The National Rehabilitation Association Governmental Affairs staff will continue to keep you advised of the latest legislative and policy developments on Capitol Hill, and elsewhere, with current and accurate legislative accounts of disability-specific issues of interest to our Members in the NRA’s Washington Wires.
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To: All Members of the National Rehabilitation Association
From: Patricia Leahy, Director of Government Affairs
Re: ALERT -- CALL TO ACTION -- ALERT
Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
For those who read on the run, take a second to read this Alert.
We are asking all of our Members and beyond to use social media today to contact your respective Senators via Facebook and Twitter and ask them to remove certain legislative language from S. 1356, the Senate version of the reauthorization of the Rehab Act (VR) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
These three areas of great concern are:
NO DATA, NO DISRUPTION OF VR SERVICES TO AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
Tweet your Senators today and tell them not to move the programs under the Rehabilitation Act (VR) which are administered through the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) from the U.S. Department of Education, where these important programs rightfully reside, to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Tell you Senators that a feasibility study has not been done to date to determine if this misguided move would increase employment rates of Americans with disabilities and there is no other data to support a move to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Tweet your respective Senators not to disrupt the continuum of specialized services and supports that Americans with disabilities receive by qualified rehabilitation counselors by linking education to careers.
Tweet your respective Senators today and remind them that a principal focus of S. 1356 is to enhance transition outcomes of eligible students and other young adults with disabilities from school, to post-secondary education, to careers.
Tweet your respective Senators today and tell them not to downgrade credentials for qualified rehabilitation counselors in both the public and private sectors.
S. 1356, the Senate VR/WIA bill, would dilute credentials for VR counselors and other professionals in the rehabilitation field.
While there is a desire for all rehabilitation professionals to have Master's degrees in the disability disciplines, there is presently flexibility in the Rehab Act under the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) that allows for the highest standard in the State to be employed should the Master's degree level not be available.
Why would the Senate want to downgrade language in the Rehab Act that already allows for flexibility? This simply does not make sense.
DON'T LINK SUB-MINIMUM WAGE TO THE REHABILITATION ACT
The third issue concerns the removal of the Section 511 language in S. 1356 which links sub-minimum wage to the Rehabilitation Act. While this language may be intended to reduce sub-minimum wage, the interpretation of many is that it will have just the opposite effect.
Tweet your respective Senators today and ask them not to link the Section 511 language to the Rehabilitation Act. Removal of this language will not result in the end of sub-minimum wage, it will just not link sub-minimum wage to the Rehab Act.
To assist you, we are furnishing you a list of Senators' Facebook and Twitter pages (which are limited to 140 characters) which can be accessed on: http://govs.com/w/Senate.
Don't wait. Tweet your respective Senators now because by doing so, the careers you save may be those of your consumers!
Interim Executive Director
Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy