Next year, 2010, we will reach the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the civil rights law for people with disabilities. It’s time to ask: are the barriers gone, have we reached full accessibility for all people all the time? The answer: I don’t think so.
The National Council on Disability notes in their book, “Equality of Opportunity: The Making of the Americans with Disabilities Act”
[The Americans with Disabilities Act] champions human rights themes by declaring that people with disabilities are an integral part of society and, as such, should not be segregated, isolated, or subjected to the effects of discrimination. The ADA is also distinctively American. It embraces several archetypal American themes such as self-determination, self-reliance, and individual achievement. The ADA is about enabling people with disabilities to take charge of their lives and join the American mainstream. It seeks to do so by fostering employment opportunities, facilitating access to public transportation and public accommodations, and ensuring the use of our nation’s communications systems….In a long tradition of promoting civil rights, the ADA upholds the principle that each individual has the potential, and deserves the right to participate in, and contribute to, society….It has altered our public discourse about disability and about the role of people with disabilities in American society. Future generations will look back on the passage of the ADA as a watershed public policy.
To learn more about the ADA visit www.ada.gov
Julius Genachowski was confirmed by the U.S. Senate June 25, 2009 as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In addition, Commissioner Robert McDowell was approved for a full term at the Commission.
In addition, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Meredith Attwell Baker (Republican) and Mignon Clyburn (Democrat) as new FCC Commissioners. Each will also now have confirmation hearings in the Senate.
Last summer, advocates across the country worked furiously to meet a deadline to respond to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. HLAA filed our own comments:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) provides information about cases they are involved with on their website www.ada.gov/new.htm . We have summarized information about cases that impact people who are hard of hearing or deaf. Visit www.ada.gov or the links provided below for more information about these and other cases.
In an opinion issued on September 30, 2008, a federal district court in Maryland held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the Washington Redskins “to provide deaf and hard of hearing fans equal access to the aural information broadcast over the stadium bowl public address system at FedEx Field, which includes music with lyrics, play information, advertisements, referee calls, safety/emergency information, and other announcements.”
President George W. Bush is schedule to sign the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 in a private ceremony for members of Congress only on Thursday, September 25, 2008. Many thanks to all who wrote letters and sent email urging Members of Congress to pass this legislation. This legislation would not have passed this session without the strong support from the grassroots of many different disability organizations. Thank you for all you do!
Washington, DC – The Senate expressed overwhelming bipartisan support for the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act by unanimously passing the bill by voice vote. The bill included over 77 bipartisan co-sponsors. Read press release [View PDF]