that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Jeffrey Suton argued that Congress didn't have the authority to give her the ability to sue for money damages under the constitution. It was kind of a state's rights, federalism argument. So when he got nominated to the Court of Appeals for the 6th circuit which includes Ohio and other states around it, the disability community opposed him in force. We had over 500 disability organizations oppose him. There has been no nominee for any court that had that much opposition from the disability community. And I think Kristine and her colleagues noticed that. (Laughter) And they worked closely with us to try to make it a real issue, Jeffrey Suton did get confirmed, unfortunately there was one democrat on the committee Diane Feinstein who voted to confirm him which was very frustrating she's now the ranking member of the committee. I think she's actually gotten better since then on these issues. But, Senator Leighe was just a wonderful partner. Kristine was really quarter backing that for him. So thank you for a lot of leadership on issues that we all care about.
"" Thank you. I mean, I just will never forget. When the disability community gotten guaged in that fight, just like we saw a couple of months ago in healthcare, you could feel it. You know, the disability community brought such energy, such focus, such passion, that it made a big impression on the members. I mean, Senators can be cynical people. And they hear a lot from people on different issues, but frankly they hear mostly from people who are well heeled with a lot of money, they have the money to pay for Armies of lobbyist. But what I remember from that fight was the very personal stories and the very personal appeal and the energy in the room that people showed up. They found many way to make sure their voices were heard. But it also was a moment to explain to people the consequences of the Courts on all of our civil rights. So, because the Courts are a little bit abstracts, they're not as clear as a bill like Medicaid as we though it, they require just a little bit more explanation to people who are going to get engaged or could get engaged and also to explain it to the Senators. The challenge with judicial nominations is there's a person. And generally Senators don't like calling a person biased or extreme. But with Sutton for example, there was a lot in his record that gave real concern. But it really was the work of a lot of disability rights organizations to explain why this fight mattered and why this could be harmful to all of our civil rights. And it was a really interesting people to see, you to be able to hold someone's attention for a few minutes to explain that level of one-step abstraction. But it was a really highly engaged, highly energized fight. And even though we lost, because he was confirmed, I actually think it made a huge impression on the Senators.
"" And the White House, I think.
"" Yeah, I think that's right. And I think it also, you know it can effect the individual who's been opposed. So there's always the hope too that the concerns raised will actually be heard. And right now, we're facing unfortunately a long line of controversial judicial nominations from this President. And it is a battle among all of t other attack, among all the other noise and chaos going on in the civil rights front to get people to focus on the individuals who could literally erode our civil rights. You know, very short order, and serve in those positions for terms.
"" One overquick Sutton story, spent a lot of time on it when I was at AAPD. Part of it was because I was a lawyer, and I kind of understood what he had argued in front of the Supreme Court. Some of it was little abscure, I thought it was important that there were disabilitied people who could talk about what he had argued what the Court had ruled and why it was important. But he notice that I was, having letter to the editor published in his hometown newspaper, and getting some high profile media attention. So he reached out me directly and asked to meet with me. I met with him, I Brought Jonathan Young with me, because I wanted to have a witness. Jonathan was a former Clinton, he's a lawyer, former Clinton liaison to the disability community. Very smart. And Jeffrey Sutton was charming, you probably remember how charming he was. And he talked about cases that he had argued on behalf of people with disabilities, he talked about how he was just arguing these cases in front of the Supreme Court, but it doesn't necessarily reflect his views as a judge, and I remember, after a lot of back and forth he said to me, what advice would I have to him of a way that he could get the support of the disability community in his confirmation? And I said, ask the President to withdraw your nomination. (Laughter) Spend at least ten years arguing on the right side of these cases and then get nominated bay democrat. (Laughter).
"" Andy is a fierce advocate. That took guts.
"" I'm not partisan, I don't know if I said that nominated bay democrat. But a President that supports disability rights.
"" That wasn't partisan advocacy, that was fear advocacy and the best in the best tone. Being willing to speak directly to power. That's what we have to be bold enough to do. So that's great.
"" So Kristine is filling in today for have knee Gupta who planned to be here, Vanita Gupta is the new President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on civil and human right, her period access Door Wade Henderson AUCD honored at our first gala two years ago. Many of you were there and had the opportunity to hear him and how passionate he is and was about disability and civil and human rights. I just wanted to start by -- so Vanita had to be on the Hill for a meeting with a bunch of Senators at 10:00, another meeting with folks on the House side at 11 o'clock, it was just going to be very hard to get her here long enough to have a realization. So we decided to go with her.
"" Her understudy.
"" Her right hand person, Kristine Lucius. Kristine is her Executive Vice President. She's part of a small leadership team that Vanita brought in with her to The Leadership Conference. When Wade retired a lot of his core leadership retired with him. So it's kind of changing of the guard at the Leadership Conference. I wanted to just start Kristine asking you to talk about, I mean you had a great job in the Senate. You had a great boss, unlike me, your boss was not retiring. So what made you want to leave the Senate and come to work for Vanita and the Leadership Conference?
"" So, I would say that, like many people, the day after the eelection, I woke up and tried to reevaluate my life. (Laughter) And frankly how I wanted to spend my time. And although I had had an amazing time fighting with, not with Senator Leigh but on behalf and alongside him for a wide range of issue, I tried to think about what was the most impactful, what was the highlight reel, what would it be of those 14 years in what I always considered my job. Trying to think past what you always thought was your dream job and think of the challenge.
In the highlight reel it was working on civil rights issues. Where it was judicial nominations where we were defending the importance of civil rights or whether it was reauthorizing the voting rights ability or passing the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd junior hate crimes agent. Those issues made me the most passionate. I really wanted to make sure that I was being able to frankly speak with my own voice. As a Senate staffer, one of the downsides and benefit, I guess is that, you're always sitting behind someone. And I felt like it was time for me to be able to speak with my own voice, and get, grow into a direct advocacy position. And the Leadership Conference was always the organization that frankly in my last job I, leaned on for expert draft. Whether it was how to draft a specific provision in a bill, how to help bring more people to the table to get involved, what I really love about the Leadership Conference is it's a coalition of more than 200 organizations, and so they work across communities, and they try and be a force multiplier for anyone community. And especially a time when I knew civil rights would be under attack, I don't know that I quite appreciated how often and how badly under attack, but I wanted to make sure that I was working on solidarity across community, across groups that protect civil rights. And so the Leadership Conference, you know, serves that function. It works with so many different organizations and different community, frankly to make sure that when they attack anyone community, there is a united front that when you come for one of us you get all of us. So one of the things I really love most in this job, we do a lot of rapid response. The attacks are coming fast and furious, frankly. The civil rights roll backs are coming every week, usually Friday evenings. I really like and am passionate about the importance of standing up together, arm in arm across communities. And I have always defined civil rights broadly. You know, the disability rights are civil right, and civil rights are disability rights as one example. But there are also, but I feel as strongly about womens rights, and about LGBT rights and the list goes on and on. So one of the benefits of working for an organization is 200 coalition members is being able to bring all that to the table and also, all that force soidarity the table when there are attacks and fights we need to marshal a broad coalition.
"" Had you worked closely with Vanita Gupta before?
"" No, I had not worked with her at all. I heard of her reputation when she was at the ACLU and the NAACP legal defense fund. I think I first heard of her when she worked on this really important criminal justice issue in Tulia, Texas, if you don't know the story it's worth looking up, the New Yorker story about it. But it was just a clear racist prosecution of men in Texas. And she was one of the lead people down there working with local civil rights advocates and making sure that these men were exonerated and that the scandal of the police department down there in Tulia was revealed. I first learned of her then. I had actually not had a conversation with her until this year.
"" So, but I have known of her. And when she had become head of the Civil Rights Division worked on some oversight issues. Because we care about oversight no matter who's in the presidency. And you know, so I hadn't worked directly with her, but had done a bit of oversight when she was running that day which was a real challenge. I mean she ran that division for the last two and a half years on n the Obama Administration, especially when she came there was a lot going on in the application context. I think her first week on the job was when Fergerson happened. Stepping into the job when that situation happened, very shortly there after, Baltimore had it's own flare-up in the policing context. So I feel like she came in at the right time especially for her skills. And just did an amazing job to try and work on bringing communities together.
"" Well, we in the disability community really appreciated her leadership on things like the Olmstead case and trying to make sure people had a right to live in the community. Tom Perez was a strong leader for us and Vanita Gupta did not miss a beat and continued on that leadership. So, in many ways she's better prepared for the Leadership Conference role Than Wade was in terms of having worked on a very broad spectrum of civil rights issues. Wade had been at the ACLU and the NAACP and had worked on a range of issue, I don't know that he knew as much on day one on disability as a civil rights issues. But Vanita on day one knew a lot on these issues.
