Keep Americans Connected Pledge Ends, Yet Broadband Access Remains Essential

By: Vanessa Grossl, CSG policy analyst

Broadband has long been hailed the new essential utility. For years, states and cities have been leveraging various resources and taking steps to increase access in order for communities to reach their fullest potential. Still, significant access gaps remain and, moreover, affordability is a barrier for many who live in areas where services exist. The pandemic has proven just how vital broadband access is for families to remain safe, healthy and connected. 

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State Action to Enable Remote Legislative Activity

By Sierra Hatfield, CSG policy analyst and Aja Croteau, CSG operations manager

Key Insights

With guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control warning against mass gatherings, multiple states are grappling with how to continue their legislative sessions. Many states have adjourned or postponed meetings and all are working to ensure that essential government operations continue with transparency while protecting the health and safety of lawmakers. To address these circumstances brought on by the public health emergency, some states are looking to teleconferencing and remote session participation.

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Federal Response to COVID-19: Is Federal Funding Tied to Reopening Schools?

By Max Morley

States are still grappling with how — or if — to reopen K-12 schools in the fall. States are exploring a wide range of options, from mandated in-person school to a fully-remote version of school. Most states fall between these two extremes, seeking a hybrid option of some in-person and some remote learning.

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Voting Amidst COVID-19: Ensuring Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

By Rachel Wright

With the implementation of strict public health measures in the U.S. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually no aspect of American life has been left untouched. The conduct of elections has proven no exception. In an effort to prioritize the safety of voters and poll workers alike, numerous states have instituted no-excuse absentee voting, loosened requirements for permanent absentee status, expanded vote-by-mail procedures and explored drive-up options for voting and registration.

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COVID-19 and the Workforce: Impacts on Workers with Disabilities

By Rachel Wright

Unemployment and Absence from Work

As the coronavirus pandemic temporarily curtailed many businesses’ in-person operations, layoffs and furloughs were quick to follow. Although the permanency of these layoffs is still unclear, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that job losses throughout the pandemic culminated in an unemployment rate of nearly 14.7% by the end of April. Of the positions lost, approximately 950,000 were previously held by workers with disabilities, putting the unemployment rate among these workers at 20%[1].

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State Election Preparations During COVID-19: Legislative Trends

By: Rachel Wright, Research Associate

Both public health guidelines and the desire among state officials to protect poll workers and voters alike have prompted states to implement changes to voting procedures throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Governors in over 17 states have issued executive orders delaying elections and prioritizing mail ballots. Furthermore, over 200 bills have been proposed by legislators that seek to enhance the ability of voters to safely cast their ballot as well as help elections officials to process and count mail ballots.

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Businesses Turn to Tech to Meet State Re-Opening Guidelines

By: Vanessa Grossl, CSG policy analyst

Many businesses are using new and evolving technologies to remain open or to re-open while meeting state public health guidelines. Temperature checks, new sensors and cameras are becoming the new normal. Businesses are installing fever-screening stations and various digital trackers designed to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Some employers are pushing for continuous monitoring during work shifts and extra security personnel to assist with these endeavors. But state officials must weigh both privacy concerns and potential COVID-19 mitigation benefits in deciding whether to implement these emerging technologies.

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CSG Associates in Action: Intuit Helps Support Small Businesses by Launching New Innovations

Following natural disasters and in times of national crisis, America’s private sector steps up to aid the states. We are proud of the herculean efforts of CSG Leadership Circle and Associates, our private sector members, as we combat COVID-19 together.

Associates in Action articles highlight CSG Associates’ philanthropic efforts and public-private partnerships throughout the states.

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Telehealth Gains Expected to Outlast Pandemic

by Sean Slone, CSG senior policy analyst

With the need to keep asymptomatic Americans away from health facilities to limit the spread of coronavirus this spring, the federal government and state governments deployed a variety of strategies and regulatory changes to increase access to telehealth. Now many experts are predicting those changes are likely to stay in place as the emergency subsides and efforts are in the works to ensure they do.

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CSG Associates in Action: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Provide E-Learning Support to Parents, Teachers and Students throughout COVID-19 School Closures

Associates in Action articles highlight CSG Associates’ philanthropic efforts and public-private partnerships throughout the states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that COVID-19 spreads between people in close contact with each other. Accordingly, Education Week reports that more than 124,000 schools nationwide closed in Spring 2020 to protect students and staff, sending 55.1 million U.S. students home. The decision hit kids in underserved communities hardest; many of them are at risk of falling behind because they do not have devices or reliable internet service at home to access virtual classrooms and learning programs. These tools are key to keeping up with today’s digital world. And in times like this, when traditional classroom learning is not an option, they are a necessity.

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