Thursday, July 31, 2008

ADA Watch -- Call for Action and Assistance

If you aren't already aware, new rules are under review for the enforcement of the ADA by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Unsurprisingly, some of the rules cut into access.

ADA Watch sent me the email below today. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can review the information they provide, and make detailed comments to the DOJ. If you don't, I think just a semi-generic email (if you go to the ADA Watch Action Center they provide instructions as to how to do all of this) certainly couldn't hurt -- particularly if they get a lot of them.

Check it out -- these rules have a real impact on the future of access in the United States, for things as basic as curb cuts at intersections:
National Coalition for Disability Rights
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900S
Washington, DC 20004

Help Stop the Department of Justice from Implementing Rule Changes to the ADA that Will Profoundly Limit Access!

ADA Watch/NCDR previously notified you of proposed amendments to Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)'s federal regulations and called on you to make public comment.

We also forwarded Steve Gold's assessment of the proposed changes which will profoundly affect access to public facilities and to public accommodations and commercial facilities.

We still need you to take action!

The deadline for public comments is August 18, 2008.

Our coalition partners at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and other disability rights attorneys and advocates have put together a comprehensive Action Center so that we can work together to stop these harmful changes.

DREDF tells us: "Some of DOJ’s changes are excellent, and urgently needed. It is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADAAG, stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual, and speech disabilities."

"However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities to accessible facilities."

For example, DOJ proposes:

  • A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
  • A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
  • An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules.
    DOJ must receive a flood of comments from the disability community in favor of a strong, comprehensive ADA.

Comments must defend the principle of individual, case-by-case assessment, which DOJ is largely abandoning in favor of many blanket reductions.

We must remind DOJ that the ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities into account, and that reductions to our civil rights would be a devastating blow to our daily lives.

Go to the Action Center now and stop the Department of Justice from rolling back our civil rights!

Click here to got to the Action Center:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Bad -- Angry Gimp's BAD Entry

I missed Blogging Against Disablism Day (May 1st) this year -- my real job is interfering with my "real" life these days...

I just came upon The Angry Gimp's entry for BAD and it so resonates with my experience that I encourage you to go read it here