"" Wade Henderson was a personal hero to me and many Senators for years. I feel like when Wade Henderson walks in a room the temperature of the room changes. (Laughter) And it's just, he has such presence. And the other thing is he's really well-known to the Senators. And so, you know one thing that in this new leadership team need to get to that point, we need to get to that point where Senators are aware that we, in the coalition, trying to represent this broad coalition are in the room.
"" That's why Vanita is up there with the Senate today and not here with us. (Laughter). I understand. So I guess I just want to ask you, kind of as you guys are setting the table and trying to respond to all this rapid response, do you guys have kind of two or three big picture priorities that are going to stay priorities you know, as you're trying to respond to everything else? And within those priorities, are there opportunities for the disability community and for our network to engage with you to make sure that the disability aspects of those priorities are getting proper attention?
"" So right now with this new leadership team transition we're going through, big strategic process to try and articulate our priorities. But when you have 200 coalition members you can imagine that's a real, extensive process, and it require as lot of consultation and buy-in. So we have begun that process. There's a lot of talk right now about the importance of kind of overarching Democratic, meaning small D Democratic institution building some the importance of voting, the importance of census, every single person being counted. The importance of judicial nominations, because it cuts across all communities. So right now we're in that process of trying to articulate our top priorities. And they are likely to be those kind of cross-cutting issues. To your question about, how to get the disability community really active in some of them I would say census is one that we've all really need to be thinking about. It's one of those stealth civil rights issues to borrow a term from my friend at the ACLU who said, it's a stealth civil rights issue, which I told her made it seemed cooler when I explained to it my four little boys, it's a stealth civil rights issue, makes it seem more interesting.
"" Darth Vader.
"" Or a ninja.
"" I don't want us on the side of Darth Vader, we're the good guys. (Laughter).
"" Seem like he kind of wavered at one point.
"" But census is an example of something where if you are not counted in the census it hurts your community. It effects the funding of your schools. It effects your representation in the house representatives. The census is one of those issues that doesn't get quite enough attention of how important sit to actually have your children be counted. I was surprised to learn when I first started working on this issue how across community, very young children especially are chronically undercounted some there's a real concern there and talking about these issues especially when there's a climate with the concern of government and the fear of government having more of your information, I think we're going to have a real challenge in 2020 making sure that every one is actually counted. Fairly and accurately. And if we don't get it right, really has a lot of repercussions happening.
"" Great. So in the context of the census advocacy, as you can imagine, there are a lot of disability-specific issues in the context of the census. There are people with disabilities who live in institutional settings, who often are left out or sometimes they ask the person who manages the institution to fill out the information as opposed to going to the individual's to get their input. It's not always easy to identify people with disabilities in the context of the questions asked in the census. There was a effort to build consensus around 6 questions that could be asked and get some degree of consistency. And would identify a relatively diverse cross section of the disability community. There are groups in the community that are left out of those six questions. I think you know. I have bipolar disorder, if I answered those six questions honestly, I don't think I would show up as a person with a disability. There are people with dyslexia that would probably not show up. Both bipolar disorder and dyslexia are very high incidence disabilities, we would love to engage with you and think about if there are opportunity to ask a more probust set of questions. Historically there was a long form and a short form, I think they moved away from the long form, I know enough about the den as you say to be dangerous. I know there are disability issues in that fight and Tony Cuello who you probably know has really been focused on the census for a long time and has tried to make sure that people with disabilities are counted properly. I remember when I was at AAPD we also worked on getting the census to hire people with disabilities like, hire deaf people to go and interview deaf people in their native language some we would love to engage with you on the census fight.
"" That would be great the other important thing about census is, having trusted local leaders. So they are going to help get the most accurate count, but they're also going to be the ones who can away the concerns about filling out specific questions or about, this will be the first high-tech census. So a lot of it can be filled out electronically. It doesn't have to be the old school paper form. But we will use the paper form because unfortunately, it's still a huge digital divide in many communities. So, that should be something that we really also think about, because having trusted local people from a community be hired directly or be hired as a specialist, sit going to be really important to fight against the fear that could suppress the count.
"" Let me just add this, is a pretty diverse audience. There are people here that probably know the answer to this question, but I don't know that everybody naturally would. Why does the census matter? Like when you think about everything that we could work on as a civil rights community, why is the census important?
"" So the census is important because first of all it depends on which part is important. On a fundamental democracy level it's important. Because if your community, your town or your county is undercounted, you have less representation on the House of Representatives and the state legislature. The census data is used to allocate the seats and to allocate the electoral votes. So your state could have fewer votes in the next presidential election too. So it's the foundation for representation and allocating representation. So that's just step one. Another step though is funding, frankly. Federal dollars and some civil rights laws are tied to census data. So if you have an undercount off a lot of children for example, it will get you less money will go to your local school. When your school has over crowding they won't be able to handle it. The most tangible thing that I talk to fellow parents about is the importance of counting your infants, sometimes people only are thinking about the kids that are running around the house. But if you're not counting the baby as well, you are shortchanging your community. So it's just one of those things that seems you know, once you can explain to it people, it make as lot of sense. But you're right. It feels, I think there's some skepticism like, why do I need to fill out another form? Or treating the census like a pollster who calls your phone during the dinner hour. But the census is a really different thing. It is not just a poll. It is the foundation for everything else that we have in our democracy in terms of representation, but also in terms of federal funding. It really steers the issues.
"" So if you get under counted as a community you may get less funding for human services that you need as a community which would effect people with disabilities disproportionately. So I guess another question that I kind of judge your priorities by what is Vanita Gupta tweet about. (Laughter) So what I see her tweeting about a lot is criminal justice reform. And obviously she has a long history on that. But do you -- what do you see in terms of opportunities for the disability community to engage on criminal justice reform?
"" So, I think that the primary bill moving in the house and Senate that has bipartisan support is a sentencing reform bill. I would call it a justice reform bill is very narrow it's really about marginally reducing the mandatory minimal sentences for some drug crimes. When you hear criminal justice reform moving in Congress really just be aware it's really just a sentencing bill that is only about non-violent drug offenders. What we really need though is something broader, Senator Durbin chair add remarkable hearing last year or the year before about policing and the training of policing. Especially relevant in the disability community, to make sure that police officers are actually trained on how to identify and address and respond to people with different abilities, right. I don't know if you remember this hearing but it was really powerful, tangible like, trying to hold up best practices for certain police departments who have really understood that we have a mental health crises this country, and sadly, oftentimes it's police officer whose are called to address it. So they can't just address it in the way they would any other disturbance of the peace. They have to be thoughtful about what they're walking into and how the person is perceiving them coming in with sirens blaring and you know, bull horns roaring. So it was a really important hearing that I think we need to be thinking about as we're talking about larger criminal justice reform.
"" And I know Leadership Conference does reports periodically where you kind of use your expertise and the range of access that you have as a coalition and you try to kind of present an issue that could tee up legislation, or help the media understand the issue. I know you've done reports on criminal justice reform, but do you see that as another opportunity to kind of get some of the disability issues integrated with other issues as people are talking about that topic?
"" Absolutely. I think one of the kind of cutting edge things that people are talking about in police are body worn cameras. That's something we've been working on. Here we're not so much focused on federal legislation, but this stead trying to focus on police departments who want to do better, and encouraging more police departments to work on their training, to hold up best practices. So body-worn cameras, I think we'll see because of the importance of video, I think we're going to see more and more interactions that allow us to have conversations about how this individual officer handled this individual person, how we can see the challenges that they need to be trained on in terms of dealing with them. So, right now the Leadership Conference is working on a body-worn camera scorecard. And we've done one of these before, but we're trying to expand our reach. So we're working, that's the report we're working on now that will be coming up soon. It basically tries to talk about the importance of these video, what the challenges are with body-worn cameras and I think that anytime there is a police shooting, there's talk about well the solution is just a camera. If we investoring on film then that will make it better? It's hardly a silver bullet right. It really needs to be thoughtful about how these cameras are used, the evidence standards, and when they're turned off in certain moments. So there's a lot of issues related to body-worn cameras. But that's how I can see there being more of a discussion about how police need to be trained better to handle people with disabilities.
