Updates from The White House – July 2013

From the White House Blog: Landmark Treaty For The Visually Impaired

In April, 2012, President Obama expressed the United States’ commitment to a treaty that “ensures that copyright is not a barrier to equal access to information, culture, and education for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities.”  This week in Morocco, we made good on that commitment, joining with over 150 states in approving a landmark treaty that holds the potential to open up a world of knowledge to a population that is too often shut off from it.

Read more about the treaty at the following link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/28/landmark-treaty-visually-impaired

Agency News: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on 14th Anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead Decision

On the anniversary of the Olmstead decision, Secretary Sebelius remarked:

“Like everyone, a majority of people with disabilities want to live in a home and a community of their choosing. The Department of Health and Human Services is working aggressively to support and honor this right, identifying and implementing innovative policies and partnerships that advance the principles of community living and expand the delivery of home and community-based services and supports.”

Read the full text of her remarks at the following link: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/06/20130621a.html

Agency News: Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eve Hill Delivers Remarks on the Americans with Disabilities Act

Eve Hill recently delivered remarks on the landmark settlement agreement between the United States, the State of Rhode Island, and the City of Providence, vindicating the civil rights of approximately 200 individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities:

“For far too long, people with disabilities who can and want to work and engage in all aspects of community life have been underestimated by public service systems that have had limited or no expectations for them.  Under this agreement, things are now changing.”

Read the full remarks at the following link: http://www.justice.gov/crt/opa/pr/speeches/2013/crt-speech-130613.html

Read more about the issue at the following link: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20131162.htm

Agency News: Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Supershuttle Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Justice Department recently announced that it has reached a settlement with SuperShuttle, a shared-ride transportation company based in Arizona, to resolve a complaint that it discriminated against a blind person who uses a service animal.  Specifically, the Justice Department determined that SuperShuttle violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by forcing a blind person who uses a service animal and her party to ride in a separate van and charging them a higher rate than other individuals who are allowed to share a van and pay a reduced fare.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, SuperShuttle will adopt a revised service animal non-discrimination policy; train all employees, franchisees and independent contractors on the requirements of the ADA; and pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant.

Read more about the settlement at the following link: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/June/13-crt-643.html

Agency News: Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services Issue Letter to Health-Related Schools Regarding Hepatitis B Discrimination

The Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services recently sent a joint letter to the nation’s medical schools, dental schools, nursing schools, and other health-related schools regarding hepatitis B discrimination.

In the letter, the departments express concern that some health-related schools may be making enrollment decisions based on an incorrect understanding of the hepatitis B virus, resulting in discrimination.

The letter cites to a March 2013 settlement agreement that the Justice Department reached with a medical school and a school of osteopathic medicine resolving allegations that the schools violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by excluding previously-accepted applicants with hepatitis B from their programs.

Read more at the following link:

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