• ADA Notification Act back in Congress
  • Kelly Dillery's rights not violated, says Sandusky judge
  • Half of people with disabilities employed, says Census report
  • Lawmakers vote to reduce state's liability
  • State inspectors "asleep at the wheel", feds say
  • Toronto integrated education plan misses point
  • UK extends disability right to people with cancer, other disabilities
  • Florida to routinely notify all business of requirements under ADA
  • Prosecutor says mother killed son 'out of love'
  • Alaska Senate gets earful from Special Olympics participants
    ADA Notification Act reintroduced in Congress
    The ADA Notification Act was quietly reintroduced in the House on March 7th as HR 914. The bill would amend Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act to impose a requirement that, before filing a Title III lawsuit, a person suffering discrimination must provide a formal notice of the violation to the business and wait 90 days. Last session's version did not get out of committee.

    The amendment requires that prior to filing lawsuits, people with disabilities must provide business owners with specific notice of ADA violations detailing the location of inaccessible facilities, dates when access was attempted, and facts relating to their attempt to gain access. Disability advocates say this would allow businesses to avoid making any accessibility modifications until they are caught, and would discourage voluntary compliance.

    More on the bill from Ragged Edge EXTRA.

    Kelly Dillery's rights not violated, says Sandusky judge
    The City of Sandusky, Ohio, although it did violate the Americans with Disabilities Act in failing to install curb cuts that Kelly Dillery and others like her could use, may not have to fix the illegally designed curbs. And Dillery herself cannot claim her civil rights were violated by the city. Those are the most recent developments in the ongoing battle about Sandusky, Ohio's access. Read about the issue from The Ragged Edge archives.

    Dillery's lawyers say they will appeal U.S. District Court Judge David Katz's March 14 ruling granting the city of Sandusky's request for summary judgment, ending the case. Appeals, say observers, could take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In a related lawsuit filed by The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, another judge ruled in February that the city had installed curb cuts that violated the ADA, but that he could not force the city to create a transition plan. To read coverage in the Sandusky Register, go to www.sanduskyregister.com and type "Dillery" in the search box.

    Half of people with disabilities employed, says Census report
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    March 19. 2001

    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    WASHINGTON, DC--The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that people with a disability are employed at a much lower rate than people without disabilities and that those considered "severely disabled" are most likely to be unemployed.

    The study was based on survey data from 1997 and is totally separate from last year's census.

    The report revealed that 78 percent of all working age (21 to 64) Americans were employed in 1997, and they averaged earnings of $30,155 for the year.

    Of the 27.8 million working age adults with disabilities, about one-half actually worked in 1997. They averaged $23,373 per year in earnings.

    People considered to have severe disabilities fared much worse -- in the same 21-64 age category, only 31 percent had a job, and averaged earnings of $18,631 per year.

    The study also found that 28 percent of adults age 25 and over with severe disabilities lived in poverty, compared with 10 percent of those whose disabilities are considered "not severe" and 8 percent of people with no disability.

    The period studied for the report came seven years after the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act which made discrimination against people with disabilities illegal.

    Lawmakers vote to reduce state's liability
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    March 16, 2001

    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON--Last year, the families of Damon Beckman, Eric Busch and William Coalter sued the Department of Social and Health Services claiming the state failed to protect them from physical and sexual abuse while at a Bremerton group home.

    The $17.8 million jury award to the men who have developmental disabilities last March was the largest personal injury verdict ever won against the state. By the time appeals were exhausted, DSHS owed almost $19 million.

    State senators who don't like the state paying out that kind of money passed a bill yesterday that would limit the liability of DSHS case workers and Department of Corrections staff. Under SSB 5355, the state would only be liable for damages if workers failed to use "reasonable care" in their duties.

    "The people who pay the judgments are the taxpayers," Spokane Senator Lisa Brown told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Critics, including trial attorneys say the initiative misses the point entirely, and could lead to more problems in the future.

    "They're just glossing over the real issue here," said Sue Evans, spokeswoman for the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Which is, "How do you prevent this from happening in the first place?"

    "If you save some lives, you'll save money -- and that should be the priority," Evans said.

    The initiative moves on to the state House for consideration.

    Information on SSB 5355 is available from the Washington State legislature's website: http://www.leg.wa.gov/wsladm/billinfo/senatebillinfo.cfm

    State inspectors "asleep at the wheel", feds say
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    March 14, 2001

    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    NEW YORK--A federal study released Tuesday showed that state nursing home inspectors routinely missed violations regarding the care and treatment of nursing home residents. Commonly overlooked were violations involving improper use of restraints, physical abuse of residents and inadequate feeding and medical care.

    "Nursing home inspectors have been asleep at the wheel," said Public Advocate Mark Green, in announcing the findings.

    The House Government Reform Committee compared federal and state inspections of 6 nursing facilities in New York conducted between January 1999 and August 2000. Federal inspectors found 61 violations of health and safety codes during that period compared with only 24 found by state inspectors.

    The study also found that state reviewers did not take complaints as seriously as would have been expected. Only 16 per cent of complaints during 1999 were addressed through some sort of action. That is about half of the national average.

    According to the Associated Press, state workers say they do not have the time to inspect more thoroughly.

    The state's Health Department was quick to denounce the study and Green, who has his sights set on becoming mayor.

    "It's shameful that Mark Green would use this report based on outdated information to scare people in order to further his own political ambition," said Health Department spokesman John Signor.

    Signor said many of the issues from the report have already been addressed.

