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Category: Governors

Gov. Kathy Hochul Reinstates New York’s Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities

Albany, NY, March 21 – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed AB 3130 into law, reinstating the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. This represents a new opportunity for the Empire State to do right by its residents with disabilities. The office was originally established decades ago under the administration of Gov. Mario Cuomo, but it was subsequently dissolved by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Under AB 3130, the Advocate for People with Disabilities shall coordinate the state’s implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, act as New York’s primary ADA compliance officer for all public activities, and make sure disabled people’s needs are met in public settings.

The Advocate for People with Disabilities will also serve as the state’s advocate for the disability community, working with lawmakers to pass legislation that will make government services more inclusive. The Advocate will also work in conjunction with an Integrated Setting Coordinating Council. More details are available here

New State Bill Promises Californians with Disabilities Unconditional Healthcare

Sacramento, CA, March 18 – The new California state budget contains a major piece of good news for Californians with disabilities. By 2024, the asset limit for older adults and people with disabilities to access Medi-Cal programs will be removed, achieving a long-standing policy goal for advocates and agencies based in California. 

In 1965, the Social Services created Medi-Cal as a welfare program along with Head Start, Jobs Corps, and the Food Stamp Act. Fifty years later, Medi-Cal has grown more substantial and more powerful in securing affordable medical care for disabled and older Californians. Older and disabled Californians rely on Medi-Cal to cover pricey medication, nursing home expenses, in-home healthcare, and other costs not fully covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Almost one in three Californians are Medi-Cal beneficiaries. But as it stands today, the program only covers a small segment of low-income individuals and families. This is because eligible individuals must not have a monthly income of more than $1200 or $2000 in savings. This is an exceptionally low rate, well below California’s definition of a low-income person. According to Covered California income guidelines and salary restrictions, if an individual makes less than $47,520 per year, they are considered low-income. This disadvantages many seniors and individuals with disabilities, jeopardizing their financial stability and preventing them from having any extra income, any savings, a house, or even a car.

Moore Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, March 18 – Author, entrepreneur, veteran and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Moore is the sixth candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

Implementing the American Rescue Plan – What It Means for Marylanders with Disabilities

Annapolis, MD, March 15 – Using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and allocated via a bipartisan agreement, Governor Larry Hogan and the General Assembly of Maryland are prioritizing Marylanders severely impacted by the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maryland’s piece of a $1.9 trillion federal spending package is being directed to address existing inequities in the Old Line State. The goals of the spending are to support impacted businesses, struggling industries, and specifically Marylanders with disabilities.

The first and most direct form of support in the past year was the Temporary Cash Assistance program, which specifically included the payment of short term disabilities benefits to Marylanders in need. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have deeply felt the ravages of the past two years. As noted in an early report from the Arc of the US, people with I/DD “are more likely to have underlying health conditions that leave them more susceptible to the pandemic.” Further, because people with I/DD are often placed into customer facing job roles, many experienced COVID related furloughs or job losses during 2020. In total, there are 335,712 working-age Marylanders living with some form of disability. In 2020, prior to the pandemic, only 40.2 percent of them had jobs.

Vermont COVID Recovery Plan Prioritizes People with Disabilities

Montpelier, VT, February 25 – Vermont recently released their 2021 recovery plan, and it contains good news for Vermonters with disabilities.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress last year, states are rolling out extensive plans about how they will spend federal funds. The Green Mountain State has $478.6 million dollars allocated to drive economic recovery efforts under Gov. Phil Scott. Some of the announced priorities are making homeless shelters ADA compliant, creating a mobile mental health crisis intervention program, providing broadband internet access to people with disabilities, and preventing COVID infections at Adult Day Services.

Overall, Vermont is spending $161.4 million, or 33.6 percent of the state’s CARES Act allocation, on programs that will improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

Franchot Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, February 16 –Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Franchot is the fifth candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

Gov. Hochul pushes New York to Become Model on Disability Employment

Albany, NY, February 10 – This past week, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York announced new plans to create a comprehensive design for workforce development strategies in the Empire State. Gov. Hochul has launched a seven-pronged initiative that will establish New York as a national model for the employment of individuals with disabilities and protection for all working New Yorkers. This initiative comes as part of her “State of the State 2022 Agenda” to upscale the local economy and labor force in New York state. 

The pandemic hit New York hard. As of fall 2021, the Empire State’s job deficit far exceeded that of every other state. Currently in New York, the unemployment rate is three times higher than the national average. 

