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Communities of Power is a source of information about issues of importance in Michigan's Disability Community! It is also an invitation to you to participate in making our communities accessible, integrated, and supportive - to make full citizenship for seniors and people with disabilities an expectation, not a goal.
Communities of Power is maintained by the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC). We invite you to join us!
Bill introduced to help parents of children with disabilities get educational support
"Benny's Bill" was introduced on Tuesday, September 20, to create an Ombudsman program that families and students can use to resolve disputes about supports in special education. Introduced by Sen. Hertel and Rep. Chang, the bill would also create a resource for parents and students to learn more about their rights in special education. The bill was introduced after constituents raised concerns about appropriate implementation of existing rights laws.
One of those constituents, Bambi VanWoert (parent to Benjamin Cook), is a Michigan Disability Rights Coalition board member.
“I have spent countless hours working to ensure my son, Benjamin, receives the quality education he’s entitled to, but it has been a grueling process that impacts the entire family and my ability to provide for them,” VanWoert said. “Having an ally at the state level would have made a huge difference.”
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition joined together with over 200 consumer, civil rights, labor, community, and non-profit organizations to emphasize strong and broad-based support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s proposed rule to restrict the financial industry’s use of forced arbitration – a tactic used by Wall Street banks and predatory lenders to block consumers from challenging illegal behavior in court. In a joint comment letter submitted on the final day of the rule’s public comment period, the groups lauded the proposal as “a significant step forward in the ongoing fight to curb predatory practices in consumer financial products and services and to make these markets fairer and safer.”
In forced arbitration, banks and lenders bury “ripoff clauses” in the fine print of take-it-or-leave-it contracts to ensure that all customer disputes are decided by a private firm of the financial company’s choice rather than an impartial judge or jury, with limited ability to appeal. Most financial ripoff clauses also include class action bans that block consumers from joining together to challenge systemic abuses as a group.
The CFPB proposed this rule limiting forced arbitration in May after its comprehensive 2015 study documented that the practice effectively eradicates consumer claims. The letter’s signers praised the rule’s provisions to “restore crucial class action rights that deter systemic abuses” by prohibiting class action bans. While the CFPB’s current proposal would not end all forms of forced arbitration, consumer advocates agree it will “bring much-needed transparency to consumer financial arbitration” by establishing a public record of claims and outcomes.
"Nothing should interfere with full choice and autonomy. Forced arbitration is nothing more than a way to deny the ability of people to challenge abuse."
MDRC Staff Person has issued a set of documents as part of her health care collaboration that outline important dates in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and discussions of important policy issues for Michigan in the future.