Newsletter: July 24, 2009

Northeast ADA July 24, 2009 News Bulletin

What''s New in Our Region:

New Jersey State Budget Passes Without Cuts to Independent Living Centers: 
On June 29th, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed the state''s 2010 budget, which did not include the previously proposed $125,000 cut in funding for the state''s Centers for Independent Living (CILs), much to the excitement of the hundreds who had been protesting the cuts. For more coverage on the victory, please visit: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/07/nj-victory-independent-living-budgets-restored.html.

Bills Passed in New York to Benefit People with Disabilities: 
According to the Statewide Systems Advocacy Network of NY, comprised of independent living centers throughout the state, the Senate recently passed more than 200 bills, including two that will positively affect people with disabilities. These bills address incorporating Title II of the ADA into NYS Human Rights Law and polling site access. To read more, go to: http://ssan-network.blogspot.com/2009/07/good-newsweve-got-some-good-news-senate.html

Curbs and Sidewalks in Broome County, NY to be Made ADA Compliant: 
On July 9th, the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) announced an award of $405,781 to bring sidewalks and curbs along state highways throughout Broome County into compliance with the ADA. The funding was provided via the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said, "This sidewalk and curb improvement project will enhance safety and access for pedestrians in Broome County." To read the full article, please visit: http://www.wbng.com/news/local/50359657.html.


What''s New in the Rest of the Country:

Kathleen Martinez Confirmed as Assistant Secretary for ODEP: 
On July 20th, Kathleen "Kathy" Martinez took office as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) after a unanimous Senate vote to confirm her on June 25th. Martinez has been blind since birth, and is nationally recognized as a leader in the disability community. As part of her duties, she will advise the Secretary of Labor and work with other Department of Labor agencies in order to achieve more effective national policies for workers with disabilities. To read more, go to: http://www.dol.gov/odep/welcome/AssistantSecretary.htm.

ODEP Releases New Brochure from Perspective of Employers: 
In the first survey of this magnitude, 3,797 businesses representing 2.4 million companies, across 12 industry sectors and various company sizes, reported on their beliefs about and strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities. Access the Office of Disability Employment Policy''s brochure, "Employer Perspectives on Employment of People with Disabilities" at:  http://www.dol.gov/odep/documents/EmployerPerspectives.doc.

The Latest Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News: 
Topics include, among others, the Campaign for Disability Employment, the Benefits of Making Temporary Accommodations, and Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace:  http://www.jan.wvu.edu/ENews/2009/Enews-V7-I3.htm.

June 2009 Disability Employment Statistics Released: 
Unemployment among people with disabilities reached its highest rate in June, 14.3%, since the U.S. Department of Labor began tracking such data. To access the statistics, go to:  http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsdisability.htm.

Recovery Act Grants $851 million to Community Health Centers:
On June 29th, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that $851 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be granted to community health centers in order to help them serve more Americans. This grant is especially essential now as more Americans face losing their jobs and health insurance. The money will be partitioned among more than 1,500 health center sites throughout the nation, supporting necessary construction, repair, and renovation. To view the full press release, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/First-Lady-Michelle-Obama-Announces-Release-of-851-Million-from-Recovery-Act-to-Upgrade-and-Expand-Community-Health-Centers/

Department of Justice (DOJ) Mandates that States Cannot Deny Professional Licenses to People with HIV/AIDS: 
The DOJ is advising state authorities that denying people with AIDS or HIV either licenses to become barbers, masseuses, and home health care aides or admittance to related occupational training schools is a violation of the ADA.  Go to: http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/health_news/local_wavy_AIDS_HIV_licenses_20090716 for the full article. DOJ has also created a new publication explaining the ADA-related rights of people with HIV/AIDS to obtain occupational training and state licensing:  http://www.ada.gov/publicat.htm#qa_aidslicence

White House Announces Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Special Education:
On July 6th, President Obama announced the nomination of Alexa E. Posny as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education. Posny, who currently serves as the Commissioner of Education for the state of Kansas, has also previously served as the Director of the Education department''s Office for Special Education Programs (OSEP). To read the full press release, go to: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/07/wh-announces-assistant-secretary-for-special-education.html

Walmart Foundation Commits $500,000 to Improving Emergency Preparedness for the 54 million Americans with Disabilities:
The Walmart Foundation has made this grant to assist and improve the National Organization on Disability''s (N.O.D) Emergency Preparedness Initiative, which is working to ensure that people with disabilities are considered in emergency planning and response. The grant will be used to improve educational and training materials, expand its network of advocacy organizations, and increase outreach and national awareness of this critical issue. To read the full article, please visit: http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-09-2009/0005057212&EDATE.

