Thursday, March 8, 2018

Advocates: Help keep ADA strong

Three weeks ago, the U.S. House passed a bill that would create additional requirements for filing lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Nationally, advocates are very concerned about how this impacts people with disabilities and the efforts to ensure communities are inclusive and accessible.

Advocates are trying to block the bill in the U.S. Senate, and Senator Maria Cantwell has been identified as being "on the fence."

You can call the Washington hotline at (202) 224-3441 and ask Senator Cantwell to co-sign the ADA Dear Colleague letter that Senator Tammy Duckworth is circulating.

So far, the letter has over 30 co-signers.  If advocates can get to 41 signers, this bill is essentially blocked. 

(Senator Cantwell is also a sponsor of the EMPOWER Care Act, so be sure sure to thank her! That bill would restore funding to the federal Money Follows the Person program that helps people with disabilities move out of institutional settings and back into the community.)

Additional back ground:
  • A statement by  Senators Bob Casey, Chuck Schumer, Tammy Duckworth, Maggie Hassan, Elizabeth Warren and Chris Van Hollen, calling on colleague to defend disability civil rights

Not sure what to say? Here is a sample script:
"It is my understanding that a Dear Colleague letter is circulating by Senator Duckworth in opposition to changes that would harm the ADA  I would love to see Senator Cantwell’s history of leadership for adults and children who have disabilities reflected on this issue. Would she please co-sign the letter?"

You can direct U.S. Senate staff to Rylin Rodgers, Director of Public Policy for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) for any follow-up questions:

Rylin Rodgers
Director of Public Policy
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
1100 Wayne Ave., Ste 1000
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Direct: 240-821-9381
Cell: 765-891-0075