2020 Platform: Disabilities

California Democrats believe in the full equality of people with disabilities and oppose ableism in all forms. People with disabilities have an inalienable right to participate as equals in all aspects of civic and political life. We support the empowerment of people with disabilities to control their own lives and recognize the strength of diversity true equality for people with disabilities brings to society. California Democrats will work to breakdown systematic, structural and/or physical barriers preventing equality of opportunity for people with disabilities. We will work to ensure the creation of a strong social safety net by providing accessible affordable housing, quality education, job training, increased employment and other tools for independence.

California Democrats support and uphold the enforcement and funding of all federal, state, and local civil rights legislation and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and the Lanterman Act, and will actively oppose any effort to undermine their strength or impact. All Democrats must reject cuts to and promote increases in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), state supplementary programs, and federal Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).  California Democrats believe that people with disabilities must have an active role in formation of any legislation, policy or program impacting their community.

To ensure equality for people with disabilities, California Democrats will:

  • Register people with disabilities to vote and encourage all people with disabilities to exercise their right to independently cast a private ballot and work to abolish any physical, regulatory, or legislative barriers that inhibit the ability to exercise this right;
  • Expect elected officials to have one staff person well-versed in disability civil rights issues and encourage Party-endorsed candidates to access a person or organizations well-versed in disability civil rights issues;
  • Actively support participation and employment of people with disabilities at all levels of the Party and ensure that all Party functions are fully accessible to all who wish to participate;
  • Ensure that all Democratic Central Committees and affiliated organizations have the training and tools necessary to reach out to voters with disabilities and strongly support the formation and strengthening of Democratic organizations dedicated to advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities;
  • Ensure that all Democratic Party and endorsed campaigns and campaign headquarters are fully accessible;
  • Encourage balanced participation of people with disabilities on state and local commissions as well as within Party leadership and standing committee positions;
  • Support a California master plan for aging and people with disabilities of all age groups;
  • Encourage municipalities and local governments to establish disability advisory bodies, such as commissions on disabilities, to assist in considering issues, needs, accommodations, and unique perspectives of people with disabilities;
  • Support the financial empowerment by increasing employment of people with disabilities at all levels of the workforce; increase opportunities for people with disabilities to save by strengthening and expanding access to the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and creating incentives for CalABLE account contributors (enabling people with disabilities to save money without the danger of losing essential benefits); promote the training of people with disabilities as entrepreneurs; and, work with unions to promote and develop alternative forms of employment for people with disabilities;
  • Recognize that people with disabilities are as capable as all others to parent and/or act as legal guardians; work to ensure that disability alone is never a permissible consideration for incapacity to care for a child; and, work to ensure that adequate resources are provided for parents with disabilities in the same manner that they are available for parents without disabilities;
  • Work to ensure that SSI benefits provide an income for people with disabilities at least as high as the federal poverty level and support the elimination of the marriage penalties imposed on SSI recipients, including income parameters;
  • Work for guaranteed palliative care; support improvements to the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan by amending prohibitive costs; and, oppose detrimental budget cuts in Medicare/ Medi-Cal; and support the principle of informed choice;
  • Encourage legislation to improve respite care and in-home support services and support higher pay and better training programs for home care workers;
  • Support full enforcement of accessible housing construction requirements under the ADA, Fair Housing Act, Title 24, the Rehabilitation Act and all other applicable federal and state laws, and regulations;
  • Work to broaden financial assistance for accessible housing, vehicles, and durable medical equipment to give much-needed monetary assistance for individuals to pay for improvements to their equipment beyond the Medicare/Medi-Cal rate;
  • Fight to eliminate housing discrimination that penalizes or denies people with disabilities the right to interdependence through shared housing with a spouse or significant other;
  • Promote parity of services for mental health and substance-related disorder benefits and medical, hearing, vision, and dental health for people with developmental and other disabilities under all public and private health care delivery plans, with the inclusion of long term care as basic coverage in all private plans;
  • Prioritize the development and maintenance of a robust interconnected public transportation system and ensure public rights of way remain open and accessible; and, oppose actions or business practices of any company that could result in creating barriers for people with disabilities;
  • Prioritize making California a leader in embracing inclusive educational practices and achieving successful educational outcomes for students with disabilities;
  • Ensure that people with disabilities are prepared for disasters and have the right to be rescued with accessible services that are well-maintained and available during an emergency. Enable people with disabilities to be returned to their homes when it is safe as with people without disabilities; and,

Actively design and implement support services programs targeted toward isolated and rural communities.

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