Newsletter: March 19, 2014

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: March 19, 2014

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

The ADA National Network Launches New Informational Website

The ADA National Network, of which the Northeast ADA Center is part of, launched its new, user-friendly national website at www.adata.org. The new website allows visitors to explore resources about the ADA by audience and topic, to learn about the services offered by the ADA National Network, and to locate their regional ADA Center. Visitors to the website can read publications developed by the ADA National Network as well as by other ADA-focused organizations, browse an extensive FAQ (frequently asked questions) database, search for information through a focused ADA Portal, read current ADA news, and locate training and awareness events about the ADA. The website is designed to meet and exceed section 508 standards. Visitors are encouraged on every page to provide feedback on ways to improve the website. Visit us at http://adata.org/

What's New in Our Region:

Timetable Set for Rules on Wheelchair-Accessible Taxicabs

A federal judge has set a timetable for new accessibility rules to be published, and a public hearing to be set, related to making New York City taxicabs accessible. The judge is giving city lawyers more time to consult with yellow medallion taxi owners on how to make these accessibility changes. The city has agreed to commit to this schedule and new rules should be published by the end of March, with the hearing taking place in April. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/nyregion/timetable-set-for-rules-on-wheelchair-accessible-taxicabs.html?action=click&contentCollection=Europe®ion=Footer&module=Recommendation&src=recg&pgtype=article&_r=1

Settlement in 7-Year Suit over New Jersey Students with Disabilities

The New Jersey (NJ) Department of Education has settled a federal lawsuit alleging that the state has failed to adequately educate students with disabilities because it has separated them from their student peers. The lawsuit was encouraged by advocates. About 10 percent of NJ's students with disabilities attended school in a different facility outside their home district in the 2007-2008 school year. Under the settlement agreement, the state will target 75 school districts with inadequate track records on inclusion. The agreement mandates the state to supply districts with training to school staff, complete site visits and increase oversight of districts to prevent unnessary separation of students with disabities. To read more, visit: http://www.wnyc.org/story/nj-agrees-steps-better-educate-students-disabilities/?utm_source=sharedUrl&utm_media=metatag&utm_campaign=sharedUrl

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs has Posted FAQs on Section 503, VEVRAA

To help clarify expectations for contractor compliance, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) offers questions and answers about the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act in preparation for the March 24th implementation date. For more information and additional resources, see EARN's fact sheets on the new VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations, or visit www.askearn.org

Federal Government Earmarks Millions for Housing Programs to Assist Individuals with Disabilities

Federal housing officials are appropriating $120 million to assist thousands of individuals with disabilities access rental housing assistance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is encouraging state housing agencies to apply now through May 5. The purpose of the funding is to discourage homelessness and unnecessary institutionalization of those with disabilities. The money is available under HUD's Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, a program designed to increase community-based housing options for individuals with disabilities. To be considered for funding, state housing agencies must collaborate with local Medicaid and health and human services agencies to identify and help individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports to live independently in the community. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/03/04/feds-earmark-housing/19163/

Matching Wounded Warriors with Assistive Technology

This article, concerning assistive technology devices (ATD) for wounded service members, may serve as a handy guide for federal employers looking to employ and/or accommodate veterans with disabilities. An ATD is any item, piece of equipment, or product system used to improve, maintain, or increase functional abilities of an individual with a disability. The article suggests that while many US statutes encourage the provision of ATDs, acquiring the devices often remains challenging for both service members and providers. Reports showing high levels of ATD choice overload or nonuse of devices, and ATD dissatisfaction, indicate that an improved evaluation, guidance, and decision-making process is needed to increase utilization by organization and end-users. To read more, visit: http://www.extension.org/pages/70238/matching-wounded-warriors-with-assistive-technology

Comcast NBCUniversal & The Arc Launch Multi-Million National Partnership

This year, The Arc will start a new national joint venture with Comcast Corporation that will support and increase digital technology opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Through a three-year commitment, Comcast and NBCUniversal will give The Arc $3.7 million in funding and in-kind assistance (e.g. airtime). The airtime will allow The Arc announce on cable and broadcast channels and xfinity.com of its services and benefits. The Comcast Foundation is also affording $400,000 to support The Arc's national digital training program and to increase technology access and services by launching up to 12 Comcast and NBCUniversal Digital Literacy Learning Labs in major metropolitan cities. To read more, visit: http://blog.thearc.org/2014/02/25/comcast-nbcuniversal-arc-launch-multi-million-dollar-national-partnership-enhance-technology-access-education-people-disabilities/

