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  • Sterilization Records Missing Amid Calls For Apology
  • Access Suit Against Strip Club Causes Outrage
  • Protestors Win: No Cuts in Service in CO
  • Hospital agrees to interpreters
  • ADAPT surrounds govs: 'back MiCASSA!'
  • No More 'Flagging' For Accommodations On SATs
  • U.S. Census: Ranks of Kids with Disabilities Growing
  • CO Activists in Weeklong Protest For Services
  • Lawmakers Approve $83.8 Million For Community-Based Services

    Sterilization Records Missing As Groups And Candidates Ask For Apology
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    SALEM, OR, July 31, 2002 --State documents ordering the forced sterilizations of 2,650 Oregonians -- most of whom had developmental disabilities or mental illnesses -- during the last century are missing.

    The development comes as 17 groups are pressuring Governor John Kitzhaber to apologize for the state's eugenics law which was designed to keep people considered "defectives" from having children. The law was part of the American eugenics movement, which was based on the belief that society could be improved by reducing the number of "undesirable" people, primarily people with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, or who had criminal pasts or were homosexual.

    A sad irony is that the records may have been shredded by Portland Habilitation Center, one of the state's largest employers of people with disabilities and mental illness.

    "We destroyed them," said John Murphy, president of the nonprofit Portland Habilitation Center, which had held the state contract to shred documents. But Murphy and state officials are not sure who ordered the records destroyed in the first place.

    Now officials with the Oregon State Archives and state library want to know who ordered the files destroyed, too. Few, if any, of the official documents were photocopied or placed on microfiche. And destroying state documents without proper authorization is against the law.

    If the documents have been shredded, it could mean that the only records left are in the memories of the people who were victimized and by those in charge of the institutions where the sterilizations took place.

    In related news, candidates for governor are joining the organizations in pressuring Kitzhaber to make an official apology for the state's eugenics practices that took place from 1917 to 1983.

    A Kitzhaber advisor said that while the governor is "very interested" in the issue, he might not make an official statement for several weeks.

    When he was a state senator in 1983, Kitzhaber was on the committee that wrote language to abolish the sterilization law. Kitzhaber was the one who made the original motion to have the law abolished.

    Thirty states and two Canadian provinces had sterilization laws on the books during much of the 20th century. This past May, Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner became the first governor to officially apologize for the part his state played in the eugenics nightmare.

    Read The Portland Oregonian's two stories:
    "Eugenics Records Shredded"
    "Governor Candidates Ask Apology On Eugenics"

    Access Suit Against Strip Club Causes Outrage
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    WEST PALM BEACH, July 22, 2002 --When Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, lawmakers said the federal anti-discrimination law applied to all types of businesses. They did NOT say that those in the adult entertainment industry were exempt from the law.

    Still, some people are critical of a quadriplegic man's decision to file a lawsuit against a West Palm Beach strip club because it is not accessible to him and his wheelchair.

    After visiting the Wildside Adult Sports Cabaret on May 9 and June 14, Edward Law sued the strip club for violating the ADA. In the lawsuit filed last month, Mr. Law claims the lap dance room can only be reached by a short flight of stairs; the counter around the strippers' stage is too high for him to see the dancers; the bathrooms are not accessible; and the parking spaces do not comply with federal disability standards. The suit seeks unspecified attorney's fees and asks that the clubs comply with the federal law.

    "This is an industry that is high profit and knows about ADA and is ignoring it," Law's attorney, Anthony Brady Jr., told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel."I have no sympathy for them violating ADA."

    Law has also sued another West Palm Beach club, The Landing Strip, along with an Orlando restaurant and a Daytona Beach motorcycle shop.

    Brady, who has sued more than 100 companies for not complying with the ADA, is one lawyer that U.S. Representative Mark Foley says abuses the federal law for his own benefit.

    Two years ago Foley introduced into Congress the ADA Notification Act, which would require a person with a disability, or that person's representative, to give a business or public entity a written explanation as to how it violated the law's accessibility provisions. The bill then would allow the business or public entity up to 90 days to correct the violations before a lawsuit could be filed.

    Foley and his supporters say the legislation is designed to cut down on the number of so-called "frivolous" lawsuits that, some business owners say, are being filed by attorneys who only want to make money from settlements. Some have gone so far as to say the ADA Notification bill would protect people with disabilities from being exploited by such "rogue" attorneys.

    Disability rights groups have argued that if the bill is passed, people with disabilities would have the unfair and unusual burden of enforcing the federal law themselves. Those entities that have ignored the discrimination law for the last twelve years would be encouraged to hold off on making their facilities and services accessible until after they are notified that they are being sued.

    The Cybercast News Service ran this brief story on Wednesday: http://www.cnsnews.com/Culture/archive/200207/CUL20020717b.html

    Do you want to review other stories on ADA notification and Clint Eastwood's ill-fated attack on the ADA? Check out this Inclusion Daily Express Web page: http://www.inclusiondaily.com/news/access/notification.htm

    Protestors Win: No Cuts in Service in CO
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    DENVER, July 19, 2002 -- Disability rights activists declared a victory Thursday after nearly two weeks of camping out in front of the Colorado Human Services Building.