Department of Health and Human Services Rescinds Medicaid Regulations:
On June 29th, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that three Medicaid regulations will be rescinded, and the enforcement of a fourth will be delayed. She explained that rescinding these regulations would reduce "potentially adverse consequences for Medicaid beneficiaries". Regulations that were rescinded would have eliminated reimbursement for school-based administrative costs and costs of transportation to and from schools; limited the outpatient hospital and clinic service benefit for Medicaid beneficiaries; and restricted beneficiary access to case management services. For more detailed information, please visit: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/media/press/release.asp?Counter=3468&intNumPerPage=10&checkDate=&checkKey=&srchType=1&numDays=3500&srchOpt=0&srchData=&keywordType=All&chkNewsType=1%2C+2%2C+3%2C+4%2C+5&intPage=&showAll=&pYear=&year=&desc=&cboOrder=date.

Accessible Technology Bill Introduced: 
On June 26th, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced "The 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2009," which is comprehensive legislation designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to telecommunications and video programming technologies on the internet. The bill requires, among other things, that telecommunications devices be fully hearing aid compatible, have accessible user interfaces, and offer people with disabilities a wealth of text messaging and other popular services that are largely inaccessible in their current versions. For more details on the bill and how to help get the bill passed, please visit: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/07/accessible-technology-bill-introduced.html.

American Airlines (AA) President and CEO Addresses Mobility and Air Travel: 
Gerard Arpey, AA President and CEO, highlighted issues of mobility and air travel for people with disabilities in AA''s June 1st in-flight magazine. "At American Airlines, our mission is to connect the world for everyone, including people with disabilities", he wrote. He also discussed AA''s partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities to create a contest that began this month to honor television commercials featuring positive portrayals of people with disabilities. For the full article, go to: http://www.americanwaymag.com/vantage-point-06-01-2009

 

Opportunities for You!

Join the New Disabilities Leadership Council:
The Disabilities Leadership Council, a new association whose mission is to find solutions for individuals with disabilities, is looking for new members. This Council seeks to create an association for professionals in different fields, ranging from government to social and educational services to the financial sector, to share contemporary ideas to meet the current and future needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. For more information about the Council and current and future initiatives, visit their blog at disabilitiesleadershipcouncil.blogspot.com.  To become a member, send an email to disabilitiesleadershipcouncil@gmail.com with your name, address, phone number, and email address.

Federal Opportunities to Expand Community Living National Teleconference and Webcast August 6th
Federal programs like Money Follows the Person can provide a real opportunity to support individuals wanting to live independently in the community and an important funding stream for independent living centers. This National Teleconference and Webcast, provided by the National Council on Independent Living, will provide participants the opportunity to learn about Money Follows the Person programs across the country, and other opportunities for funding and new programs through the Administration on Aging and Veteran''s Administration to support independent living. Registration fee is $75.00 per group. All CILs and SILCs are encouraged to participate. For more information or to register, go to: http://ncil.org/training/communityliving2009.html.

 

Special Spotlight:  19th Anniversary of the ADA!

On July 26th, the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 19 years old...or young depending on your perspective.  Clearly improvements have been made in promoting and securing equal participation and enjoyment by people with disabilities in the employment, community, education, and transportation realms since this landmark civil rights act was passed; one of the most recent being the passage of the ADA Amendments Act which took effect January 1st. There is much to celebrate, but as can be the case with "birthdays", it is also a time for bittersweet reflection about where the ADA and people with disabilities are at today and how far we still need to go to achieve true equality. The unemployment and poverty rates of people with disabilities continue to rise, housing discrimination complaints are at an all time high, and lack of community living and healthcare options still exist. While those sad realities exist, there is also the reality that there continues to be more and more agencies, political officials, service providers, grassroots organizations, educators, and individuals at the local, state, and national levels that are committed to achieving a more inclusive America through education, activism, and political change...and that is definitely cause for celebration! 

DBTAC-Northeast is inviting you to celebrate the ADA''s 19th anniversary by sharing your stories of "How the ADA has impacted my life".  We will be posting these stories on our website, www.northeastada.org and our Facebook page,  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=72415109544. We hope that by sharing these stories, we will be able to increase awareness of the ADA and disability issues.  If you or someone you know would like to submit a personal story, please send it to Larry Featherston at DBTAC-Northeast, lwf27@cornell.edu.  Because we know that these stories will be personal, we will remove any identifying information before posting the story to our site, but if you have a personal blog that you would like your story linked to, please include the link in your submission.  We look forward to hearing from you!

DBTAC-Northeast article on the ADA Anniversary (July 23rd):  http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/r-factsheets.cfm

American Association of People with Disabilities Celebrates ADA Anniversary:  http://www.aapd.com/

Recent U.S. Census Statistics regarding people with disabilities:
http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-16-2009/0005061221&EDATE

"Americans With Disabilities Applaud President Obama''s Intention to Sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities" (July 21st):  http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-21-2009/0005063570&EDATE

Disability Scoop article on how raising minimum wage may affect employees with disabilities (July 24th):  http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2009/07/24/minimum-wage/4303/

"Disabilities law nears age 19, with the vigor of a 70-year-old" (July 12th oped piece on LoHud.com):  http://lohud.com/article/20090712/OPINION/907120310/1076/OPINION01

  

 

See you in a few weeks!!!