The ADA amendment act passes! – H.R. 3195

June 28, 2008 at 8:13 am 4 comments

A historic coalition of disability advocates, businesses and supporting organizations has succeeded in negotiating a compromise to restore the original protections and intents of the American with Disabilities Act!

Organizations from the US Chamber of Commerce ( http://www.uschamber.com/issues/letters/2008/080624_ada.htm) to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=June9&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=63384) worked together to get this passed.

A basic summary from the NAMI site:

“The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 reaffirms civil rights protections dismantled by a series of Supreme Court decisions that narrowly interpreted the definition of disability, leaving people with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer and mental illness without the protections Congress envisioned when the ADA was originally enacted in 1990.

Business, human resource, disability and civil rights organizations have recognized that the courts went too far in some decisions, leaving out many people with disabilities Congress intended to protect. In a 2007 case, a Court even held that an individual with severe intellectual disabilities (“mental retardation”) was not covered by the ADA because he had failed to adequately demonstrate his impairment substantially limited a major life activity. The alliance of employer and disability advocacy organizations negotiated the compromise to clarify elements of the ADA Amendments Act, a bill first introduced in July of 2007.

The new compromise bill clarifies for the courts that people with disabilities should not lose civil rights protections because their condition is treatable with medication or can be addressed with the help of assistive technology. The bill also clarifies the definition of disability to include all individuals whose impairment substantially limits a major life activity.”

This is major step forward and I salute all of you who worked hard to make this possible!

For those of you tasked with ensuring compliance under the ADA rules, take heart this would seem to make things simpler as the sometimes hair splitting decisions about whether someone qualifies under the act becomes very easy. Also new guidance will be issued by the US Department of Justice.  You can check for updates and general ADA news at: http://www.ada.gov/adahom1.htm

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: ADA, Design. Tags: , , , .

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