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Disability advocates want remote access to outlive the pandemic04:22
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In this photo illustration, a Zoom logo is seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
In this photo illustration, a Zoom logo is seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Massachusetts advocates for those living with disabilities are pushing to keep remote access to government hearings and meetings in place even after the pandemic ends.

"Folks with mobility issues, chronic fatigue, pain, compromised immune systems: they've been for this for years," said Rick Glassman, director of advocacy for the Boston-based Disability Law Center. "They were told, 'it's just not possible.' "

When the first government shutdowns and restrictions went into place in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions quickly put into place ways for people to attend meetings remotely.

"In the past, [people with disabilities] would have had to secure transportation to be able to go to the State House or to meet with legislative officials," Glassman said, "so we're broadening the range of people that are able to participate."

Glassman adds that there is legislation pending on Beacon Hill that would codify requirements for virtual access in government meetings and hearings. He believes that would not only help those with disabilities but also those with inadequate transportation, parents without child care, and people living in rural areas.

This segment aired on February 15, 2022.

Dan Guzman Twitter Executive Producer, Morning Edition
Dan Guzman is senior producer for Morning Edition at WBUR.

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