"" One offer I want to make when you think about your reports and what's coming down the pike. We have a $650 million network of people at universities who do research and you know who have access to data, and who can kind of summarize an issue, and frame it from a policy standpoint. Because our folks are very interested in systems change, policy, not just the data, but what are the implications of the data and then what do we do about it? So we'd love the partner with you if you guys are trying to put a face on an issue and trying to make sure you understand the data or maybe it's part of a report where you get the disability angle we have folks in our network that would love to work with you on that. So I put that offer out there. A lot of our folks have experience for example training police. You may -- are you familiar with the Ethan Saler case in Maryland, it was a young adult with Down Syndrome who was at a movie, and he didn't want to leave. And some off duty cops, you know, decided to forcibly remove him before his mother could get to the theater, he had a direct support worker with him who was relatively new, didn't know what to do. And he died. He was asphyxiated just by the way they handled him. And the governor of Maryland at the time, governor O'Malley create add commission that Tim Shriver chaired, I served on the commission representing our network. But there was some good recommendations that came out of that, we had very good cooperation from law enforcement in Maryland. To me one of the most exciting things that came out of it was a curriculum that our center and Maryland is now kind of playing a leadership role on, where we have self advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities training law enforcement and first responders. And it's a very interesting model. So any way, we'd love to work with you on those issues.
I want to get to questions from the audience. I know we've got a couple of folks from our next panel here. And I hope that they're flexible. I hope somebody will tell me if they're not flexible in terms of when they start. (Laughter) But I wanted to bring up the ADA Education Reform Act, because that's a hot issue right now. You know, I'm sure you've worked on this when you were working for Senator Leigh we think of this as the Foley Bill, Mark Foley was the guy who introduced the original version of this which was called The ADA Notification Act he left Congress in disgrace because he had been abusing children. They didn't pick a very goodon champion for this issue. There are other people championing the issue now. I'm curious you're such a insider in terms of seeing how things get teed up in the Senate and in Congress. As you know, The ADA Education Reform Act which is the new name for this Bill that would require people to notify a business that there's a civil rights law that's been around for 27 years that they need the pay attention to. (Laughter) Before you could sue the business, and I'm wondering, it passed the House Judiciary Committee on a party line vote, may or may not make to it the house floor, it does seem to have some momentum, I'm curious if your concern as a coalition about whether this actually could become law, and do you have any advice for the folks in our network about what we could be doing to help stop it?
"" I am concerned about this bill. This bill is an example of people hearing one side from like business lobbyists and not hearing the other side. Not hearing from civil rights advocates before they jump on a bill. So this is an instance where we had some people cosponsor the bill in the House. Then we as a coalition lobbied against it and got at least one if not two to decosponsor, I mean, I have to tell you, that's a pretty rare Fete, I don't remember that happening. On the House side we are very focused on making sure people don't join the bill, and people who are on it understand the real consequences of it. But I think that this is absolutely a bill that we need to be doing a better job educating House leadership. So I will certainly tell you that, you know congressmen and leader Pelosi and Foyer are fully aware of them we've had conversations with them about how important sit to stop this bill. What they are urging is to make sure that we are doing similar outreach to republican leadership in the House. So, I think it is essential that people be reaching out to Speaker Ryan's office, but the full leadership, whether it's Scalice McCarthy or others. It's out of committee. So right now, the leadership could bring it up on the floor of the House. We need disability advocates to be making clear to republican House leadership how offensive this bill is, frankly to those of us who really care about the protections of the ADA. And, I think they drafted this in a very sneaky way to make it seem like it's somehow helping the ADA. And that requires some serious education.
"" Yes, we need to tell people it's fake news. (Laughter).
"" Right. (Applause). So I guess you know, just from your Senate experience, you know, California is one of the states where there's been a lot of litigation. California passed it's own law to try to reform the ADA. And Senator Feinstein historically has been pretty sensitive to this issue. My sense though is that she's not ready to support this bill and is concerned about the opposition from the disability community. Do you have any intelligence on that?
"" That's my general sense. Other thing I will tell you is that, I really think that the disability rights community so upped their stature in the recent healthcare fight. That I think it would be hard to see, ignoring The Voice of the disability community because, the community did such an impactful and important job, let's clap for that. (Laughter) Because it was amazing!
"" That's great.
"" It's unfront that leadership, whether it's Democratic or republican can really take groups for granted in the communities for granted and need to be reminded of their power, frankly. And I think it was a real display of energy and power and smart strategic thinking how the disability community came out in real force in September, October, and even in July. So I think right now, it's hard for me to imagine that there can be any ignorance of the power of the disability community and the broader civil rights community.
"" That's great to hear a lot of folks in this audience spent a lot of time on that issue including a number of AUCD staff. So we really appreciate hearing that. Sometimes it's hard to remember that good things happen when you're fighting bad things.
"" Yeah, it was a huge victory. And the battle's not over. Right. But even last night, you get glimmers of hope that maybe in Virginia, you know, Medicaid expansion will be on the table. Last night we say in Maine. Voters turning up. That's a great signal of the Senators from Maine. I just think last night was good news for all of us who fought against the terrible repeal and replace bill.
"" I just have one last question then we'll go to the audience and I'm aware that our next panel has to be out of the room by 11 o'clock this which is fine, I didn't know if we had to be out earlier we're in good shape we have a number of early career professionals here in the audience, that's one of my favorite things about our network and conference. We usually bring over 100 early professional, a lot of them are LEND trainees, LEND is the leadership program we do, the L stands for leadership, a interdisciplinary training program. They're learning to be leader, they're learning if they're in occupational therapist or a social worker, psychologist, they're learning part of being a leader is thinking at a systems level, and doing advocacy, understanding public policy. But you know, many of them are women. That's just the nature of our network, the majority by far of our trainees early career professionals are women. And you know, you've had kind of a extraordinary career. I know I liked your point about developing your voice because, I still feel like I'm a Hill staffer, you know. I kind of prefer that. (Laughter).
"" It's safe.
"" Well, it's also not about you. And there's something about that that's nice.
"" Yeah, there is a good humility lesson in it, right.
"" But based on your experience do you have any career or leadership advice for the many young women leaders who are here with us this morning?
"" Two pieces of advice that I've been given that I have beenen to me by great mentors in the mast. Someone to figure out what you really are passionate about? What is the thing that you can't but bring up at the Thanksgiving table? What's the thing you can't help but bring up to your friends even when you know they'll disagree with you. Thinking about their passions. But thinking about what is it that you just can't put aside? Because that is something that will cause you to stay up late at night, will cause you the get up on a raining Saturday morning and go march, will cause you to write your 13th elect tore the editor. Thinking about -- letter to the editor. Thinking about that because it will sustain you in very dark moments. Other thing professionally is I have always, early in my career I lucked this space, I realized how valuable it was. So then I started choosing jobs with this in mind. You need to work with people who want you to grow. And I have had male and female mentors who cared about my growth, who cared about, who could see in me something that frankly I couldn't see in myself. Abilities to stretch. Working for bosses who just want you to do one thing and stay in that one space is it really thinking at your growth potential that's a job you might keep for a year but not a job that will sustain you professionally. I loved working for the Senator and before the Senator, the Justice Department is both of them had like a broad long-term perspective, and would tell me things like, I notice what you did there and I think you should do more of it. So just one little comment like that from a boss makes you think they're actually thinging about your growth. So especially early in your career, make sure you're asking for advice too. Because sometimes it wakes your boss up to you actually needing to grow. (Laughter) But asking for advice on what more could you be contributing to your boss? Sometimes that will cause you're supervisor or your boss to think, oh, this person is actually someone who needs some growth potential, or I bet she could do more in this space or that space. Thinking about constantly trying to learn new things. I feel like this year, the growth I'm going through this year from being a Senate staffer to becoming the first person voice advocate has been harder than I expected, frankly. But I keep saying to my kids at night when I'm reading them bedtime stories they ask me how my day was, I'll say I was growing. I have a growth mindset. (Laughter) I may have screwed some things up, but I'll do better tomorrow. Just giving them that routine, that habit of you don't need perfection. You just need to be striving to be doing more.
"" When I was working at AAPD my young son, Nicholas when I a came home would say hi dad how was your good? It was good. Did you talk about disability? (Laughter) He called my office the disability room. (Laughter).
"" Disability room.
"" So with that happy note, we've got roving mics. I want to get to the audience, I think we have time for a few questions then we're going to move to our final conversation with Michael Gamel McCormick and Kimberly Knackstedt about some exciting legislation they're working on. Anybody have a question or comment for Kristine? In the back that looks like somebody from north -- no, somebody from Tennessee.
"" This is not specifically --
"" Introduce yourself.
