33rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990, and it was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities. “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.”
Office of the Texas Governor, Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
Achieving the ADA Today
On this day 33 years ago, President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. At the signing was fellow Texan Justin Dart, who is widely hailed as the Father of the ADA. The signing of the historic law was declared by President Bush a turning point in the disability rights movement.
The ADA protects the rights of people with disabilities by ensuring equal access to services, accommodations, communications, and transportation. Over the years, a comprehensive network of agencies and programs have produced resources and implemented programs and services that work to achieve the vision of the ADA.
ADA National Network
The ADA National Network is available to provide information, guidance, and training on how to implement titles I-V of the ADA. Their webpage proclaims that in partnership with persons with disabilities, they strive to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.” Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, the network consists of 10 Regional ADA Centers located throughout the United States. The Southwest ADA Center is Texas’ hub for information and resources on the ADA.
Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
Title I of the ADA prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) assists implementing Title 1 of the ADA with the mission to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. One important element for the success of long-term employment for people with disabilities is job accommodation modifications to a job or to a job site will help ensure that an employment position is accessible for people with disabilities. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a program of ODEP, is a great resource for employers wanting to provide a practical and reasonable work environment for an employee with a disability.
US Access Board
The U.S. Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards. The Access Board develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, information and communication technology, and medical diagnostic equipment under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other laws.
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Closer to home, Texas has its own set of accessibility standards, the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS). The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), through the Elimination of Architectural Barriers Program, monitors and enforces compliance with the TAS and the ADA.
Celebrate the ADA’s 33rd Anniversary
Please join Governor Abbott and his Committee on People with Disabilities in celebrating the 33rd Anniversary of the ADA. As Governor Abbott reminds us, “We know in Texas that it is not our challenges that define us, but rather how we rise above them, and the ADA enables people with disabilities to do so in virtually every domain of public life. My own career as an elected official began after my disabling injury, and I therefore know full well that a disability need not stand between a Texas and his ambitions.”