Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tell your Representatives to Support the ADA Restoration Act

In the interest of time, I quote an email I received today (I am a member) from AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability):

"On January 29th, 2008, the Education & Labor Committee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on The Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act (H.R. 3195). This bipartisan legislation is widely supported by members of Congress and organizations nationwide and holds the promise of restoring the original intent of the ADA.

As an organization committed to the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, AHEAD endorses H.R. 3195 and encourages its members to become informed about this vital, pending legislation and to take action to support its passage (see below). This is particularly important as organizations that oppose the passage of the Restoration Act are coming out with outrageous distortions of its consequences.

The Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act (H.R. 3195), introduced by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would restore the original intent of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act.

Excerpts from testimony given at the hearing include:
"The bill does not seek to expand the rights guaranteed under the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead, it seeks to clarify the law, restoring the scope of protection available under the ADA," said Hoyer. "It responds to court decisions that have sharply restricted the class of people who can invoke protection under the law. And it reinstates the original Congressional intent when we passed the ADA."

"Despite our progress, the courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court—have narrowly interpreted the ADA, limiting its scope and undermining its intent," Hoyer continued. "We could not have fathomed that people with diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, cancer, and mental illnesses would have their ADA claims kicked out of court because, with medication, they would be considered too functional to meet the definition of 'disabled.'"
Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, said that the initial promise of protecting disabled workers under the ADA has largely faded as a result of Supreme Court rulings.

"In 1990, the ADA was heralded as an 'emancipation proclamation' for people with disabilities," said Imparato.

"Seventeen years later, on account of judicial activism, we are far from having a law that can be counted on to safeguard the fair treatment of people with disabilities in the workplace."

The AHEAD Board of Directors encourages members to learn more about The Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act, and to contact their representatives in both houses of Congress to support this legislation. To contact your members of congress go to: "

I used the site above to get the links to my representatives, and it only took me about 10 minutes (using cut and paste) to send an email to each of them. I kept it short and sweet: people with disabilities are losing ground in many arenas -- support the ADA Restoration Act in an effort to keep us from losing more and more...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Approve this Political Message...

February 5th is just around the corner, and last week, I found a reason to pick a specific candidate.

I have known for a long time that I would be voting for one of the Democratic candidates, but was having a difficult time deciding between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for a variety of reasons.

The reason I found was that Obama was the only one of the two candidates that addresses and acknowledges disability issues on his campaign website. To be precise, he has a 9 page PDF position paper which you can read for yourself, found at There is also a beautifully captioned video on this page which is worth watching, particularly if you don't feel like reading the position paper.


Whatever you do, vote. Whomever you decide to vote for, do it. Particularly in the General Election, come November. More and more states are making it easier to vote by mail, so whether or not it is a hassle for you to get out to the polls physically, you can still vote.

If you're not already registered, it is too late for a lot of the primaries, but register NOW so you can vote in the General Election.

It matters. People with disabilities have issues that are especially meaningful to us that are being discussed widely in this election, particularly the availability of health care. If the millions of people with disabilities ever made a concerted effort to be heard, we would be.