"" I'm Janet, I work at the Kennedy and my boss who helps me grow is Elis MCMILLAN. When you talk at the census and how important it is for everyone to be counted, how do we encourage people who aren't here legally to be counted? Because, they still are in school. They still need services. And yet there's that great fear that by putting out this information it may end upcoming back to hurt them. How do we encourage them to participate in the census?
"" That is one of our biggest challenges. So the constitution requires this count. The constitution doesn't require it of citizens. Right, it's supposed to be everyone in the United States. But you're putting your finger on in this particular moment, where people are afraid to give their data, their personal location data to this government, it is going to be a real challenge. And frankly that's why we're going to need more community leaders who can assure people that it's safe to do. But we also need our congressional leaders to exercise oversight to make sure that that data is going to be kept confidential abnot just handed over to ICE. So, we're going to be working on that. Right now there is an understanding that this data does not get handed over, but frankly, there are a lot of assumptions and protocols that are being destroyed every day by this Administration. So I am worried both about the rumor, whisper campaign that could chill the count. But I'm also worried about whether we'll be able to assure that this data will not be shared to anyone, if you look at the DACA recipients alone and the dreamer. Who's lives have been turned into turmoil because President Trump evoked the program unnecessarily creating this crises, many of them are worried that they gave their data to the government on the promise that they would be able to have a work permit, and not be deported and now, this Administration has that data. And there's a real concern about whether or how they're going to use that data regardless of whether we can get the Dream Act passed by December. So you put your finger on something that will be a huge challenge for us. The only real way to counter it is to have trusted local officials who can be reassuring but also to have a congressional strategy which restricts the use of the data.
"" I just want to add, there's really no issue that you work on that doesn't have a disability angle. So in the immigration context, obviously there are a number of imgrants with disabilities, family members with disabilities, you saw the high profile case of the young woman with cerebral palsy where the ACLU had to get involved.
"" Imagining ICE agents standing outside of a hospital, I mean, it's really, disgusting.
"" And the other kind of -- hidden immigration issue in some ways is the direct support workforce, the people who provide the supports for people with disability in this country, there's a labor market shortage. And a lot of those folks are immigrants. And some of them are undocumented. So there are just a lot of ways in which the immigration issue effects people with disabilities.
"" And there are a lot of mixed status families you can imagine a mother who is here lawfully who has some immigrant children who don't have status, and some U.S.-born children. And does she count all of them on the census form? Does she only count the ones that she's not as worried about being deported? So in addition to what the Administration is threatening to do and is doing on TPS which is temporary protected status, people who have been here because it's introduce dangerous for them to go from the countries they fled from, many of them have U.S. citizen children. And the question is, will the parent if they are on a temporary protected status, will the parent fill out the form? If they don't fill out the form, their U.S. born children aren't counted? So you really put your finger on something that is going to be a huge challenge.
"" So is there another question in the audience? Everybody been teed up. David Deer from Arkansas. By the way, David, was an associate pastor before he was the director of our Center in Arkansas, and Hillary and Chealse Clinton were in his congregation.
"" Since Andy's done my introduction, I won't have to do that. (Laughter) I think those of us us in UCEDDs are very good with collaborating with folks within the disability community that might not be quite so good with collaborating with people outside of that arena. I wonder from your perspective who are some groups we should be linking with in our state to work on issues of civil rights and human rights in.
"" Well, not just saying this because you're a pastor, but I will say that, faith groups I think are really essential to this fight. I am a Sunday school teacher myself, I really am drive on the fight for civil rights as part of my faith. Unfortunately in this particular moment, people, other people of faith are using it as a sword not a shield. And I think we're going to see attacks whether it's attacks on the LGBT protections or attacks on women's health rights, under the guise of, under the facade of religious freedom. And especially it's important that people of faith who believe in civil rights and believe in protecting both women and LGBT individuals, we need to speak up and make sure voices are heard. I find in my work trying to protect dreamer. That the faith groups that we work with at the Leadership Conference are often more able the get meetings with republican members of Congress. So we are leaning hard to our faith groups in our coalition to help us in that instance. They're amazing leaders especially the immigration context. But I'm sure they also as well in the disability context. I would say faith groups is one way. It absolutely cuts across communities. But I would also encourage people to think about some of the new emerging start up, frankly. I've been impressed with Color of Change indivisible And Move On those three organizes, Move On is not as new, but the other two are newer, they have interesting very local affiliates and you know, you can do a lot of activism at your computer that way. And I feel like they've done a really good job of trying to harness new engagement, and getting people who are engaged in one issue to think more broadly. So, that would be my two pieces of advice.
"" Thank you. I think we have time for one more question. I see Tia over here. Please introduce yourself and then you get the last question.
"" Okay, my name is Tia Elis I'm from Maryland. But I'm The President of Self Advocates Becomes Empowered which is a national disability organization. And my question to you is do you have people with disabilities in your coalitions helping you fight and do this work that's so very important to the disability community?
"" We do. We are lucky to represent officially as members, several different disability groups. But --
"" Including AUCD.
"" Yeah, including this one. But we also work frankly with folk whose are not official members of our coalition. So if you're organization would want to link up and plug in, I two -- awe that would be totally awesome. We would be glad to help you in ways that we can. Thank you.
"" That would be great. So we generally, the more than 200 organizations are national organizations. One thing that the new leadership team lead by Vanita Gupta want to do is frankly link up more with state and local groups. We definitely are in a period of thinking at more outside the beltway connectivity. The Leadership Conference has always been really a kind of federally focused national organization focused coalition. But frankly right now we are really feeling the need to be more connected to have a network outside the beltway. Because frankly that's where the rubber meets the road. That is where people actually experience their civil rights, it's not just in the halls of Congress. So, we are absolutely trying to figure out how better to bring people in from state and local organizations that don't have a national presence. And that's true not just on the census, but on all sorts of issues. So I would love to be in touch with you.
"" So are Michael and Kimberly in the House? And micked up? Somebody can say it out loud in the answer is yes. The answer is yes. Okay, great. I guess the last thing I wanted to say is, we had a meeting with Wade at the end of his tenure, Nancy Zirkin was there, Ellen who's still there was there. And I think we talked about the importance of the Leadership Conference doing a better job of paying attention to accessibility, and the work that you all do, trying to think about hiring people with disabilities as part of -- you a very diverse staff. But you don't have a history of hire ago lot of folk whose have a strong disability identity some you know we had a wonderful first meeting with Vanita Gupta where we reiterated that. But just to go along the lines of what Tia was saying, I think it will help you a lot if you have at least one person on your team that really knows this community. And I think there are a lot of people in the community that would love to work for the Leadership Conference. So I just encourage you and Vanita to really think about that.
"" Absolutely. I have to tell you, I think it is something very, very important personally to many of news the leadership team. And I do think that not all disabilities you can see on the outside.
"" I understand.
"" I'm within of them.
"" Yeah. Right. So I would say that we have had a loft frank conversations frankly as part of the strategic process. Because we're incredibly mindful of the importance of representing the broad diversity of our coalition. So, I absolutely think there's more that we can do to make sure that the disability community is represented in all these different programs that we work on. Because it is frankly an issue that cut ace cross all of our issues.
"" So, you know, selfishly I would tell you that our network is the best network in the disability community. (Laughter) (Applause)And one of my evidence points as far as that the most important staffer in the Senate for people with disabilities grew up in our network and was the President of our National Board that would be Michael Gamel McCormick who's the disability policy director for Senator Casey, and one of the most important staffers on the House for people with disabilities who works for Bobby Scott, Kim Kimberly Knackstedt also grew up in our network. So we groom people to play key roles in the House and the Senate, and I'm going to invite Michael and Kim to come up to the stage. But please, join me in thanking Kristine Lucius for being with us. (Applause).
"" Hello everybody, how are you? Where are my Philadelphia people? Where are my Pittsburgh people? You folk nose that holiday died yesterday. Very sad. So I'm wearing my Phillies hat. I'll take it off.
"" Welcome guys it's good to see you all again. Kim and I are going to do about 20 minutes of legislative policy work kind of let you know where things are in the House and Senate. We're going to talk a little bit about a specific topic and that would be disability employment and some of the plans that our two offices are working onto address that. Get the a little bit of a sense of what the disability caucus is like. So we're going to talk for about 20 minutes. And then we'll do some questions afterwards. And then you get to go visit all of us hopefully, I hope on the Hill and raise your voices. I heard that Lisa Lisa Rochester Blunt was wonderful this morning. (Applause). Yeah. So one of the things that we all say a f you hear a wonderful message the second step is to follow-through and make those asks and visit people and make sure that that message gets distributed across as many people as possible. So that's the next step and that's the job we do.
