Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Archive for the ‘Obama administration’ Category

President signs technology access measure

Monday, October 11th, 2010

From AP on MSNBC, with video; the Digital Journal; Wireless Week; American Foundation for the Blind release in the Kansas City Star:

President Obama has signed legislation that requires smart phones, television programs and other modern communications technologies to be made accessible to people who have impaired vision or hearing.

The legislation was hailed as “life-changing” by Paul Schroeder, a vice president at the American Foundation for the Blind.

“We’ve come a long way but even today, after all the progress that we’ve made, too many Americans with disabilities are still measured by what folks think they can’t do, instead of what we know they can do,” Obama said.

The new law “will make it easier for people who are deaf, blind or live with a visual impairment to do what many of us take for granted,” he said, from navigating a TV or DVD menu to sending an e-mail on a smart phone.

Obama honors girl who inspired ‘Rosa’s law’

Monday, October 11th, 2010

President Obama celebrated the signing of “Rosa’s Lawat an East Room ceremony honoring of 9-year-old Rosa Marcellino, the Maryland girl with Down syndrome who was its inspiration. The law ends the use of the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” in federal health, education and labor laws. “It’s so inspiring to have her here,” the president said, looking over at Rosa.

“The most important thing about Rosa’s Law is respect,” said Paul Marcellino, Rosa’s father. “For all her peers, all her friends. Everybody who she’s around. They won’t be using that word to describe my daughter anymore. That’s the main thing.”

A sampling of coverage:

  • ABC News names Rosa Marcellino its “Person of the Week.” The piece, with video, is accompanied by a string of vitriolic reader comments criticizing the law and its intent.
  • Obama praises Maryland girl who inspired new law — Baltimore Sun
  • Sen. Mikulski joins inspiration for Rosa’s law at White House Ceremony — Capital News Service

President signs ‘Rosa’s law’

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Strikes term ‘mentally retarded’ from federal statutes

Chicago Sun-Times, Southern Maryland Online

The measure will eliminate the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal education, health and labor laws.

“This law takes ‘mentally retarded’ out of the federal law books and replaces it with ‘intellectual disability,’ a change that will have a positive effect on more than 6 million Americans,”  said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), one of the measure’s sponsors.

Earlier posts here.

‘Our homes, not nursing homes,’ disability activists tell Obama

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

From the Austin American Statesman and the paper’s Postcards blog:

Disability activists were among the crowd that turned out to greet the President in Texas Monday, shouting protests about an unfulfilled campaign promise to ensure home-based support programs.

“Our homes, not nursing homes,” they chanted, waving a banner from a curbside perch along the route of the president’s Austin motorcade.

Bob Kafka of the disability rights group ADAPT said the activists were urging Obama to make good his promise to help pass the Community Choice Act. The measure would give people with disabilities the option of receiving federal support services while living on their own rather than in institutions.

EEOC: Less than 1 percent of federal workers have disabilities

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

EEOC press release, Washington Post, Federal Times:

A report released this week by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that people with targeted disabilities still comprise less than one percent (0.88 percent) of the total federal work force. Targeted disabilities include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine.

According to the report, the percentage of federal employees with targeted disabilities held steady in fiscal 2009 for the first time since 1995, halting a 13-year decline.

“As the largest employer in the nation, the federal government should lead the way in creating a diverse and just workplace,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Government employers need to continue to recruit and promote employees who represent the tapestry of America. They must also improve the efficiency of the complaint process so that justice delayed is not justice denied. We look forward to assisting the federal government to become an exemplary employer.”

An executive order signed by the president this week ordered federal agencies to hire 100,000 more employees with disabilities over the next five years, and mandated that hiring managers and human resource staff members be trained on how to employ people with disabilities.

Obama signs order to increase federal disability hiring

Monday, July 26th, 2010

From CNN:

Marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Obama today signed an executive order to increase government hiring of people with disabilities.

“Not dependence but independence: That’s what the ADA was all about,” Obama said at a White House reception attended by several hundred guests, including Cabinet members, legislators and activists for the disabled.

A recent government report found that fewer than one percent of federal workers have targeted disabilities including deafness, blindness, missing limbs, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness and limb or spine distortions, as compared with one in five members of the general population.

Earlier posts here.

See also:

Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder

Q&A with Kareem Dale, Obama’s top adviser on disability issues, in the Washington Post.

Q&A with Andy Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, in the Washington Post.

DOJ seeks improved Internet access for people with disabilities

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

From Reuters:

The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued proposals aimed at enhancing access for people with disabilities to commercial and government websites, Internet emergency call centers, and entertainment programming in movie theaters. The proposals, which are primarily aimed at improving access for people with vision and hearing impairments,  are expected to draw criticism from the business community.

“It is clear that the system of voluntary compliance has proved inadequate in providing website accessibility to individuals with disabilities,” the proposal said.

… “We’re generally supportive of the Americans with Disabilities Act but we need to come up with a reasonable way to provide these services,” said Randy Johnson, a senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and worked on the 1990 law while a congressional staff member.

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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