Disability Advocates Call For More Accessible Right-To-Speak System At Arizona Legislature

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, February 1, 2021 - 9:46am
Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 12:51pm

The legislative session is in full swing despite the pandemic. And there are more than 100 bills that could impact the disability community. But there are concerns that not enough is being done to give people with disabilities a chance to have their voices heard.

Jason Snead is with the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. He recently contributed to an op-ed about the Right-to-Speak (RTS) system.

"It's what individuals use to voice their opinions on bills," he explained.

Here’s the rub: Individuals wanting to speak either have to travel to the state Capitol in Phoenix or to a kiosk in Tucson to complete their registration. The other option is to call the Sergeant at Arms and ask for assistance.

"But this is still just a patchwork system," said Snead. "I advocate that it needs to be fully put on a online platform, so that people with disabilities can do the whole thing independently, without having to ask for assistance, even from a staffer."

Snead, who has Cerebral palsy, went to the Capitol about a year ago to register to speak. He says there was only one accessible booth, and it was already in use. He was able to use another kiosk because his wife was there to assist him. And she was able to help him sign up for the RTS system.

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