    "We did it, we are going home," said Babs Johnson of Colorado ADAPT, one of over a dozen protesters that had built a "sidewalk city" in front of the building.

    Thirteen days and nights earlier, Medicaid Director Karen Reinertson told a coalition of community advocates, led by ADAPT, that a five percent cut to Home Health Agencies was in effect and that the state would freeze enrollment in its Home and Community Based Waiver program.

    The protesters made it clear that cuts of any kind would not be acceptable and that the state needed to stop giving priority to nursing homes and other institutions over in-home services. The group withstood extremes in weather and kept up the vigil in front of the building's entrance to give constant reminders to Human Services workers and members of the Health Care Policy Finance (HCPF) committee of their mission and resolve.

    A breakthrough came after the group sent a letter to Reinertson on Monday, clarifying the demonstrators' demands and explaining how the HCPF committee could resolve the stand-off.

    After three days of negotiations, Reinertson responded Thursday with an announcement that no cuts would be made to in-home health services. She congratulated the protesters on providing a "recipient-driven" proposal.

    Across the country, ADAPT and other advocacy groups have been working to make sure states comply with the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision. In that ruling the court said that states violate the Americans with Disabilities Act when they "unnecessarily" institutionalize people instead of providing services in the community.

    See the final days of the action at http://www.freeourpeople.org/aar/HCPF/index.htm

    See earlier story

    Hospital agrees to interpreters

    WASHINGTON, DC, July 19, 2002 -- Howard University Hospital will provide interpreters to deaf patients under the terms of a settlement announced yesterday in a lawsuit filed last year by Garth Alexander and the Washington, DC-based Disability Rights Council. In the suit, Alexander claimed he had not had an interpreter on numerous occasions when he'd been hospitalized, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Yesterday's agreement ensures that the hospital will provide interpreters -- at no charge to the patient -- for medical communications, counseling and classes. The hospital has agree to "round-the-clock availability of qualified sign language interpreters," says the Disability Rights Council. The hospital has also agreed to provide deaf patients with printed information about their right to an interpreter, and will provide text telephones and captioned TVs in their rooms.

    Deaf patients will no longer be expected to rely on family members for interpreting, according to terms of the agreement

    ADAPT surrounds govs: 'back MiCASSA!'
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    BOISE, IDAHO, July 19, 2002 -- It was hot in Boise last Sunday, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees.

    So, several state governors meeting at the National Governors Association (NGA) Conference had several sport utility vehicles (SUVs) running with the air conditioners turned on.

    But they had no idea just how hot is was going to get until they came out of the Idaho Capitol to find their SUVs surrounded by ADAPT protesters in wheelchairs.

    Many governors had to walk to other destinations because Boise police decided to close the street where the hostage SUVs were parked.

    The protesters were pushing for a short meeting with the governors at this conference and to make sure they would be on the NGA agenda for the next conference. Advocates want the governors to support MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act. MiCASSA, which was first introduced into the U.S. Congress by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in 1997. MiCASSA, currently before Congress as bills S. 1298 and H.R. 3612, would change long-term Medicaid-funded services to favor less expensive in-home supports instead of nursing homes and other institutions.

    Although the NGA has supported many of the concepts behind MiCASSA, they have not endorsed the legislation which was re-introduced earlier this year.

    More details on Sunday's protest are available from this ADAPT report hosted by the Memphis Center for Independent Living Website: http://www.mcil.org/mcil/adapt/NGA02/default.htm Information on MiCASSA, including details on how you can help, can be found at ADAPT's Website: http://www.adapt.org/casaintr.htm

    No More 'Flagging' For Accommodations On SATs
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    NEW YORK, July 18, 2002 -- Depending on who you talk to, when it comes to college entrance exams such as the SAT, the playing field for students with disabilities either got more level -- or more bumpy.

    The College Board announced Monday that it would no longer "flag" -- or make a special note on -- scores for tests in which an accommodation was made for a student's disability. The decision is part of a settlement arranged with the Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit law firm in Oakland, California. It will take effect in October 2003.

    For several years the College Board, which administers standardized testing for college admissions, has provided accommodations for high school students with disabilities while they take the SAT. The SAT is administered to over 2 million students each year. Those accommodations include such things as providing tests in Braille print or allowing extra time for test takers with disabilities. Last year 55,000 students required special arrangements.

    But in order to let college admissions officials know that the student received an accommodation, the College Board marks the tests with "Scores Obtained Under Special Conditions" or "nonstandard administration".

    Disability Rights Advocates argued that such flagging discriminates against these students. Two years ago the Educational Testing Service agreed to stop flagging their tests in order to settle a lawsuit filed in 1999 by DRA attorney Sid Wolinsky.

    "The flag has been an identifier, which unfairly labels young men and women as second-class students," Wolinsky said Monday.

    Some people involved in the college admissions process have said, however, that they are worried the decision will backfire on students with disabilities.

