Update from U.S. Senator Markey: Updates on Broadband Legislation, Human Rights Efforts, Airline Consumer Rights, LGBT Protections


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as of 4:00PM today, has announced 73,721 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, 5% of which are currently hospitalized. 351,632 individuals have been tested and there have been 4,552 reported deaths. A list of cases by hospital facility, long-term care facility, and additional data are included in DPH’s online data dashboard.

FAQs from Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

EOLWD has shared two documents with helpful information for employees and employers on returning to work, as it relates to unemployment insurance. Click here for a Guide for Workers and Guide for Employers.

Markey to Trump: Do Not Disband White House Coronavirus Task Force

Senator Markey is urging President Trump not to disband the White House Coronavirus Task Force, after the President told reporters at a press event Tuesday that the task force will be shut down. The Senator has long called on President Trump to appoint a permanent Pandemic Prevention and Response Coordinator housed on the National Security Council, first in January and then with the introduction of legislation in March. Now more than ever, the highest levels of our government need the advice and recommendations of public health officials. Read Senator Markey’s full letter here.

Legislation to Update National Broadband Plan

Senator Markey has introduced a new bill which seeks an updated vision for the future of broadband across the United States. The National Broadband Plan for the Future Act instructs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the National Broadband Plan, as well as study how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way Americans live, learn, and work online. Senator Markey authored language in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that created the National Broadband Plan, which set out a comprehensive roadmap for providing universal internet connectivity, while also creating jobs, boosting education, increasing access to medical care, and more. Ten years later, Senator Markey’s new legislation would require the FCC to assess the nation’s progress, provide proposals to further increase internet access, and analyze how American’s unprecedented reliance on broadband during the coronavirus pandemic will shape the country moving forward. Read the legislation here and more coverage in The Washington Post.

ICYMI: Op-Ed with MassPIRG on Airline Refunds

Senator Markey continues to push airlines to provide full refunds for air travel cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a guest viewpoint for MassLive, Senator Markey writes “…during the coronavirus pandemic, when more than 30 million Americans and 725,000 Massachusetts workers have filed unemployment claims over the last six weeks, temporary airline credits are simply insufficient. Americans need cash to pay for basic necessities like food, housing, medical care. Read more here.

Legislation to Counter Human Rights Abuses Worldwide

Senators Markey, Blackburn, Cardin, Wicker, and Merkley and Representatives McGovern, Wagner and Malinowski will introduce legislation requiring the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to take steps, through diplomacy and development assistance, to prevent human rights abuses from being carried out in the name of coronavirus response. The Protecting Human Rights During Pandemic Act makes clear that the United States, as the lead draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a long history of global leadership, should encourage the protection of internationally recognized human rights during the coronavirus pandemic, both at home and abroad. Public health emergencies may require governments to take extraordinary action to halt the spread of disease through steps such as restricting the movement of people, closing businesses, and limiting access to public spaces, but countries remain obliged under international law to continue to respect human rights obligations, and must not utilize the pandemic as an opportunity to consolidate power or silence dissent without oversight or accountability. Read the legislation here.

Protecting Global LGBTQI Population during Pandemic

Senator Markey and Representative Titus today led 45 colleagues in calling on the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to take urgent action to protect the global LGBTQI population and other vulnerable communities that are being persecuted and discriminated against during the coronavirus pandemic. They outline specific actions for the Administration to take, including: intervening at senior levels with governments that are using the COVID-19 crisis to persecute or discriminate against LGBTQI and other marginalized communities, guaranteeing the inclusion of LGBTQI populations in short- and long-term response and recovery programming, and supporting measures to ensure safe, healthy, and sustained access to health services, including treatment for HIV and other COVID-exacerbating conditions. Read the full letter here and more coverage in The Washington Blade.

For coronavirus resources and additional helpful information please visit Senator Markey’s coronavirus resource page.