South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a plan Saturday morning aimed at “systematically dismantling institutions that discriminate against people with disabilities,” ahead of a presidential candidate forum on accessibility, inclusion and outreach in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Buttigieg’s “Dignity, Access, and Belonging: A New Era of Inclusion for People with Disabilities” plan, obtained by CNN on Thursday, urges Congress to end the “shameful” subminimum wage for Americans with disabilities — a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that authorizes employers to pay employees with disabilities a wage below the federal minimum wage. It also aims to double work force participation for people with disabilities by 2030, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On education, Buttigieg’s plan would expand opportunities for students with disabilities to join general education classrooms, placing 85% of students with disabilities in general election classrooms for 80% or more of the day. In addition, the presidential hopeful is promising to end corporal punishment, restraint, and seclusion as disciplinary tactics in schools, which the campaign says disproportionately effects students with disabilities.
The Buttigieg campaign, which consulted on the plan with the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and with the Center for Accessible Technology at Berkeley, also calls for expanding access to mental health care and primary care, tying it to their “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan released earlier this year.
The plan would also expand accessibility at voting locations — ensuring the voting process can accommodate those with disabilities, institute protections to ensure parents with disabilities wouldn’t lose custody or adoption rights based on their disability, and restructure housing and natural disaster protocol to “help ensure that people with disabilities participate in disaster preparedness efforts and, after a disaster, can return to their homes and communities.”