    "It's the right thing to do, but it's going to have very negative ramifications," Brad MacGowan, a high school guidance counselor at an affluent Boston suburb, told the New York Times. "In a perfect world, if students really need extended time to do as well as they can on a test, they should not have it flagged. But it's that flag, that asterisk, that helps cut down on abuse. This will open the floodgates to families that think they can beat the system by buying a diagnosis, and getting their kid extra time."

    "I think it's going to run amok and the kids who are going to get most hurt are the kids who do have real disabilities," said Bruce Poch, dean of admissions at Pomona College in Claremont, California. "It's very clear who's been getting extended-time: the highest-income communities have the highest rates of accommodations. I think what's going to have to happen now is that everyone will, in effect, get more time."

    "We're extremely pleased," said Alison Aubrejuan, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates.

    She added that DRA is looking at other college entrance tests, including the LSAT for law schools administered by ACT, Inc.

    This link should take you to a media release published jointly by DRA and the College Board: http://www.collegeboard.com/press/article/0,1443,11360,00.html

    U.S. Census: Ranks of Kids with Disabilities Growing
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    WASHINGTON, DC, July 15, 2002 -- According to new census information, one of every twelve American children and teenagers has a recognized disability.

    The data from the 2000 U.S. Census covered young people between the ages of 5 and 20. It showed that eight percent of this age group had a physical or mental disability ranging from mild asthma to serious mental illness or other conditions requiring full-time care. The 2000 Census was the first in over 100 years to collect data on disabilities.

    This census data reflects figures from other sources that have shown a rapid increase in the number and rate of children with disabilities over the last ten years. The numbers of children receiving federal Social Security benefits because of a disability and the number of children receiving special education services climbed dramatically in the last decade.

    Why the rapid increase in the numbers of children with disabilities?

    For one thing, medical technology has improved significantly over the past several years, resulting in an increase in the survival rate of children with certain disabilities. Now, many premature or low-birth-weight newborns, along with children who experience drowning or brain or spinal cord injuries are being kept alive where they would not have survived ten years ago.

    Also, the definitions of learning disabilities have been expanded to include attention deficit disorder and other disabilities that were practically unheard of just ten years ago. People with disabilities and their families are more willing to admit having a disability because it is more socially acceptable or because it might qualify them for benefits.

    The growing numbers could have a staggering impact on how benefits will be distributed, in how people with disabilities will be viewed by the rest of the country, and how people with disabilities will be included in their communities, schools and work places.

    For more details, check out this article from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25998-2002Jul4.html

    CO Activists in Weeklong Protest For Services
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    DENVER, July 10, 2002 -- A coalition of disability rights activists, led by Colorado ADAPT, began a vigil outside the Colorado Human Services Building last Friday to make sure the state keeps its promises regarding Medicaid.

    The group is demanding that the Health Care Policy Finance (HCPF) committee continue making in-home and community-based services a priority for people with disabilities that receive Medicaid-funded services. Under the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling, states must not place people in nursing homes or other institutions unnecessarily and are to provide alternatives in the community.

    The vigil started after a meeting with Medicaid Director Karen Reinertson during which she announced that home health agencies has a five percent cut and that the state would be stopping enrollment in its Home and Community Based Waiver program.

    Medicaid officials had said they would use a priority list in order to be in compliance with the Olmstead decision. During Friday's meeting, however, the officials said that the list has not yet been created.

    Since Friday, the activists have been camped out in front of the building, enduring thunderstorms, hailstorms and automatic sprinklers.

    "We are going to make them keep their promises," said Anita Cameron of Colorado ADAPT, "they want to sell us a bill of goods that is totally inappropriate."

    The Memphis Center for Independent Living is hosting daily updates on their Website -- go to http://www.freeourpeople.org/aar/HCPF/index.htm For more information on ADAPT, visit http://www.adapt.org

    Lawmakers Approve $83.8 Million For Community-Based Services
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    BATON ROUGE, July 8, 2002 -- Louisiana lawmakers have approved a proposal to add $83.8 million to community-based services for seniors and residents with disabilities.

    The Advocate News reported Sunday that the Department of Health and Hospitals pushed the measure through the legislature. DHH Secretary David Hood said that about one-half of the new money will go toward providing personal-care attendants, home modifications and emergency response systems so that about 4,000 people will be able to stay out of nursing homes, developmental centers and other institutions.

    Hood had suggested to legislators that if there was not enough money for community services in the budget, funding for nursing homes and hospitals should be cut to make up the difference.

    "We are moving more to the home and community and primary care effort in the long run to save money and provide better services," said Hood. "We can reduce the amount of increase in health-care costs if we can shift more to primary care and prevention and more home and community-based care."

    Included in the plan is money to provide community-based services for 425 people with developmental disabilities who are on a waiting list for services.

    Much of the money is coming from a settlement of a federal lawsuit called the Barthelemy suit. That case was filed to stop the state from placing people in nursing homes or other institutions using the excuse that there were not enough community or home-based supports available.

    This Advocate News story has more information: "Community-Based Services Boosted" http://www.theadvocate.com/stories/063002/new_30serv001.shtml

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