Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breaking News: House Passes ADA Amendment Act-

On the heels of the Senate having done so last week, yesterday (9-17-08) the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (S. 3406). This clears the way for the legislation to be sent to the President to become law. At this time it is unclear exactly when the President will sign the legislation into law, but the White House has said he will sign the bill.

the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA, which on a personal note could be one the hardest acronyms I have ever seen) specifically overturns Supreme Court decisions that have caused too many people with disabilities whom Congress intended the ADA to cover to lose important protection. The ADAAA makes it clear that Congress intended the ADA’s coverage to be broad, to cover anyone who faces unfair discrimination because of a disability. The legislation also clarifies the current requirement that an impairment must substantially limit a major life activity in order to be considered a disability. S. 3406 prohibits consideration of mitigating measures in the determination of whether an individual has a disability, with the exception of ordinary eyeglasses and contact lenses. Finally, the bill affords broad coverage for individuals regarded as having a disability under the ADA, but includes a provision to make it clear that accommodations need not be made to someone who is disabled solely because he or she is regarded as having a disability.

This legislation was crafted in an extraordinary collaboration between the disability and business communities and Members on Capitol Hill. This is a huge victory for those seeking to restore the original intent of the ADA, and is a good opportunity to thank all elected representatives for their support for the legislation (since it passed unanimously in both the House and Senate).

(Special Thanks to National Protection and Advocacy List Serve for this Breaking News Alert)

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