About the NDSS National and Public Policy Center

The NDSS National Advocacy & Public Policy Center supports the mission of NDSS to be the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome by advocating for federal, state and local policies that positively impact people with Down syndrome across the country.

NDSS accomplishes this by doing the following:

  • Works with Congress and federal agencies to develop and improve laws, regulations and other policies by executing a comprehensive legislative agenda supporting people with Down syndrome.
  • Trains and educates parents, self-advocates, and others to advocate on the local, state and national levels to positively impact the lives of people with Down syndrome.
  • Organizes and participates in national coalitions that support and help advance the Down syndrome legislative agenda in Washington D.C.
  • Leads a state-of-the-art national and statewide advocacy program.

The NDSS National Advocacy & Public Policy Center works closely with the Congressional Task Force on Down Syndrome, which is made up of US Representatives and US Senators who seek to educate other Members of Congress and their staff about Down syndrome.

Federal Government

The United States Congress is the bicameral (two legislative chambers) legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.

Both US Senators and Representatives make up the US Congress and are chosen through direct election. Each of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives represents a federal district in a state and serve two-year terms. House seats are apportioned among the states by population. In contrast, the 100 Senators serve six-year terms. Each state has two senators, regardless of population.

Do you know who represents you in the US Congress?
Find out more about your federal legislature.

State Government

At any given time, individual states may be faced with legislation that can positively or negatively impact people with Down syndrome. In the US, state legislature is a term referring to the legislative body of any of the country’s 50 states. In 24 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature. In 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature as the Legislative Assembly. Every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, which means the legislature consists of two separate chambers (or houses). In all bicameral legislatures, the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is usually referred to as the upper house.

Learn more about NDSS’ state-level advocacy.

Find out more about your state legislature.