Technology/Education: Report on Digital Divide Published

Common Sense Media published a report on the digital divide showing that approximately one-third of public school students lack either an adequate internet connection or device for learning at home. Additionally, 10% of public school teachers lack an adequate internet connection. The percentage of students lacking a high-speed internet connection ranges from 20% in New Hampshire to 50% in Mississippi. The first-year cost of closing the divide is estimated to be between $6 and $11 billion for students and $1 billion for teachers. The report includes an interactive map showing the digital divide in each state.

The Arc Fights Oklahoma Medicaid Block Grant Proposal

The state of Oklahoma is seeking approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enact a per capita cap in Medicaid under guidance the Administration released earlier this year. The Arc opposes this proposal, which creates a precedent with nationwide implications. In addition to the per capita cap, the Oklahoma proposal includes several provisions that would make it harder for people to get coverage and easier for people who are already on Medicaid to get kicked off. In addition, the proposal severely limits access to non-emergency medical transportation, limits the benefits available, and raises premiums and co-pays on low income beneficiaries. Learn more about the proposal. Submit comments here in opposition to the proposal.

House Committee Holds Hearing on Education Budget Cuts

On June 15, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing titled “Budget Cuts and Lost Learning: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Public Education.” Witnesses were Michael Leachman, Ph.D., Vice President for State Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Rebecca Pringle, Vice President, National Education Association; Mark Johnson, Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; and Eric Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing.

House Committee Holds Hearing on Tax Relief to Support Workers and Families During the COVID-19 Recession

On June 18, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing titled “Tax Relief to Support Workers and Families During the COVID-19 Recession.” Witnesses were Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, The National Women’s Law Center; Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Co-Executive Director, the Center on Poverty and Inequality at the Georgetown University Law Center; Allison Bovell-Ammon, Director of Policy Strategy for Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center; Martha Rodriguez, Preschool educator from Renton, WA; and Kyle Pomerleau, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing.

Senate Committee Holds Paid Leave Roundtable

On June 18, the Senate Committee on Finance Bipartisan Working Group on Paid Family Leave held a roundtable titled “Paid Leave Proposals in the COVID Era.” The working group is co-chaired by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Witnesses at the roundtable were Adrienne Schweer, Leader of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Paid Family Leave Task Force; Erika Moritsugu, Vice President for Economic Justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families; and Carrie Lukas, President of the Independent Women’s Forum. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing.

June 22 Marks 21st Anniversary of Olmstead Decision

June 22 Marks 21st Anniversary of Olmstead Decision

Today (June 22) marks the anniversary of the Olmstead v. L.C. decision in the Supreme Court, where two women with disabilities, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, lead the charge to make the integration mandate a reality in this county. The ruling established that unnecessary institutionalization is a form of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. We must continue to expand an array of community-based and integrated options, encourage full, meaningful inclusion in community life, and build economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Supporting home and community-based services is more critical than ever in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the terrible toll it continues to exact from people with disabilities, their families, and support staff across the country.

To honor this victory against unnecessary barriers to community living, and in the face of staggering harm to people with disabilities in congregate settings, we urge you to contact your Senators to pass legislation that includes the critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce.

Education: Senate Committee Holds Hearing on COVID-19: Going Back to School Safely

On June 10, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing titled, “COVID-19: Going Back to School Safely.” Witnesses were Dr. Penny Schwinn, Commissioner of Education, Tennessee Department of Education; Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, Commissioner of Education, Nebraska Department of Education; Susana Cordova, Superintendent, Denver Public Schools; and The Honorable John B. King, Jr., President And CEO, The Education Trust. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing.

Nation Continues to Respond to Police Brutality and Racism

Our Nation continues to reckon with the impact of racism and police violence in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta over the weekend, and countless other lives lost. Speaking out on the oppression of any group and against hate and discrimination in its many different forms is part and parcel of what disability rights is all about. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities and Green Mountain Self-Advocates, has created a plain language booklet on police violence and anti-black racism to help people understand more how these issues all relate to one another and what people with disabilities can do. See The Arc’s statement that was released following the killing of George Floyd.

Housing: House Committee Holds Hearing on COVID-19 and Evictions

On June 10, the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance held a hearing titled, “The Rent Is Still Due: America’s Renters, COVID-19, and an Unprecedented Eviction Crisis.” Witnesses were Cashauna Hill, Executive Director, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center; Mike Kingsella, Executive Director, Up for Growth; Ann Oliva, Visiting Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Jenny Schuetz, Fellow, The Brookings Institution. The hearing examined 13 bills including the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act (H.R.6820) and the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800). Visit the Committee website for more information or access video of the hearing.

Rights: House Committee Holds Hearing on Protecting the Right to Vote During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 3, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing titled, “Protecting the Right to Vote During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses were Stacey Abrams, Chair, Fair Fight Action; J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel, Public Interest Legal Foundation; Barbara Arnwine, President, Transformative Justice Coalition; Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State, State of Michigan; Michelle Bishop, Disability Advocacy Specialist for Voting Rights, National Disability Rights Network; Tom Fitton, President, Judicial Watch; Dale Ho, Director, Voting Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union; and Myrna Perez, Director, Voting Rights and Elections Program, Brennan Center for Justice. Visit the Committee website for more information or access video of the hearing.