Current Legislative Issues- Federal
Current Legislative Issues
Please find below a list of the active legislation in the US House of Representatives and US Senate. Click on any “Take Action” button to tell your members of Congress about how legislation affects you and others affected by autism
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011
The Safe Chemicals Act responds to increasingly forceful warnings from scientific and medical experts, including the President’s Cancer Panel, that current policies have failed to curtail common chemicals linked to diseases such as cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more.
The Safe Chemicals Act would overhaul the 35-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is widely perceived to have failed to protect public health and the environment. Specifically, the Act would:
• Require EPA to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals, those that persist and build up in the food chain;
• Require basic health and safety information for all chemicals as a condition for entering or remaining on the market;
• Reduce the burden of toxic chemical exposures on people of color and low-income and indigenous communities;
• Upgrade scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals to reflect best practices called for by the National Academy of Sciences; and
• Generally provide EPA with the tools and resources it needs to identify and address chemicals posing health and environmental concerns.
For more information about TSCA and safer chemicals, visit Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition the Autism Society belongs to to advocate for safe chemical reform.
Help the Autism Society Preserve IDEA!
As the federal budget process for fiscal year (FY) 2012 begins, it is becoming apparent that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – along with all federal education funding – is vulnerable.
States and local districts have seen the number of children and teens with autism increase, and schools have already been through several rounds of budget cuts. These reductions will be compounded by the loss of economic stimulus funds this fall. Local schools have experienced severe budget cuts over the past several months and many programs for students with autism have been scaled back, or even worse, eliminated. These cuts have had devastating consequences for families affected by autism. Now is not the time to further reduce funding for IDEA — yet that is exactly what Congress may do if we do not act.
Recently, legislation was introduced to allow parents to recover expert witness fees in due process hearings and litigation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act was introduced in the Senate (S.613) by Senator Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Mikulski (D-MD), and Senator Sanders (I-VT); and a companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1208) by Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX). The Autism Society agrees that all students, regardless of background or ability, are entitled to receive an education that gives them the opportunity to live a successful and fulfilling life. “This legislation will remove the financial barrier that families, especially low- and middle-income families, face as they pursue their children’s rights to the free, appropriate public education they deserve and are entitled to under the Fourteenth Amendment,” said Jeff Sell, Vice President, Public Policy, & General Counsel of the Autism Society.
Grassroots Advocacy 101
This handbook is intended to help chapters and individuals more effectively advocate at the federal level, as well as provide basic information on how federal policy gets made, and other more advanced resources. Read it now.
Find Your Legislator
Enter your zip code to find all of the members of government, from the state level up, who ultimately answer to you – the voter. This link will also provide you with their contact information, so you can tell them what you think.