So Kim do you want to start off, we'll tell people where we are.
"" Yeah, there's obviously a lot going on on the Hill right now. It's been a busy year I think it's fair to say. It feels like much longer than a year. Right now we are really busy with "tax reform" whatever that may end up being. There are a lot of concerns for us on the House side. So on the workforce, we have some say in kind of what's going on in the Ed side. But I've been keep ago close eye on some of the tax reform across really the disability community and what that would mean. We're deeply concerned in the education space about this opening up of school choice, for wealthy families what that could mean to the public school system. Obviously the tax credit, the way, the taxes the way that would strip public funding. There's too many thing to go through right now. But we are deeply, deeply concerned about this. We're hoping that the Senate can step in and hold the line for us. We're not super optimistic that we'll get changes in this five day markup that's happening right now. So we will see what happens. But we're trying to hold the line as much as we can. And then, we also are doing some higher ed work right now. There are a lot of rumors swirling about what's going to happen. We know the Senate is not in a t the same place we are right now. The House side is happening in a very partisan way. But we are expecting the majority bill to drop anytime, frankly in the next few week. We don't know what that bill will have in it. We are expecting from the conversations that we've heard, one loan program, which means everything in Title IV is consolidated down. We are expecting Title II teacher prep to be either significantly reduced or eliminated. And then we are not sure about some of the other provisions around TPSDS and the other pieces, but they are considered "other programs." And are oftentimes in these types of partisan draft eliminated as well. On the Democratic side we're work on a substitute amendment that would be a entire bill that would basically add in back all the good things that we like which includes the bill that representative introduced earlier this year on higher education access to people with disabilities, that AUCD was very supportive of that as we were introducing it. So we also have HR 620, which has been consuming a big portion of my day. (Laughter), it's the bill that strip ace way rights under the ADA for people with disabilities. That bill has, I believe as soft this morning it was 89-- I believe as of this morning it was 89.
"" There were five new republican to that.
"" So, to kind of give you where that bill is at. A lot is involved here. But basically it provide as noticing period for the ADA which in a sense provides no reason to comply with the ADA until you're notified of a violation. It really just wipes out the whole point of having the ADA. We would see this walking us back to pre1990 if this were to actually pass. It has bipartisan support, originally there were 11 Democratic oh sponsors of the bill to the two have removed themselves which is great thank you to ADAPT the others that have been really engaged on this. But right now the bill is sitting in committee, it has passed out of committee but not been reported out of committee. We don't know if it's going to come the floor. There's a similar bill that's been introduced for the last 17 years. And so, it has never gotten this far as we think it will get. It will event ya'lly get to the floor, we don't know, it could be January 3rd, it could be next week. We really don't know. We're keepinh a close eye on it, we are trying to educate staff, most staff are younger than the ADA. Trying to let them know that this is something they need to care about.
And trying to make sure that we get the democrats off the bill and that when the vote comes down to it, it's a party line vote. I think the other two pieces Keeping All Students Safe Act, the seclusion and restraint bill trying to limit and prohibit seclusion. That is like will be reintroduced soon, Representative Buyer has taken it November the House side from George Miller. working on some necessary update to that. Which include more of a recognition of school resource officers their involve in recollusion and restraint and the data collection pieces that we need to be mindful of. Then we have a number of other just edits to align bet we are the Every Student Succeeds Act and IDEA. The final piece that has been consuming much of our time, on Friday afternoon 3 p.m. is the Department of Education's deregulatory agenda. They love to give us an absence, right on Friday, makes far fun weekend. So we are watching closely this idea of guidance rescission, the 72 guidance documents that were resended. We do expect there to be more. They said that is phase one, we're entering Phase II. We have no idea how many phase there is will be. So we think this proportionately is likely on the chopping block. So we are keep ago very close eye on that. And hopefully giving briefings on the House side to help staffers understand it's very much in the weeds issue. Then we're very concerned on the employment side on the vocational rehabilitation regulations under WIOA we have heard that's also on the chopping block. So, yeah. Fighting away in the House rate now, that's pretty much all we're doing.
"" Thank, Kim. So I'm going to in a response to that or a mirror to that in terms of what's happening in the Senate right now. In terms of taxes, we're extraordinarily concerned, many of you probably know some of the provisions that are in the proposed tax bill, although frankly, since Monday it has been a shifting field (Laughter) To try to navigate through. So, many of you know that there is a proposal to eliminate the medical deduction from personal income taxes. There's some word this is morning that that may go back in. As it is though, there are 8.8 million people who use the medical deduction. Half of them make between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, and many of them are either aging, or people with disabilities, or a family that has a child with a chronic medical condition. So it hits the population that you all work with directly. It's a huge concern that's out there. It eliminates the tax credit for businesses to do accommodations and adaptation to their buildings. Again, a direct hit, I think on people with disabilities. And reduces the likelihood that businesses will be friendly to people with disabilities and that they will be able to employ people with disabilities. And it also takes away what's called WOTCI, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which a employer can get $2400 for hiring a person with a disability. Again, reduces the incentive to hire people with disabilities. So there are pieces like this sprinkled throughout the tax bill, we actually had a list of ten other, the top ten horrors that we'll release tomorrow out of Senator Casey's office on this that has an impact on those who are aging and those who have disabilities.
"" If I can jump in with the business tax credit to comply with the ADA, it's very ironic because, under this HR 620 bill that I mentioned much of the conversation is that businesses, it's too costly to comply with the ADA. The small businesses you can't possiblely build a ramp or whatever it may be. Then they go and cut the tax credit to help small businesses pay for those ramps. So, they're kind of working both sides of the issue here.
"" In a horrible way. Awe but we're both democrats, so. (Laughter) Let me jump right onto 620 then from the Senate's point of view. It's not yet introduced or even in committee at this point in the Senate. It is likely though that once it reaches the floor in the House that there will be an introduction Senator Flake from Arizona has been the likely introducer, he introduced it last session as well. So any of you from Arizona who want to visit Mr. Flake's office and offer a opinion about this bill, let me just say a couple of words about what we call notice in cure. Notice in cure, what it essentially does is it guts the civil rights coupons. If there is no incentive for a business the make things accessible until somebody actually offers notice that there is a problem, then there's no reason for a business in advance to actually make their business accessible. Right now, it is a civil right. It very clear if you put a notice and cure in, then everybody just waits until somebody complains and then you fix it. The other thing is that in the House bill at least, you actually don't have to fix it you just have to be making progress towards fixing it. And there's no time period for that as well. There's a time period of 120 days to look at it. And if you're making progress, I think there's a significant progress "substantial progress", there's no definition of what a substantial progress is though. So that essentially would be the same as saying, if you're a woman and you're coming into my restaurant, I don't want to serve you, I get 120 dice fix my policy, whether you want to come in, if you're African American, or LGBTQ, it's the same type of taking away of a civil right from somebody. So this is a big deal. It guts essentially the public accessibility component of the ADA. And we need to be very, very aware of it as it moves forward. I had a visit from a strip mall representative yesterday on this bill. And she was just going on, and on about how burdensome it was, and I kept going on and on saying, it's your job to take away civil rights from 56 million people? We were just talking past each other. So there is a huge component that want this is passed out there.
"" It's really the first of the civil rights laws that we do think will be hit. We think this -- it isn't just about access and people with disabilities having access to public acome day, this is about an attack on civil rights. I think we've been trying to be very clear and the Congressional Black Caucus has been helping us as well. Because they feel all civil rights are next if this goes first.
"" I'll transition back to the Higher Education Act there has been pretty much radio silence from Senator Alexander's office on this. However, they have been working on some version of a bill. The rumors are that the bill would actually be extraordinarily slim, much like Kim just described, that it would address student loans. It may address a little bit of teacher preparation. And virtually nothing else. So those of you who are concerned about particularly post secondary education programs need to be talking to people and saying how important that program is and advocating for that program. Both the Senator Alexander's office and your own Senators as well. In terms of keeping All Students Safe Act Senator Murphy's office is ready to introduce a version of that, we expect that hopefully sometime before the end of the calendar year. Which is very good news, so we'll have two companion bills introduced to address that as well. And then we are keep ago close watch on deregulation, although The House tend to do a better job of that than we do, frank partly because of the last thing I'm going the raise. Part of our responsibility is looking at nominations. There have been a extraordinary number of nominations for labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, I will highlight one nomination right now next week, the Deputy Secretary of education will Be consider look carefully about his background, he supports seclusion and restraint. He's coming out of South Carolina. So there are some real concerns with that nomination. So things are active. Busy up there. But we want to spend a little bit of time talking about employment specifically. Kim do you want to talk about the Wage Act.
