☀️ ASAN May Update ☀️

wild flowers

ASAN May Newsletter

Dear friend,

It’s not easy to keep fighting for change in the midst of so many attacks against us, but when we come together as one we can take on whatever the world throws at us. ASAN will be there right alongside you – here are some of the actions we’ve taken this month and beyond:

The month started on a somber note, as it marked the end of the Public Health Emergency for COVID-19. This is unacceptable, because the pandemic is not over. The end of the PHE threatens our community’s access to crucial programs like Medicaid, as the Public Health Emergency provided special COVID-19 support to people with disabilities.

There was a second threat against Medicaid as some members of Congress tried to reduce the amount of money our government spends on the program, or add burdensome work reporting requirements that put red tape between Medicaid beneficiaries and the care they need.

Thank you to everyone who called and emailed their Senators to urge them to do what’s right. Thanks to your advocacy, it seems that cuts to Medicaid are off the table in the tentative deal Congress has reached on the debt ceiling! This is fantastic news, and shows the power of our community’s advocacy. However, the deal does include some policies we don’t want to see, such as raising the age on work reporting requirements for programs like SNAP. This will harm our community and other marginalized people, without making much real difference in deficit spending and the national debt. These negotiations, which focus on money that our government has already spent, as opposed to budget negotiations about what should be spent, were unnecessary to begin with. Congress’s proposed resolution will not meaningfully change the country’s financial situation, but by imposing work reporting requirements on more SNAP recipients, it will inflict suffering on people who are already struggling.

We celebrated the reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA), which would ban almost all kinds of restraint and all kinds of seclusion across all 50 states. This bill is similar to restraint and seclusion bans that have been introduced many times, but nothing has yet to be passed. It is past time to make this the law of the land, and ASAN urges Congress to do so without delay.

The #StopTheShock fight continues! We submitted a letter to the FDA alongside over 100+ partner organizations urging them to restart the rulemaking process. In 2021, the DC Circuit Court overturned the original rule because of a technicality that the FDA couldn’t ban just one use of a device. Since then, Congress has passed a law clarifying that the FDA does have that authority, which means that the FDA can and must make a new rule banning the device. While we work to get them to restart that process, two important battles are going on at the state level.

In New York, the state legislature has reintroduced a bill that would stop the state from sending any more people to the JRC. In Massachusetts, there is a new bill to ban aversive conditioning. We joined with a coalition of organizations to host protest and advocacy days at the New York and Massachusetts statehouses in support of these bills and all #StopTheShock efforts.

This month, we also had one of our planned equity weeks! That means we devoted all our work time to projects relating to our equity plan. Having these occasional weeks is actually in the plan itself. You can learn more about the plan and what we worked on in our new blog post!

We continue to be deeply concerned about widespread, state-level attacks on transgender people’s right to exist. As we enter Pride month, we stand with trans people, many of whom are also autistic. We are monitoring these dangerous bills closely and will work to stop them and keep our trans community members safe and affirmed.

In solidarity,

The Team at ASAN

This was a busy month for the policy team! Here are a few of the things we did:

  • Endorsed the reintroduced LIFT The BAR Act, which would restore access to programs like Medicaid and SNAP by lifting the five-year ban and other barriers that deny support to people who are lawfully present, including “green card” holders.
  • Submitted comments with three separate coalitions about including trans, nonbinary, and intersex athletes in Title IX protections.
  • Urged reintroduction of the Reproductive Health Care Accessibility Act, which would restore some reproductive autonomy and justice for disabled people, especially disabled people of color, through funding accessible and culturally competent reproductive health care
  • Demanded the Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su stop issuing new 14(C) Fair Labor exceptions, which allows companies to pay sub-minimum wages to people with disabilities

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