Measure To Restore Intent Of ADA Introduced In House
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 4, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC--Bipartisan legislation that would remove a significant barrier that has kept countless people from winning disability discrimination cases -- or even filing such complaints -- has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.
Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., of Wisconsin and Democratic House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland introduced House Resolution 6258, the "Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration Act of 2006", last Friday.
If Congress passes H.R. 6258, the current language in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that the civil rights law prohibits discrimination "against an individual with a disability", would be changed to "on the basis of a disability".
Since the ADA became law, many lawsuits have been lost and complaints have been tossed out when the focus of the courts shifted to the plaintiffs having to prove the level of their disabilities rather than the level of the discrimination.
In a press release, the Congressmen noted that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination "on the basis of" race, color, religion, national origin, and sex.
"This bipartisan legislation will enable disabled Americans utilizing the ADA to focus on the discrimination that they have experienced rather than having to first prove that they fall within the scope of the ADA's protection," Chairman Sensenbrenner wrote. "With this bill, the ADA's 'clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination on the basis of disability' will be properly restored and the ADA can rightfully reclaim its place among our Nation's civil rights laws."
"The Supreme Court's interpretations of this historic law have been largely inconsistent with the original intent of Congress and President George H.W. Bush in enacting the ADA," said Congressman Hoyer. "This is not what Congress intended when it passed the ADA. We intended the law to be broadly -- not narrowly -- interpreted. The point of the law is not disability; the point is discrimination."
"Text of Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration Act of 2006" (U.S. House of Representatives)
"Epilepsy Foundation Board Chair Urges Congress to Restore Full ADA Promise" (Epilepsy Foundation)