"" So, earlier this year ranking member Scott along with Senator sander, Senator -- pretty much the entire Democratic caucus on the House side introduced raise the wage, which was a $15 minimum wage bill, which is important for a variety of reasons. It was the first time raise the wage which has been introduced over many years of different amounts, the first time it hit $15. Which was the center for standards priority which many of you remember from the eelection. The bill also expanded to address tipped workers and youth workers who are often under that minimum wage. So, when we were beginning conversations actually before I moved over to the House side, back in October, really the members all said if we're addressing all these different pieces in the fair labor standards act and leave out 14 which allow sub minimum wage for people with disabilities that's not okay. We can't just ignore that piece of it. There was very broad support to include a phased out of 14C in the $15 minimum wage bill. So that is in there. It was introduced, actually whip Hoyer during our big press conference when bill was dropped he wanted to speak about the importance of phasing out 14C, a big priority for them and the other members among the bill. Rank member Scott said, obviously for messaging we need to phase this out. What is this actually going the look like? How do we do this well? How do we end not just not kicking people out and putting them on the street? He and I sat down and had a variety of conversations, long debates about the research, and what we need to do. And he really said we have to do more than just phase it out. We need something for transition. We need to understand that the providers are a key piece in this, the families and the people with disabilities. How do we help all of them kind of change attitudes, change expectations and competitive integrated employment. So this has been a long drawn out process for us of trying the figure out how do we actually do that? How do we do it well? We do some of the states that had phased out model, unfortunately there's not a ton of data for those states. Everyone did something a little bit differently. So Michael and I began having conversations about what would it look like if we were to actually do this? And from there we both met with providers in our district, and the state. We've met with a loft self advocates, we met with a lot of familiar his. And we're trying to craft something that really addresses a lot of these issues.
"" Yeah. The recognition that there is not a network of supports everywhere that there needs to be to help individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities, if they were to come out of sheltered workshops and sub-minimum wage programs is real. I've since N the last ten months I have probably been in 25 workshops around the state. So there were 101 workshops in Pennsylvania by the way. There are 10,000 people who work in those workshops in the state. So sit an actual service support need that needs to be in place. And one of the reasons Mike did not give raise the wage because the 14C program was eliminated but there was nothing that actually substituted the work and that helped people transition. So, our thinking has been at this point is to create a set of grants that would transition, or transform as my boss like to say, rather than transition, transform these programs from sub-minimum wage, sheltered, to competitive integrative employment settings. Employment settings basically that would be supporting people either to find work in the community, or to actually turn their businesses around into competitive integrated settings. I will tell you that I've been in probably five or six in rural Pennsylvania that could easily flip to integrated competitive wonderful business models, and they need some help with transforming that to happen. So we have a two-grant model at this point that we're talking about.
"" We should say this is all still very much draft.
"" It is very drafty. And one of the things we would love is some feedback from you all, some thoughts about this as well. And as would be said, this could all change at some point.
"" But the types of thinking that we're thinking about at this point is, do we help the state do this for everybody in the state? And do we also possibly help some of the providers do this to make the transformation as well some the grant programs that help them do that transition overall.
"" One of the pieces we recognize is that some states are not in a place to get a grant and totally transform. We recognize we are in very different place ace cross the country. Already states are already embracing this idea and already trying to do it. They could just use a little extra support from technical assistance to money. So we wanted to really empower the state to take the next step and do more. But we also didn't want to leave behind the people that are employed in states that aren't ready to transform. So we wanted to be very careful about providing opportunities kind of on both sides. And with a recognition of just the lack of capacity and honestly the attitudes in many places.
"" And much of this is coming from the environment that got set up from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which first of all clearly identified what competitive integrative employment was. And we have to shut off the pipeline of youth moving into these sub-minimum wage programs. But what we don't have is we don't have a robust capacity that to actually create other types of settings. And that's really what we want to have happen is create those settings. Not only the employment settings. We have to think about what the wrap-around support services are as well. Many people can work 35 or 40 hours a week. Many people can't or didn't want to. And so you work 20 hour as week, you need real integrated community services at that point some we need to not only create the capacity for CIE, we need to create the capacity for very good competitive, I'm sorry, integrated support services for those individuals as well. And the big issue of transportation and looking at how do we actually address the transportation issues. So in many ways we're thinking at a much more comprehensive look here instead of employment as a standalone separate entity.
"" And we also try to recognize that there are many people that are in sheltered workshops that we failed in the education system. We did not give them an education. They entered the sheltered workshop preIDEA when they were in segregated education settings with no education. So we are also trying to recognize that those folks are going to be in more -- it's going to be more challenging to give them this supports they need to transition out because we failed them. So we want to provide the supports necessary and make sure their prioritized and it's not just move a bunch of other folks out and you're left with the rest and you'll figure it out. We want the actually prioritize those that are in most need.
"" If we think about 1997and the reauthorization of IDEA. We saw --1997 we saw in many ways a sea change of pushing to make sure that real LRE started to take place. In 2001 with No Child Left Behind we saw a forcing of individuals with disabilities, children to actually be part of an assessment system, and whether or not you like assessment and the way it was handled at this point, that policy changed how schools paid attention to kids with disabilities. So they had much more access to the general curriculum. But we clearly have people in workshop whose were there prior to that. So we recognize that they need additional support. And that the people providing services also need some additional resources to help those individuals and support those individuals as well. Anything else about that?
"" I think that's about it, yeah.
"" So one closing point about that approach. If we get to the point where it actually comes to fruition, there will be lots of technical assistance and training around them can you think of a network that might be able to do that? (Laughter) I think there might be one here. You to think about how to help create the capacity overall. And we know that that's been a priority to begin with. But we really want to force it with this particular approach, that VR system, GD system, Medicaid systems, all of them are actually thinking about the same goal, and that is, integrated supports in the community, and competitive integrated employment. Uhm, I think unless there is anything else, we'll take some questions and have some dialogue.
"" When you're talking about capacity building and transition, one thing -- hello this is Nicole from Silver Spring Maryland, one thing that would be good is to like you know how like states, Vermont may provide waiver to Voc Rehab, you have employment support and you have community support as a wrap-around community support T rest of it, and when I say community support I'm talking through community support true community support, not just male therapy, helping somebody develop hobbies in the community. So when they're not on the job with a job coach, they're using community supports hobby, learn new thing, that would help as a wrap around, then of course when you talk about old people, when we leave the sheltered workshop we miss our friend, throw money at self advocacy then we can get people into local groups and that will help solve the problem of missing friends.
"" Great. Thanks Nicole.
"" My name is Lewis Friedman from Cincinnati Ohio, I've been reading about the Rise Act cosponsored by Senator Casey. Could you say a few words about that and what the current status is?
"" Sure, I think she has -- cosponsored this.
"" We wrapped it into our large bill on higher education access. But yeah.
"" So one of the things that the Rise Act recognizes is that, forgive me for trashing universities. (Laughter) Is that universities are not always really good about for students with disabilities. And that means students with learning disabilities and physical disabilities, and sensory disabilities and all types of disabilities.
So the Act actually addresses saying to universities that you need to provide a set of information to families and to applying students about the types of supports that you have. It also says that you can be considered as a student with a disability based on an IEP that you bring with you, or an assessment that you bring with you. And not a demand that you to redo or go and get another psychiatric -- psychological assessment to do that. Really the make it as smooth as possible for a 17 year old who's coming into the university setting to recognize that they do need some accommodations and they do need some supports as well. And then saying to a university you're responsible for providing aids as well. We all know that's true under the ADA to begin W the Rise Act puts a bold font on top of it and says you really need to pay attention to this, this is extraordinarily important. I think Senator Hassan mentioned it last night as well. We have good support on it.
We don't expect it to go anywhere until a higher education bill moves. And part of our argument out of my boss's office will be to attach it to whatever higher education bill is moving forward. That's the way it will actually get passed. That's where my concern about really slim, quick processes for higher education agent reauthorization comes in. That something like Rise won't get attached to it but, you all, if you any it's a good thing can actually ask for that to happen. Does that make sense?
"" In a Democratic substitute that we'll do on AGA, it will be wrapped into that. So we are wrapping in as well as a few other pieces that are out there, if you have a bill that help makes higher ed more accessible, so that would be kind of the first step of getting it wrapped in. There's been some pressure on republicans to wrap it in on the House side but, we don't anticipate it will be in this initial bill.
"" I used to be in Scotts district. I have two points, you issue grant opportunities that would be great. If you issue grant opportunities that would be great. How do you prevent legacy programs. My second question is I did not hear anything about technology, how do you fit that into this?