    Toronto integrated education plan misses point
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    March 12, 2001

    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    If you are a student with a disability in Toronto, it is likely that you are bused across town to the "special school" where other students with the same disability go to school. If you have autism, for example, you go to the "autistic school".

    Most parents of children with disabilities want their children to attend their local schools, according to superintendent Dave Rowan.

    And the Toronto board of education is listening.

    Sunday's Toronto Sun reported that the board is restructuring its services to "integrate" 70 percent of its 27,000 special education students into their neighborhood schools.

    That sounds great!

    The problem is that the district's children with disabilities will be "integrated" with each other -- all in the same classroom -- rather than with students who do not have disabilities. Students with autism, for instance, will be grouped in a class with students who have mental retardation and dyslexia.

    Special education teachers are worried about how they will handle teaching large classes of students with a variety of disabilities.

    Students with "behavioral problems", "severe" disabilities and with multiple disabilities will not be included in the new approach but will continue to be segregated in specialized schools.

    The district may indeed be headed in the right direction as far as starting the move away from large group settings.

    But separating children with disabilities from their peers, and grouping them together with other children with disabilities is still discrimination, regardless if it happens in large groups or smaller groups, and regardless if it happens in their own neighborhoods or across town.

    UK extends disability right to people with cancer, other disabilities

    On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's curbing of rights for women with breast cancer, the British government promised additional protections from discrimination for women with cancer.

    British Employment Minister Margaret Hodge promised on March 6 the largest extension of dsisability rights in three decades.

    "Some employers discriminate against people diagnosed with cancer even though the cancer had no present effects, or was in remission," Hodge said, signalling her intent to strengthen Britain's Disability Discrimination Act and extend it to cover nearly 7 million workers, including police and firefighters who are not already covered by the law.

    Advocates called the move "the most significant programme of reforms since disability rights legislation was first introduced 30 years ago ... Under these proposals, millions more disabled people will be protected against discrimination."

    Hodge said the expansion would give disabled people "comprehensive and enforceable civil rights."

    Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the Supreme Court last month ruled that Patricia Garrett, demoted from her job at the University of Alabama because of her history of breast cancer, could not use the Americans with Disabilities Act to sue her employer.
    Read more from The Guardian
    More on the U.S. Supreme Court Garrett decision

    Florida to routinely notify all business of requirements under ADA

    Florida disability advocates, in an effort to head off re-introduction of the ADA Notification Act, worked with Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to come up with an "ADA Notification Flyer." The simple and short notice is to remind business of the obligation to remove access barriers under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although it is over a decade in coming, the idea is simplicity itself.

    Harris held a press conference in mid February to announce her office's new initiative. The flyer is being attached being attached to every application for a Florida accupational business license and to all license renewals. It is also being included in all incorporation document applications.

    It will be very hard for any firm doing business in Florida to avoid seeing this notice, say advocates, who point out that if every state were to do what is being done in Florida, business would have no reason to press for the ADA Notification Act. The next printing of the flyer "will contain specific details concerning the most often-abused accessibility statues," said one.

    Harris is reportedly promoting this initiative to other Secretaries of State around the nation; advocates are urged to contact their Secretary of State's office to inaugurate a similar flyer.

    View the flyer
    Prosecutor says mother killed son 'out of love'
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    March 6, 2001

    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    The man who prosecuted a woman for murdering her 10-year-old son expressed sympathy for the killer and asked the court on Friday to give her a light sentence -- because she killed the boy out of "her love for him".

    Anne Pasquiou, 39, admitted pushing her son Pierre, who had autism, off of a pier into the icy Atlantic Ocean on December 28, 1998.

    But prosecutor Michel Belin asked the court for mercy.

    "I ask you to hand down a sentence on principle, a suspended prison sentence, one that is not ridiculously light and which clearly shows that you disapprove of her act while demonstrating understanding and clemency," Belin said.

    Anne and her husband Oliver testified that their "nightmare" began when Pierre was diagnosed with autism at four and a half years of age. Pierre was sent to a facility for children with autism.

    The boy was sent back to live with his parents five years later because the program said it lacked the space to serve him.

    According to wire reports, Anne cited the fact that she left a secretarial job to care for her son as one reason for her "despair".

    The court reportedly received a large number of "expressions of support" from the public on Pasquiou's behalf

    Alaska Senate gets earful from Special Olympics participants by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    March 6, 2001

    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, March 6 -- Applause is not allowed in U.S. Senate hearings.

    But there was little Senator Ted Stevens could do on Monday to quiet the crowd after Loretta Claiborne spoke.

    Claiborne was one of about a dozen speakers who addressed a special U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled to coincide with the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games being held this week in Anchorage. Hundreds of people, including lawmakers and celebrities, crowded a hotel ballroom to hear the testimony which focused on the lack of health care for people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities.

    Special Olympics and the Yale University School of Medicine also provided Stevens with a 175-page report on health care issues faced by people with developmental disabilities.The study, and transcripts of the testimonies, are available at http://www.specialolympics.org/world_games/games_stories/health_report.html

    This report from the March 6 Anchorage Daily News has more details on the hearing: http://www.adn.com/nation/story/0,2360,245706,00.html

    The movement away from institutions and toward community living has helped to improve health care and physical fitness for people with disabilities over the past 40 years, according to this Anchorage Daily News story: http://www.adn.com/specialolympics/story/0,3462,245708,00.html

    The 2001 Special Olympics World Games began on Sunday and are scheduled to continue through the weekend. The Anchorage Daily News is covering the Special Olympics: http://www.adn.com/specialolympics/

    More news


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