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					   VOLUME 11, ISSUE 48
   DECEMBER 4, 2006

   ACTION ALERTS
   ACTION ALERTS are URGENT messages for you to send to elected officials and need your
   IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. The coding below indicates the status of the alert:

            •    New alerts are noted in red with the * * * symbol.
            •    Ongoing alerts are noted in green with the === symbol.

   Use the link(s) below to visit The Arc’s online Action Center today and take action:

             •    ***TELL CONGRESS: MAKE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN FULL FUNDING A TOP
                  PRIORITY IN LAME DUCK SESSION - FURTHER AGENCY CUTS WILL AFFECT
                  PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES***

   NEWS & INFORMATION BULLETINS
   Use the link below to review the update(s) on important issues and events:

             •    NONE THIS WEEK

   MAJOR EVENTS LAST WEEK
   Emergency Preparedness

             •    U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered the Bush Administration to restore
                  housing benefits to approximately 11,000 gulf coast hurricane-displaced families
                  who were cut-off from assistance last summer. In his order, Judge Leon said that
                  the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not give these families
                  sufficient notice that the short-term assistance would end and failed to explain
                  adequately why the longer 18-month assistance was being denied. Leon’s ruling was in
                  response to a lawsuit filed in August by the Association of Community Organizations
                  for Reform Now.
                  o The federal court ruling disappointed FEMA Administrator David Paulison, who
                      indicated that FEMA lawyers were deciding whether to appeal it. Paulison said
                      FEMA began making payments last year to any hurricane victim requesting aid
                      without investigating whether they actually qualified. As a result, FEMA housed
                      many ineligible people, stretching its resources and causing them funding shortfalls
                      for extending the housing assistance to qualified individuals and families. Paulison

Weekly news and information on disability public policy related to mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other disabilities
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                                                             2


                      also said he would discourage any further congressional oversight by the 110th
                      Congress.

            •    Another federal judge ruled that insurance companies should pay previously
                 denied claims for water damage to the tens of thousands of people whose homes
                 and businesses in New Orleans flooded during Hurricane Katrina. According to
                 the plaintiffs, more than 200,000 homes and thousands of businesses were damaged or
                 destroyed by the flooding in New Orleans, and insurers refused to pay claims at all or
                 failed to reimburse enough for people to rebuild. The insurance companies insisted that
                 their policies did not cover flooding. A final ruling could take months, possibly years,
                 but insurers expect an appeals court to reverse the decision.

   Civil Rights

             •    U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that the U.S. Department of the
                  Treasury must produce paper money that can be distinguished by touch as well
                  as sight, settling a 2002 lawsuit filed by the American Council of the Blind. The
                  lawsuit alleged a violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for the “failure to
                  design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually
                  impaired people.” Of the more than 180 countries that print paper currency, the United
                  States is the only country to print its bills identical in size and color in all denominations.
                  Download the judge’s order by clicking the following link:
                  http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/opinions/2006/Robertson/2002-CV-0864~12:56:1~11-
                  28-2006-a.pdf.

   Voting Rights

             •    A California district court ruled that individuals may not bring claims regarding
                  voting system requirements under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).
                  The lawsuit, brought by the Paralyzed Veterans Association, American Association for
                  People with Disabilities, the California Council of the Blind and six individuals with
                  disabilities, claimed that equipment approved by California and used by several counties
                  violates accessibility requirements in Section 301 of HAVA. While the California court
                  dismissed all of plaintiffs’ claims under HAVA, the court said it is willing to hear their
                  claims asserting that the defendants’ actions violated the U.S. Constitution.

   MAJOR EVENTS AHEAD
             •    On December 5, the second phase of the 109th Congress’s lame duck session will
                  begin and many Republican members will cast their last congressional votes on
                  tax extenders, Medicare physician payments and confirming a new Secretary of
                  Defense, while leaving Fiscal Year 2007 appropriations bills until the new
                  Congress. The House and Senate have tentatively agreed to pass a Continuing
                  Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running through February 15, possibly
                  even longer, which would be devastating on federal agency funding. To soften the CR’s
                  impact, Republican congressional leaders and the White House are considering some
                  “interim adjustments.”



Weekly news and information on disability public policy related to mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other disabilities
                 1660 L Street, NW ● Suite 701●Washington, DC 20036 ● phone 202.783.2229 ● fax 202.783.8250
                                                             3



   Lame Duck Session – The House

            •    Later this week, the House is expected to finish work on the Continuing
                 Resolution and the tax extender package.

            •    House Democrats also are expected to choose the chairs of the 18 standing
                 committees for the 110th Congress. House Republicans are expected to finalize their
                 committee lineups within a week.

   Lame Duck Session – The Senate

             •    Today, the Senate returns to receive the nomination of Robert Gates as successor
                  to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, with the Armed Services Committee
                  beginning hearings on Tuesday and Senate vote toward the end of the week. If
                  the Senate is unable to confirm Gates by next week, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)
                  may call Senators back for a brief session the following week. On Tuesday, Senators
                  will resume debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 Agriculture appropriations bill. Other goals
                  for the week include tax extenders, a conference report on a U.S.-India nuclear
                  cooperation agreement and a U.S.-Vietnam trade deal.

   Non-Profits – Charitable Organization Issues

             •    Incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-NY) is
                  undecided whether to pursue charitable organization issues in the 110th
                  Congress while incoming Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT)
                  definitely intends to continue his committee’s oversight of charitable groups.
                  Senator Baucus is expected to continue outgoing Finance Committee Chair Charles
                  Grassley’s (R-IA) work “to improve the accountability and oversight of nonprofit
                  organizations,” focusing on reforms related to nonprofit hospitals, charitable
                  governance and executive compensation.

   Stem Cell Research

             •    The stem cell research bill appears to be one of the top agenda items in January
                  for the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress. The bill, which prompted President
                  Bush’s only veto, would expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. During
                  the 109th Congress, neither the House nor the Senate was able to override the
                  President’s veto. The bill is on incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s list for the first
                  100 hours of business while incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said
                  the Senate could act on it before the first month is over. However, it is uncertain
                  whether supporters can override another veto.




Weekly news and information on disability public policy related to mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other disabilities
                 1660 L Street, NW ● Suite 701●Washington, DC 20036 ● phone 202.783.2229 ● fax 202.783.8250
                                                             4



   ANNOUNCEMENTS
             •    The Disability Policy Collaboration Steering Committee will be meeting in
                  Washington, DC this week (December 7 – 8) to work on the Legislative Goals for
                  the 110th Congress.

             •   For chapters and affiliates, please mark your 2007 calendars with the following
                 dates for the Disability Policy Collaboration’s public policy conference calls (first
                 quarter 2007):
                 o January 3
                 o January 24
                 o February 14
                 o February 28
                 o March 14
                 o March 28
                 All calls will be held at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), and an agenda and call-in information
                 will be distributed prior to the call.




Weekly news and information on disability public policy related to mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other disabilities
                 1660 L Street, NW ● Suite 701●Washington, DC 20036 ● phone 202.783.2229 ● fax 202.783.8250

				
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