"" You want to take the legacy one?
"" Sure. Well --
"" We actually shut down to be very direct. What we do is we pull in the raise the wage section that basically says you have X amount of time to transform and then no more 14C programs and no more 14. (Applause)So that addresses the legacy piece.
"" Then that interacts with the wage piece and if they want the grants then they can transform into a more integrated setting. So they don't necessarily to close their doors they just have to close the entire business model to can become competitive and integrated.
"" The goal there to make sure no individual, and no family is left out in the cold so that we don't want that to happen at all. But we do want to eliminate what is an unfair wage at this point.
"" Discriminatory wage.
"" And help those programs change. But there does become an end point. The second piece I think we can absolutely address in terms of when we think about Medicaid and Medicaid's role in terms of helping create real integrated settings. One of the things that we need to recognize is that Medicaid waivers can actually use assistive technology to help people in integrated settings and employment settings. And part of that effort is to look at the individual state waivers and see how they're using it. One of the things we want to do is to look at how do we encourage Medicaid to look at integrated setting and integrated employment outcomes and actually incentivise that so that we would wrap in some pointing towards HP as one of the way to do that.
"" I do have a question. I'm sorry I'm Mike from the Iowa UCEDD. Hi there. We just had a series we're getting ready to initiate our writing our five-year plan. So part of that process was that we went out to the rural parts of Iowa and talked about what issues we're facing what people with disabilitis and family members were most concerned about. Obviously the employment, the sheltered shop, 14C was a big issue. And we heard lots of people obviously that support community-based integrated employment, but we also heard people that really supported where they were now. Because, the social aspect and people were kind of used to a routine. And so, you know, in the interest of being able to support choice, you know, one of the concerns too was, if they lose this -- if 14C go way way, at some point they'll go over their earnings limit, then the access to healthcare and that sort of thing will be a problem, others had the concern what if we can't find a job and so and so is sitting at home, which we are already experiencing in some situations. So I've been employed competitively for many year, I'm -- competitively, I am very, very grateful for that. Sometimes when we talk about these thing, we don't -- we're not acknowledging the other side of this, that people have some very legitimate concerns and grants are great. But you know, people's lives are going to be impacted and I guess, I'm expressing a concern that we make sure that we're really getting to that level of support and assistance at the very local level and make sure that you know, if we're going to go out and providing TA that we want to be seen as a state program as being responsive to all people with disabilitis regardless of what their choice is.
"" So I hope that one of the things that you heard was that the reason for this particular program is to actually transform those programs that you talked about people being in, to be competitive integrated settings or to support people in competitive integrated settings. And also to enhance what services are available. We're fully recognizing that we're not at the point right now where we can actually support everybody. And part of this bill would be to actually help states and localities create that piece.
"" I think one of the pieces we're trying to do is work very closely with the providers or employers, whatever the name would be in the community, the folks that are the the 14C certificate holders. We are trying to make sure we keep their perspective in mind because, often time, they went into this job to provide, it may have been family, they needed something for their child. We want to recognize that. We may disagree on what tend goal should be, but at the -- what the end goal should be but we want to make sure they're supported in this transition and they can use the skills they have to provide accommodations and help people move into the community or embrace everyone else in the community and open up their door to become integrated.
"" And I'll be again very direct around this. Mike, I hear often the issue of choice. I will say that none of you sitting in this room who do not have a disability do not have a choice to work at sub minimum wage, it's not a real choice, it's a choice that got created in 1938. And it is a choice that probably need to go away at this point if we --(applause)--
"" At the same time we create supports around people.
"" Question over here. Hang on. But before I hand it to her I wondered if you could tell us, are these folks able to start talking about this bill when they go to the Hill today? What's the talking point?
"" I think what I would prefer, and you jump in here too, if you would talk about the issue, but not the bill at at this point.
"" The bill is still very much a draft. It's in draft form. We have not shared with our republican counterparts that we are working on this at this point. We've been sharing kind of with a close Knit community, this is the first time we talked in a public forum. We are asking that you keep that we're writing the bill quiet but the goals we hit on are very, very important.
"" That recognizes how special you are, because we trust you guys. (Laughter).
"" My name is Angela Martin from Michigan. I have a question about the ADA notification. We've been -- one of the things that I think our congressional delegation has been quite proud of is they've never signed on until this year we had two freshman representatives kind of get emboldened and one very early on. I kind of brought the other freshman along. Now we have two. And we've had some of the more senior members of the delegation try to talk to them. There's a couple of staff that we've had some impact with. But in meeting with congressmen Mitchell a couple of times both in district and in home he still thinks it's a jobs killer, and that he just brings it back, it's not act civil rights. So if you have any advice in representative Mullin is a totally different conversation, he supports people with disabilities getting employed so it doesn't make sense to me. Any advice you have to change the conversation and move it away from the economic position they're taking to something else. Because civil rights conversations seem to not be working?
"" Yeah. That's fair. I will say before I go into the thing to talk about, actually, whip Hoyer said it's very helpful to make this as partisan as possible. Is t more republicans on the bill, the less likely it is, the fewer democrats theless likely it is to ever get to the floor. They have to burn some bridge to get to it the floor that way. So, as much as we do want folk to come off the bill, we kind of want to leave the reasons there, because it's going to help us -- the republicans there, it will help us, it sounds silly, it helps us not move it forward if it were completely bipartisan with equal number of democrats and republican, it would have moved much quick tore the floor.
In the long run we don't want to have that happen. I think it's very important to have that conversation with our staff so if it does come to a vote that they are in the right place. The conversation that civil rights is kind of falling flat to a lot of folks. And part of it is a small business, franchisees, the shopping centers, one of the issues that we keep hearing is it's only small violations. And what we've tried to point out is that a small violation to somebody not in a wheelchair, a small violation to someone who doesn't have limited mobility is a huge violation and could mean the difference between falls and hurting yourself, not having access to the building, not being able to wash your hand, use the bathroom a variety of pieces. Making that real is going to be really important. The ways that we have gotten democrats off the bill right now are having self advocates go in and actually sit down with the member and have that conversation. All the protesting is always helpful and n the sense it raises awareness. But the two members that have actually come off the bill had hour-long conversations with self advocates and that really was what did it and what got them off the bill. And then, again, highlighting that small business tax credit to become compliant with the ADA they're now trying to cut is a great way to also kind of flag it as, there's money to help you become complaint as well as the ADA technical Assistance Centers.
"" I also pointed them towards -- someone had a marvelous op ed last week, a marvlouse op ed last week. Basically said that she as a veteran who lost both of her legs, an inch rise keeps her out of a restaurant. And she sees no reason why she shouldn't be kept out after a restaurant, and no reason she has to wait 120 day to go into that restaurant. 180 days.
"" That's linked to last week's in-brief. Sit a marvlouse piece. I will also say if you search a little bit for Senator Hassan she will talk about this as well. How her family can not go to certain places because her son is can not get in. Therefore they can not be part of a community and celebrate in the community a birthday or things like that because of what uninformed folk thinks of as very small items.
"" Hello, I'm Andrea, I'm from the University of Kansas, I'm a school nurse. And I am here to represent the state of Kansas and minorities with disabilities and also the schools and teachers.
"" A lot of representation. (Laughter).
"" Yes! I'm also a LEND trainees. So I just wanted to comment that I love this program. And I think it's amazing. And it's given me a lot of insight. So my question is, the ADA was implemented in 1990, when was in elementary school, the ADA was relatively new. And I didn't get diagnosed by the school with four disabilities until I was 28. And the schools like the state of Kansas right now just cut school funding by $50 million. I advocate for students with disabilities in the elementary schools and I've reached out to teachers to identify these students early onto get them the resources they need. However, the teachers raised the concern and the district about funding to identify these students. And insurance companies right now aren't paying for that either which is a huge, that's like huge. That needs to be addressed somehow, I don't know how. But you know T fact that there's kind of like a gap because the insurance companies say it's the school's responsibility. The schools say, well the physician should be involved too and healthcare should be involved. So you know, I don't want what happened to me to happen to other students. And I want to make sure that that issue is addressed. So what recommendations do you have in terms of what we can do from the teacher's perspective, from the healthcare perspective so that we can advocate for these students that aren't being identified and that, you know, my documentation was like completely erased because I was ten years out of school. So they like completely erased everything. They were provided me service but they didn't want to diagnose me because they would then have to pay for all of the treatment. And I know the ADA says that they're supposed to, that's part of it. And they're supposed to. But it's still not happening. So I know that's kind of a loaded question.
