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The RespectAbility Report Posts

Daylight Saving Time and the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021

Washington, D.C., April 6 – Last month, the United States Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 with a rare, unanimous vote. The proposed legislation would make daylight saving time permanent effective on November 5, 2023, meaning that Americans would no longer have to change their clocks twice a year.

Proponents of the legislation argue that the time change causes an increase in car accidents and reduces productivity. According to Quartz, “researchers have seen a consistent pattern of car crashes increasing in the days after the switch to daylight saving time, when people lose an hour of sleep, and decreasing in the fall when people gain an hour.” Extra light in the evening, proponents argue, also would benefit the economy as people would be more likely to go out and spend money.

Blumenfield Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, April 5 – 3rd District L.A. City Council member Bob Blumenfield 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. 

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 approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Blumenfield is running for re-election in the Los Angeles City Council’s 3rd District, representing the West San Fernando Valley.

Carr Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in North Carolina Senate Race

Raleigh, NC, April 4 – Democratic Senate candidate, U.S. Air Force veteran, IT consultant, and CPA James Carr Jr. 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.

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 1.4 million people living with some form of disability in North Carolina and their votes could be crucial in deciding who will represent them in the United States Senate

Carr is the first candidate in the upcoming North Carolina Senate race to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to key Senate and gubernatorial campaigns on both sides of the aisle and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. 

Greiwe Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, March 31 – L.A. mayoral candidate, lawyer, entrepreneur, and former studio publicist Craig Greiwe 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. 

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 approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Greiwe is currently facing off against eleven other candidates in the race to replace Eric Garcetti as Mayor of Los Angeles.

Khalil Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Pennsylvania Senate Race

Harrisburg, PA, March 28 – Democratic Senate candidate, advocate, organizer, educator and former small business owner Alex Khalil 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.

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 1.8 million people living with some form of disability in Pennsylvania and their votes could be crucial in deciding who will represent them in the United States Senate. 

Khalil is the first candidate in the upcoming Pennsylvania Senate race to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to key Senate and gubernatorial campaigns on both sides of the aisle and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. 

Avalos Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, March 25 – Candidate for the L.A. City Council and community advocate Elisa Avalos 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. 

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 approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Avalos is facing off against incumbent Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez  to represent the northeastern San Fernando Valley and the City Council’s 7th District.

O’Gabhann Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, March 25 – Candidate for L.A. City Controller and schoolteacher J. Carolan O’Gabhann 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. 

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 approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Sen. Maggie Hassan Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in New Hampshire Re-Election Race

Concord, NH, March 22 – Incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire 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.

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 183,000 people living with some form of disability in New Hampshire and their votes could be crucial in deciding whether Sen. Hassan will have another term in the United States Senate. 

Sen. Hassan is the first candidate in the upcoming New Hampshire Senate race to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. RespectAbility has reached out to key Senate and gubernatorial campaigns on both sides of the aisle and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. 

2022 Disability Questionnaire for Los Angeles Municipal Elections

RespectAbility, a national nonpartisan nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of the community, is preparing a nonpartisan voter guide for the 2022 Los Angeles Municipal Elections. The guide will cover a variety of issues that impact the 1-in-5 Americans…

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

The Disability Community Reacts to New CDC Masking Guidance

Washington, D.C., March 18 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on February 25th that reversed masking guidelines in areas with low rates of hospitalization, regardless of case numbers or whether individuals are vaccinated and boosted. In a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, advocates from more than one hundred national, state and local organizations expressed their deep concerns about the new guidance and its impact on disabled and marginalized populations. At the time of this publication, Director Walensky has not provided a response to the concerns stated in the joint advocacy letter.  

As the letter outlines, universal masking by the public dramatically decreases the spread of COVID-19 and is a layer of protection for everyone. Such guidelines increase safety for the most vulnerable populations, which include people with disabilities, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, and children under the age of five whom are ineligible for vaccines. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, a record of nearly 1.2 million adults with disabilities were added to our communities. Without policies aimed at protecting all Americans, the most vulnerable are put in a position of being responsible for their own safety from the virus.

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.

Advancing Opportunities in Texas

RespectAbility Testimony in 2022

Austin, Texas, March 15 – This week, the Texas Workforce Commission met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Lone Star State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 1,809,900 working age (18-64) Texans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 40.6 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Texas’ Workforce Commission listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

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.

National Urban League and Microsoft at the 2022 National Skills Summit

Washington, D.C., March 9 – The 2022 National Skills Summit shined a spotlight on several signature initiatives that are working to close the digital skill divide and advance greater equity in the workforce.  This included the work of the National Urban League and Microsoft.  

Showcasing the work of the National Urban League was Executive VP & COO Donald R. Cravins, Jr., who spoke about the Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion. Prior to the pandemic, families and individuals relied on public spaces like libraries and schools to access the internet. Due to the pandemic, access to these spaces disappeared right when people needed them more than ever, as essential functions of life began operating remotely. Mr. Cravins called for centering black and brown workers in the work of closing the digital divide “as part of a new industrial revolution that benefits people of color and women owned businesses.” 

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Minnesota on Solutions for People with Disabilities

St. Paul, MN, March 9 – This week, the Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the North Star State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 296,969 working age (18-64) Minnesotans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 48.1 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Minnesota’s Workforce Development Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Sen. Tim Kaine at the 2022 National Skills Summit

Washington, D.C., March 8 – Last week, the National Skills Coalition hosted their annual Skills Summit, featuring a keynote speech by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) discussing impactful strategies to close the digital skills divide in America.  

In his opening remarks, Sen. Kaine said the COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the importance of “ensuring that all workers are empowered with the skills needed to thrive in today’s economy.” Furthermore, as “technology advances, workers need to have opportunities to continuously up-skill, to adjust or move up in their careers.”  

Answering the call of the present moment, Sen. Kaine argued that Congress should provide funding and establish programs that specifically focus on bridging the digital divide. Recently, the Digital Equity Act was passed as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand broadband access and provide digital technologies. Sen. Kaine called for establishing new and existing worker “baseline digital competencies to support industry and sector level workforce partnerships in developing digital skills training programs.” 

Ficker Responds to Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland’s Governor Race

Annapolis, MD, March 3 – Republican gubernatorial candidate, former state legislator and self-described sports heckler Robin Ficker responded to a 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. The disability community is the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are more than 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.

Ficker 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 Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race. While Ficker did not respond to the questionnaire in full, he provided a statement in response. 

President Biden and the State of the Union: What it Means for the Disability Community

Washington, D.C., March 2 – Last night, President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union Address at the US Capitol Building, as tradition and the US Constitution dictate. Given recent world events, President Biden talked extensively about the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. But the speech also contained multiple mentions of issues with direct implications for the 61 million Americans already living with disabilities and the 1.2 million Americans who are newly disabled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capping the Cost of Insulin

One of the guests seated in the gallery with First Lady Jill Biden was 13-year-old Joshua Davis of Midlothian, Virginia, who lives with Type 1 diabetes. President Biden told his story and called for capping the price of insulin. The President said, “for Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.”

Diabetes is a disability that affects over 34 million Americans and has major intersectional implications. The CDC reports that new diagnoses of diabetes were highest among Black and Hispanic/Latinx adults, and that fully 16.3 percent of adults with a disability have diabetes, compared to only 7.2 percent of their non-disabled peers.