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Washington report.

Washington Report

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is now law. This landmark legislation, which provides legal redress in cases of discrimination, will open new doors of opportunity for America's 43 million people with disabilities.

At the time the ADA was introduced in 1988 the principal legislative protections for the disabled were a 1973 law that barred discrimination by the Federal Government, federal contractors or other entities that receive federal funds, and a 1988 housing law that prohibited discrimination in the sale or rental of housing and provided that by 1991 some new buildings would have to be made acccessible.

The Senate approved the ADA last September. Through our chapters and our grass-roots network the Socity acted often and effectively to defeat obstacles and ensure that policy makers were aware of the extent of support for the ADA. Among the highlights:

* Successful Lincoln's Birthday Rallies for Civil Rights were organized by five chapters--Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Greater Illinois and Northern Florida.

* The Louisiana and Rochester Area Chapters conducted large press mailings on behalf of coalitions in their states.

* The Northern California Chapter used the Letters to the Editor column of the Oakland Tribune to gain public support.

These accomplishments will strengthen us as we continue our mission of developing and promoting public policy for people with MS and their families.

The ADA as Law

For your convenience, the provisions of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act are summarized below:


In two years, businesses with more than 25 workers will be required to change their physical plants to accommodate people with disabilities. In four years, businesses with more than 15 workers will also be required to change their plants accordingly.


New buses, trains and subway cars will have to accessible.

Public accommodations

New or renovated hotels, retail stores, and restaurants must be accessible to people in wheelchairs. Existing barriers will have to be removed, if such removal is "readily achievable."


Within three years, telephone companies will have to provide relay services to allow hearing or voice impaired people with telephones to place and receive calls from standard telephones.

These mandates will be enforced through the guidelines outlined in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Employers who are found to discriminate will be served injunctions and required to pay back victims of unjust practices.
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Title Annotation:Americans with Disabilities Act
Author:Losow, Michael
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Jun 22, 1990
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