"" Well I think the important piece is IDEA and the ADA kind of how they're working together in schools. One of the things that we know that the diagnosis and this issue is something we hear about often. It's important that teachers are not physicians. Teachers don't have the medical background to make a diagnosis as we want the call it. And so that is where we need our education system and physicians to kind of work together. I think as a former Special ed teacher, was not every comfortable saying just in what I think is you have XY Z disability, it was more about what are the services and supports I can give you to help you access the general education curriculum, that's really the job of the special education teacher. It's not necessarily to label and identify, but to provide that IEP that helps that student to get where they need to be. I didn't know if you want to add anything.
"" There are a couple of levers you can look at.
Every school district is in charge of the Child Find component of IDEA to identifying and providing support to every LEA in the school district that. Is the charge. It is very straight forward, it's birth-21 years of age, the school district is responsible for doing that. So part of what you do is get on school board, get on school committees, you push that issue. We make sure that people know that that is the LEA's responsibility. You work with your state legislature to provide funding for schools. You work with your local cities and counties also to make sure that there is funding for schools as well. And then you go to your congressmen and women and Senators and also ask for full funding for IDEA as well.
"" At least flat funding. We've had cuts although it's been advertised, you know, by the other side that we are very slight increases to IDEA funding, percentage wise, for the amount that 40% of the for people's expenditure, we've actually gone down the last couple of year we've seen a $90 million increase here, that's still going down because we have more students in the classroom. And I think you know, there is the IDEA Full Funding Act, it's widely supported, it likely won't go anywhere because we probably won't get there, in one year. But at the same time we need to push for little increases until we get there.
"" The cost is somewhere around $120 billion over ten years right now. That's a very heavy lift. There's a tax cut that's around that number too. (Laughter).
"" But yeah, do we have time for one more.
"" One more then we have to close up.
"" So this is more of a discussion advice question. My name is Daniel Ecmman from New Mexico, and I'm here with the University of Mexico Center For Developmental Disabilities, I also work on the DD Council as a staff member. But one of the things we've noticed, this is particularly for the 14C issue in our state trying to eeliminate something, this can apply to many other issue, there maybe many other stories here that are similar them has happened twice, what we're hearing from self advocates with a wide range of different disabilities, visible, invisible disabilities, variety, and we'll talk about why to us, you know, it's not only a civil rights issue, we'll say why it's important to have real options, to have full time, to have real employment options, full-time employment to have a decent wage, to make a level by working. What has happened by n a lot of cases though is, when the agency will have usually have parents that have students with disabilities, or will have essentially their child with a disability will be in one of these sheltered workshops they'll talk about issues like they can find work, this is the only option they have. And what tend to happen, this is kind of a perverse way of looking at it. But the attitude is that, well we as self advocates are the exemption because we're successful, and the parents because they're children aren't successful are the ones that need to be listened to. I don't know if self advocates are running into this issue, there's a point to where they're still such an ingrained attitude of disability that, disability can not mean success, therefore, if people with disabilities that are working full-time, or have done a lot for themselves are testify, the idea is well, they're the exception to the rule, most people with disabilities aren't going to be able to be successful in the "real" workplace. So how do you get past that barrier? We've thought of educating parents and younger, when they have young children about, hey you need to raise your expectations for your kids there are parents out there also, i will see the parents in there, if you're against 14C waivers, you really need to speak up, because frankly those are The Voices that the legislators are at least our state are listening to. There really needs to be a push around getting parents against this to speak out saying this is not a acceptable option. How do you get around that 14C3 with other issues.
"" I don't think you get around it. We engage with it, it's very important to engage with family members and to listen very carefully to what those concerns are. That's part actually part of why the draft bill we're constructing addresses things the way it does. To say to family it's very important to create the supports. It's very important not to leave behind someone and not have them end up in a work situation. That's why we're constructing things the way we are. I would also say, this is not in any way, shape, or form to blame somebody, but our systems have not been great about preparing people with disabilities. And we need the get better at it. And we are getting better at it. We actually know a whole lot more of what makes a successful thing for somebody to be able to live independently and to live in an integrated competitive job setting. We're betting at it than we were before. The last thing I would say is, I don't know if David Meckl was here during the session. But David has a really neat study from 2007 that went in and talked to about 200 people in sheltered settings and asked them where they wanted to work. 80% of them said they wanted to work some place else. They wanted to be out in the community. They wanted real jobs. They wanted to be interacting with other folks out in the community. That's the individuals that somebody, the family members are talking about. I in no way shape or form want to disparage a family member at all. They love, support and care, and worry about their adult children. So let's create a system that actually will support them and put them in a place that actually is stronger and better and creates a life of choice for them.
"" I think we're starting to see the shift, we talked about it, disability policies used to be much more bipartisan, I would say it still is. On this issue it's more of a generational kind of gap. Older members of Congress had the whole very similar views to what you're saying family member do, it's a inherent belief that if you have a disability you can't be employed. But then we're getting this new kind of refreshing voice of younger members who said, I grew up with my child side by side with the general education peers. I worked in another job with people with disabilities. And I think that conversation is going to continue to happen across the board. We're going to hopefully start seeing some better shift on this issue. Because we do believe all people can work and people can be employed in competitive integrated settings.
"" I would like to thank you and have everybody join me in thanking these two. They have to get back to the Hill but, I just wanted to say how lucky are we to have two staffers like this in the House and Senate and working together on legislation that we can all support and get around. So thank you so, so much for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to come here. (Applause).
"" Don't go away. I wanted to just quickly remind you all to go to the Hill today and want to make sure I stuck around in case you had any final questions. If you don't know, the Red Line that's right out your door, just a couple of blocks down at Chinatown will take you right to Union Station if you're going to the Senate side. You can also just walk over to the House side from there or you can take the Blue Line To Capitol South if you're going to the house side, it's easy to catch a cab right out in front of the hotel.
So we sent you talking points earlier before you came here that basically just said what we'd really like you to do first and foremost is to talk about your Centers. And talk about the good work that you're doing in your state, that's impacting people that you serve in your states, in your local community, and nationwide. Because you do work as a network and so you're making impacts nationwide. If you're a LEND student, talk about your discipline. People on the Hill, staffers and members of Congress get so excited when they hear students talking about how passionate you are about your training.
And so if you talk about the interdisciplinary nature of your LEND program, and/or your UCEDD program, it really helps me when you guys talk about what you're doing as UCEDD and LEND and IDDRCs, that really helps AUCD fight for your appropriations. So that's what I'd like you to talk about first and foremost. After that, you know, if you have a member on the Appropriations Committee, talk about funding, talk about funding issues. If you know that you have members that are on the House Ways and Means or the Senate Finance Committee you should definitely be talking about the tax issues. Actually the tax issue you should be talking to everyone. I think that that is our next major issue that we're going to be facing and the next major threat to all of our program, really, as Michael and Kim talked about up here. The tax bill, you know, you can talk about some of the individual, the WOTCI and the medical expense, but really, the larger issue is that it's going to cut our revenue base to the point where it's going to lead to huge deficits and the next thing they're going to do next year is again, attack Medicaid, Medicare, social security, and all of our discretionary programs will be at risk because they will have to do major deficit reduction, using the reconciliation instructions which was that fast-paced way to get things through Congress. So that is our next major threat.
And then, you know, of course if you have members on the education workforce, or the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate side, you can then talk about Rise Act, the Higher Education Act, TPSD, some of the other programs that these folks talked about. Reminder not to talk about the specific legislation that they are working on, but you can talk about employment issues in general that will support what they're working on. And then eventually when that bill is introduced, then we can you know, jump in and start helping to get some cosponsors. Finally you might get some questions about the Home And Community-Based Rule so I hope that you're prepared to talk about supporting The Home And Community-Based Services Rule because that is what we need to push for systems change in our states in a positive way. And Kristine and I, and the rest of our staff will hang around for a few minutes longer in case you have any specific questions include thought get to the Hill or how the talk to a staff member. And on your way out, please feel free to pick up AUCD's public policy goals. They're on the table right next to the registration desk. And finally, I just want to thank you, thank you, thank you for staying an extra day and taking the time to go to the Hill. It is so, so important. Thanks. (Applause).
"" One last round of applause for Kim, 16 years in service to AUCD. (Applause). I also just want to remind folks, AUCD has a monthly call or where we update you on things that are happening in Washington. Thefection call is November 16 at 5 p.m. eastern, it's open to anyone in the network who want to participate. You'll get emails from Kristine about it. The conference is over, go to the Hill and prosper, and safe travels back to wherever you're going. (Applause).