Newsletter: November 07, 2008

Northeast ADA November 07, 2008 News Bulletin

What's New in the Northeast:

Cape May, New Jersey Plans to Make Half of Their Beaches ADA-Compliant:

Cape May has announced its plan to make half the city's 20 beaches among the most ADA compliant on the coast, beginning with four beaches in the coming year. This will include a 50 percent increase in handicapped parking spaces at the selected beaches, replacing stairs with ramps, building walkways to the dunes and high tide line, and increasing the number of beach wheelchairs available.  The belief is that the plan could pay for itself through increased business. Says Mayor Ed Mahaney, "You make the town more accessible for ADA accommodations, and then you have more people coming because they know it's a friendly town to the disabled".  Read more at: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/181/story/293493.html

Ten Atlantic City, New Jersey Casinos Face ADA Lawsuits:

A New Jersey man has filed lawsuits against ten Atlantic City casinos claiming that the gaming halls violate the ADA and state discrimination laws by not being sufficiently accessible to people with disabilities.  Read more at: http://www.njherald.com/story/news/A15-NJ-Casinos-Disabilit-web.

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

New FMLA Rules Should Arrive Soon:

The Department of Labor (DOL) has submitted a final draft of new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.  In February 2008 the DOL proposed these new regulations and solicited public comment on them. This proposal covered several areas of the FMLA, including notice requirements, medical certification, and the definition for "continuing treatment" of a serious health condition.  The DOL then submitted the regulations to the OMB on October 20, 2008. If the OMB approves the regulations, they could be published as early as November. You can read more about the history of this proposal in the following articles:

February, 2008 "New FMLA Rules Proposed":  http://hr.blr.com/news.aspx?id=77926

March, 2008 "8 Meaningful Changes in Proposed FMLA Regs": http://hr.blr.com/whitepapers.aspx?id=78079

New Disability Law Lowdown Podcasts in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL) Now Available

The Disability Law Lowdown, brought to you by the National DBTAC, is a podcast series devoted to bringing listeners the latest on disability law and related disability rights issues. It is available for free download from either iTunes or the Disability Law Lowdown website, at http://www.disabilitylawlowdown.com/, where transcripts are also available.  The new podcast episodes now available are The ADA Amendments Act in English, Employment Discrimination and the ADA in Spanish, and Law Enforcement and the ADA in ASL. 

 

Opportunities for YOU:

National DBTAC Announces 2008-2009 ADA Audio Conference Series:

This year's National Network of DBTAC-Regional ADA Centers 2008-2009 ADA Audio Conference Series Schedule offers a host of topics including a 4 part series on employment, Title II obligations for Emergency Preparedness and Public Rights Of Way, an update on the regulations for Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act and Section 508 (Information Technology) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Special sessions are also being planned covering the ADA Amendments Act and the Final Regulations under Title II and Title III.  Go to www.ada-audio.org and "click" on ADA Audio Conference Series to view the complete schedule for 2008-2009.  Questions regarding the series should be directed to gldbtac@uic.edu or by phone at (877)ADA-1990 or (877)232-1990 (V/TTY).

Assistive Technology Industry Association Leadership Forum on Accessibility:

This exciting two-day Forum will be held January 29-30, 2009 at the Caribe Royale All-Suites Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This event will provide large corporations, government agencies, and education institutions with a venue to discuss implications, advantages, and specific strategies for integrating accessibility across their enterprises.  Register by November 14th and save $100!  You can register online, by mail. or fax.  Registration form can be accessed and/or downloaded at:  http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3509.

Special Spotlight: Election 2008:

Senator Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States.  This was a historic election year featuring Presidential and VP candidates who crossed racial, gender, and age barriers that have traditionally existed. This election also saw a record high voter turnout, including among voters with disabilities.  Read more below about how the disability community was involved in this election and how it may be impacted by the new Administration.

"Record Number of Voters with Disabilities Will Head to Polls" article from AAPD Website: http://aapddc.org/AAPDRedesign/Communications/2008RecordNumbers.html

Local news feature on Florida voter with a disability who cited discrimination at polling center:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27500651/

Excerpts taken from a note from AAPD President & CEO Andrew J. Imparato:

"I write to you with a spirit of hope for progress on so many of the issues we care about in the context of a new Presidential Administration and a new Congress.  During the campaign, AAPD sent a questionnaire to all the candidates for President in both major parties, and Senator Obama was the first to respond in the Spring of 2007.  Senator Obama's response to our questions was elaborated upon in his "Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities".  Much of the disability community's agenda is touched upon in this comprehensive plan, which centers on four core themes:   

  • Providing Americans with Disabilities Educational Opportunities;
  • Ending Discrimination and Promoting Equality of Opportunity for People with Disabilities;
  • Increasing Employment Rate of Workers with Disabilities; and
  • Supporting Independent, Community-based Living for Americans with Disabilities.

In his response to the AAPD questionnaire, Senator Obama also committed to having a full-time Assistant to the President for Disability Policy in the White House Domestic Policy Council, which will help to ensure that the President's disability agenda is integrated and prioritized across multiple federal agencies.
During the Transition, AAPD looks forward to working with President-Elect Obama's team to fill in the details around the four broad themes he has committed to, and helping the new Administration reach out to the disability community so that we are represented at all levels in the new Administration.

Many of Senator Obama's disability-related commitments were made before some of the recent disruptions in the economy, and the new President is likely to need to adjust the timing of his plans to the new fiscal reality.  At a macro level, I think there is a real opportunity for AAPD, our members, and allies to engage with the Transition team and the new Administration and Congress to modernize the biggest federal programs (Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance) and increase our investments in education, training, accessibility and infrastructure development so that we can help more people lift themselves out of poverty, move the needle on employment outcomes and expand access to the American dream for the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities and our families.

The key will be for us to continue to work on a bipartisan basis to craft creative and broadly-supported solutions to some of the most intractable problems facing our community, and to encourage the new Administration and our allies in the Congress to do the same.  Change is now on the way.  Let's engage with the new leadership of our government to translate that change into good things for disabled people and our families".

Read more about President-Elect Obama's Disability Agenda as featured on his campaign Website:  http://www.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/

Other disability related info from President-Elect Obama featured on the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Website: http://www.aapd.com/AAPDRedesign/2008PresidentialElection/Obama08.html

 

See you in a few weeks!!!