“In order to come back stronger, we must be creative with our approach and work directly with regional partners who have been on the ground helping connect New Yorkers with employment,” Gov. Hochul said. “New York State is committed to ensuring its disabled workers have equal opportunities and are supported in the workplace and beyond. We are committed to making sure those with disabilities have fair and quality employment options in this state.”

Jonathan Wichmann Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Wisconsin’s Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Madison, WI, February 10 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Wichmann responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 685,896 people living with some form of disability in Wisconsin and their votes could be crucial in deciding who wins the election in the Badger state. 

Wichmann is the first candidate in the upcoming Republican primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Wisconsin’s upcoming Gubernatorial race.

The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Jonathan Wichmann’s responses follow:

NGA Chair Gov. Hutchinson: “Great Opportunity to Improve the Lives and Productivity” of Americans with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., January 31 – At the opening press conference of the 114th Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA), Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas addressed the historical upward trend in labor participation rate for working-aged people with disabilities. 

“There is great opportunity to improve the lives and productivity of those with disabilities,” said Gov. Hutchinson. Gov. Hutchinson, who is also responsible for leading NGA in the year ahead, pointed out the profound value of acting “whenever we can make digital access a tool” to create new opportunities.

As of the final quarter of 2021, the labor force participation rate for working-aged people with disabilities is now 2 full percentage points higher than it was before COVID-19. This means that people with disabilities are working in higher numbers than before the pandemic. As employers struggle to fill millions of open jobs across America and in many sectors, people with disabilities remain a fantastic talent pool. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities now have a 35.6 percent labor force participation rate, compared to 76.1 percent for those without disabilities. Thus, Governors who adopt a focused strategy for getting more people with disabilities into the workforce can dramatically grow success in their states. 

Baron Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more. Annapolis, MD, January 7 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former nonprofit executive and federal official Jon Baron responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does…

Gansler Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, December 28 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Attorney General Doug Gansler responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Gansler is the second candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Gansler’s responses follow:

Glenn Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor’s Race

Richmond, VA, November 3 – Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin has won a hotly contested race to become Virginia’s next Governor, beating Democratic former governor Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin responded to RespectAbility’s Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and gubernatorial candidates in a letter detailing his priorities and vision for Virginians with disabilities.  RespectAbility is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization…

Voter Guide for 908,500 New Jerseyans with Disabilities

Trenton, NJ, October 27 – In the run up to the 2021 gubernatorial election in New Jersey, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest New Jersey State Voter Guide. According to the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, the total number of New Jerseyans with disabilities is 908,500, making up 10.4 percent of the total state population.

2019 employment data shows that there are 411,051 working-age people with disabilities in New Jersey. In the economic expansion before the COVID-19 pandemic, 163,968 (or 39.8 percent) of those New Jerseyans had a job. 

The nonpartisan disability group RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor the same seven key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, criminal justice and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire.

Candidates in Race for Governor of Virginia Spar on Vaccines, Omit Speaking Directly to People with Disabilities

Richmond, VA, September 29 – Last night, the second debate for Governor of Virginia was held at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in Alexandria, Virginia between former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and businessman Glenn Youngkin (R-VA). Just as with the first debate, neither candidate directly mentioned the disability community. The…

Voter Guide for 1 Million Virginians with Disabilities

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more.

Richmond, VA September 19 – As early voting begins in the run up to the 2021 gubernatorial election in Virginia, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest Virginia State Voter Guide. According to the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 1,006,318 Virginians with disabilities, making up 12.1 percent of the total state population. 

Voters with disabilities want access in democracy, just like anyone else. At the same time, they have specific issues of interest. For example, in the economic expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 43.3 percent of more than 491,000 working age (18-64) Virginians with disabilities had jobs. 

McAuliffe Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Virginia’s Governor Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more. Richmond, VA, Sept. 16 – Democratic candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not…

Glenn Youngkin Addresses Disability Community in New Letter

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Richmond, VA, September 14 – In a new letter, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has outlined his key priorities for the disability community if he is elected the next Governor of Virginia.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group and the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are more than 1 million people with disabilities living in the Old Dominion state. 

Youngkin is running against Democratic candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and you can read McAuliffe’s responses here.

The full text of Glenn Youngkin’s letter follows: 

Furin Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, September 7 – Republican candidate and nonprofit President Rhonda Furin has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Furin’s responses follows:

Wildstar Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 30 – Republican candidate, musician, entrepreneur, and father Nickolas Wildstar has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Wildstar’s responses follows:

Gallucci Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 27 – Republican candidate, pastor, CEO, and consultant Sam Gallucci has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Gallucci’s responses follows: