Disabled Wisconsin lawmaker asks to take part remotely

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – A disabled Democratic legislature has asked Assembly Republicans to allow him to attend floor sessions remotely, much like the shelters sometimes used during the coronavirus pandemic.

Paraplegic MP Jimmy Anderson invoked his rights under the Disabled Americans Act and threatened legal action if his request is not approved.

In a letter to Republican Assembly spokesman Robin Vos and Democratic Assembly minority leader Gordon Hintz, Anderson said his disability prevented him from being physically present at every vote, the State Journal reported.

“With COVID we did it. We found a way how we can do this. I think that makes perfect sense,” said Anderson. “If we can provide it for COVID purposes, we should be able to provide it for disabilities.”

Vos didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The letter comes more than a year after the Congregation Republicans, at Anderson’s urging, changed their rules to allow people with disabilities to attend committee meetings but no longer honor his other requests.

Anderson said he had previously asked Republican lawmakers to limit session times to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and to terminate committee meetings and hearings appropriately, but Republicans had denied those motions. Anderson renewed these requests, asking that he be able to fully participate in floor sessions digitally or by phone.

“Even with these additional changes that Republicans have made, I’m still unable to be safe and sound as a quadriplegic and … be physically present on all of these bills,” said Anderson.

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