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Americans with Disabilities Act

George H Bush

Americans with Disabilities Act: George H Bush was the 41st American President who served in office from January 20, 1989 to January 20, 2001. One of the important events during his presidency was the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Definition and Summary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Summary and definition:
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. Bush. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act is the most sweeping and comprehensive law ever passed to protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.

The ADA went into effect on January 26, 1992 and is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The law was enacted by Congress to protect equal opportunities in the areas of Employment, State and local government services, public and privately operated transportation, places of public accommodation and public telecommunications services.

1990 Americans with Disabilities Act
The provisions of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act consisted of five sections:

Title I - Employment: State and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions and employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against qualified individuals with a disability in Job application procedures, Job training, Hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees and employee compensation. prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions

Title II - State and Local Government and Public Transportation: State and local government may not refuse to allow a person with a disability to participate in a service, program, or activity simply because the person has a disability. Transportation: State and public services must ensure they provide adequate transportation for those who are disabled

Title III - Public accommodations and commercial facilities: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places open to the public such as hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities and recreational facilities

Title IV - Telecommunications: The Telecommunications section of the Americans with Disabilities Act addresses telephone and television access for people with hearing and speech disabilities

Title V - Miscellaneous provisions: This section of the Americans with Disabilities Act focuses on ensuring that those who exercise their right to protection do not suffer retaliation

Facts about Americans with Disabilities Act
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Americans with Disabilities Act.

The history of the Americans with Disabilities Act was sparked by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's and 1970's beginning with the establishment of the Independent Living Movement.

The Independent Living Movement is based on the philosophy that people with disabilities have the same rights, options, and choices as anybody else.

Members of the Independent Living Movement agitated for changes that would allow people with disabilities to become active participants in society and enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that was equal to citizens without disabilities.

In 1972, the first Center for Independent Living was established in Berkeley, California by Ed Roberts and the Rolling Quads.

The goal of achieving full participation in society led Congress led Congress to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by approving the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that is responsible for eliminating discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment, and was tasked with ending discrimination based on disability. 

The goals for achieving full participation in society and the work of the EEOC led to the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Education For All Handicapped Children Act of 1974

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was passed by Congress and the EEOC assumed responsibility for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the civilian federal workforce.

Despite the legislation of the 1970's, polls indicated that 67% of Americans with Disabilities were unemployed and many of those who managed to get jobs were only employed on a part time basis.

The idea of extending civil rights legislation to millions of Americans with disabilities gained momentum with support from all political parties in late 1988 and early 1989 but experienced considerable opposition from the business sector.

Patrisha Wright, a disability rights activist was instrumental in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act. Patrisha Wright, legally blind, was given the nickname of "the General" for her work in coordinating the campaign to pass the ADA.

Tom Harkin, a United States Senator from Iowa, introduced the Americans with Disabilities Act into the Senate. Tom Harkin famously delivered part of a speech in American sign language so that his deaf brother could understand.

If it passed, the Americans with Disabilities Act would ban discrimination based on physical or mental disability in employment and provide access to buildings and public and private transportation.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had four goals for people with disabilities: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency.

Irving King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet College for the deaf asserted that “We’re not asking for any favors, we’re simply asking the same rights and equality any other American has.”

There was considerable opposition from many different businesses based on the enormous cost involved in complying with the provisions of such a law and the US Chamber of Commerce argued that the costs of the ADA would have "a disastrous impact on many small businesses struggling to survive."

Disability Rights Activists mounted a strong campaign to support the Americans with Disabilities Act which was experiencing delays getting through the House of Representatives. The campaign arranged a rally that culminated with a shocking and heart wrenching protest on Monday, March 12, 1990 that became known as the "Capitol Crawl".

During the "Capitol Crawl" more 60 activists shed their crutches and abandoned their wheelchairs and mobility devices and began crawling up the 83 stone steps to the U.S. Capitol Building.

The opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act evaporated and four months later the ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. Bush.

On signing the ADA, President George H. Bush said "...Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down."

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008, effective January 1, 2009, amended the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other disability nondiscrimination laws. The reason for the amendment to the law was to overturn two controversial court decisions based on interpretations of the ADA.

US American History
1990 - Present: The Modern Era

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