Iowa House Rejects Bid To Appoint Safety And Accessibility
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 9, 2006
DES MOINES, IOWA--"We have a legal responsibility to the people of this state who have a disability."
That quote was from Iowa Representative Mark Kuhn, who this week urged his colleagues in the state House to approve his $82,000 proposal to hire a person to review accessibility and safety problems in the Capitol and other state buildings.
Kuhn, who is recovering from a farm accident, found himself stranded in his wheelchair on the building's second floor during emergency evacuations in January.
State facilities officials admitted a short time later that five Evac-Chairs designed to evacuate persons with physical disabilities had been delivered to the Capitol more than two years ago, but that they had not been installed. Instead, they had been stored in the attic.
Kuhn said it was time to have one person be responsible for reviewing all state buildings for safety and accessibility, and to develop plans to comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
"That's exactly why I'm calling for one person to be accountable," Kuhn said. "I think it's an issue that the people of Iowa deserve more attention to."
Kuhn's initiative was defeated Tuesday.
Opponents said the Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency should conduct such reviews without added cost to taxpayers.
"Fire Alarm Leaves Lawmaker Stranded" January 20, 2006 (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)