New CAP Quick Tip: Out of Scope Accommodations

The Computer/Electronics Accommodation Program (CAP) has released a YouTube video detailing the type of accommodation requests and services they provide. CAP's mission is to ensure that individuals with disabilities and wounded service members have equal access to the information environment and opportunities in the Department of Defense (DoD) and throughout the Federal government. According to this informational video, CAP purchases accommodations for the information technology environment, but some items are out of CAP's scope, such as electric scooters, foot rests, and medical supplies. To view the full list of out of scope items, watch the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhGfLcVibZg

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acts to Help Emergency Responders Locate Wireless 911 Callers

The FCC proposed rules, and seeks public comments on providing 911 emergency call centers with additional information about the location of people who call 911 using cellphones or smartphones. Improving the ability to precisely identify a person's location who calls to 911 may be particularly essential for individuals with disabilities and for individuals who are not able to give their address or describe their location. At this time, FCC rules mandate some outdoor location information about wireless callers to be supplied automatically to 911 emergency call centers; however, FCC wants to require more information about the location of wireless callers who are indoors (e.g. to identification of building, the floor, and possibly the room, office, or apartment where the wireless call began). Advancements in the field of indoor location technology will facilitate the acquisition of the additional information.  To read more, visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-325694A1.pdf

A Legal Eye on Medication Side Effects, the Workplace, and the ADA

Some managers may express skepticism and concerns regarding employee requests for a job accommodation based on the side effects of medication. However, there are times when a cause-and-effect relationship occurs as a result of an employee taking medications, due to side effects; therefore, impacting an employee's work performance. In this case, this employee may be covered under the ADA and other states' human rights laws. A growing number of jurisdictions have acknowledged that in some situations an individual may be protected under the ADA if the medication they are taking has disabling effects, even if the underlying medical condition wouldn't qualify as a disability itself. For instance, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals listed three factors to consider when making this determination: the treatment must be necessary according to the prudent judgment of a medical professional; the treatment cannot merely be an "attractive option" for treating the underlying condition; and the treatment cannot be required in anticipation of a problem that results solely from the employee's voluntary choices. To read more, visit: http://blogs.hrhero.com/diversity/2014/01/19/my-meds-made-me-do-it-medication-side-effects-and-the-ada/?utm_source=HRHero&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=HeroLine

Opportunities for You!

The 2014 Disability Policy Seminar

The 2014 Disability Policy Seminar will take place in Washington, D.C. April 7-9. This event is opportunity to cultivate new champions on Capitol Hill and advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). This unique platform offers participants with the opportunity to gather with other advocates, discover about the issues impacting the I/DD community, and speak with elected officials about what is important to the I/DD community To find out more about this year's program and to register, please visit: www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org

Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics  

Disability rights advocates are encouraged to join the first-ever Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics. This event will be held in Arlington, Virginia April 25-26. This groundbreaking event will cover important topics/issues facing the disability community in the United States in the bioethical field (e.g. Withholding Medical Treatment, Assisted Suicide Law, and Reproductive Technologies). These two focused days will afford learning and discussion on important bioethics issues. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.drlib.eventbrite.com

FCC Accepting Nominations for the Third Annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

The FCC is requesting nominations for the third annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The awards honor exceptional private and public sector initiatives that promote accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Winners and honorable mentions will obtain their awards from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in June 2014 (date and location will be announced in the future). Email nominations to ChairmansAAA@fcc.gov by March 31, 2014.

Special Spotlight:  Obama Includes Workers with Disabilities in Minimum Wage Executive Order

President Obama's executive order increases the minimum wage for workers and will includes a key provision to address concerns raised by advocates of workers with disabilities. The President announced his plan to take unilateral action during  the State of the Union Address to increase the minimum wage for low-wage workers to $10.10 from the current rate of $7.25.  Soon after this announcement, advocates of individuals with disabilities started pressing the White House to include workers with disabilities among those getting raises. Some advocates believe that this will stop employers from paying certain workers with disabilities subminimum wages.  Read more below.

Opportunity For All: Rewarding Hard Work:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/12/fact-sheet-opportunity-all-rewarding-hard-work

Minimum Wage Executive Order to Include Individuals with Disabilities:

http://power.aapd.com/site/R?i=TMQc2gYXGaMFUZ1l3UrIQQ

Subminimum Wage for Workers with Disabilities May Become a Policy of the Past:

http://www.care2.com/causes/subminimum-wage-for-disabled-workers-may-become-a-policy-of-the-past.html#ixzz2va69gY00

Advocates Want Individuals with Disabilities Included in the Minimum Wage Executive Order:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/advocates-want-disabled-included-wage-hike?utm_source=2013-02-12+WH+Wage+Announcement+2&utm_campaign=2013-02-12+WH+Wage+Anncmnt&utm_medium=email