White House Seeks Nominations for Champions of Change

The White House is seeking nominations for “Champions of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations”.  This award recognizes individuals who have spent many years advocating for disability rights as well as dedicated young self-advocates.  This event coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Nominations are due midnight Thursday, June 18.  Nominate an individual and select “Americans with Disabilities Act” as the Theme of Service.

Census Bureau Releases “Facts for Features”

In commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Census Bureau is releasing a “Facts for Features” providing a demographic snapshot of the U.S. population with a disability and examining various services available to them.  The demographic snapshot includes information about institutionalization, transportation, employment, accessibility, and other useful information.

Department of Justice Releases New Primer on Americans with Disabilities Act Title II

On Monday, the Department of Justice issued a new document to assist state and local governments in implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The document covers their obligations regarding service animals, communicating with people with disabilities, power-driven mobility devices, and policies and procedures.  Additionally, it addresses the application of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design to new and existing facilities.  

Civil Rights Data on Students With Disabilities Released

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its FY 2013-2014 Report to the President, Protecting Civil Rights, Advancing Equity. This annual report contains data and case examples of reported cases of discrimination under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report shows that the greatest number of complaints of discrimination pertain to receiving a free and appropriate education (FAPE), retaliation, and different treatment/exclusion/denial of benefits.   In addition, the report includes data on combating disparities in school disciplinary practices (including restraint and seclusion); ensuring equal access to comparable educational opportunities; providing necessary academic adjustments for post-secondary students; safeguarding accessibility to appropriate technology; ensuring accessibility of programs, services, and facilities; and combating bullying and harassment on the basis of disability. See the report at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/ocr/report-to-president-and-secretary-of-education-2013-14.pdf

Americans with Disabilities Act Complaints to be Filed Through New Electronic Form

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that, as of March 3, 2015, individuals wishing to file Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaints with the DOJ will be able to do so electronically on a new form available on the DOJ website. Upon submission, filers will receive a reference number which may be used in future correspondence related to that complaint. Effective March 15, 2015, the DOJ will no longer accept complaints by e-mail, however, complaints will still be accepted by U. S. mail. To receive a paper complaint form, contact the Department’s ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (v); 1-800-514-0383 (tty). To view the new electronic form, visit www.ada.gov.

Department of Education Issues Letter on How Schools Must Respond to Bullying of Students with Disabilities

As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated—including against America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities. The guidance explains how schools must respond when students with disabilities are bullied in order to meet their civil rights obligations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information, see the Department of Education website.

President Commemorates 24th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

President Obama and senior advisors hosted a meeting with a small group of disability leaders to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the ADA. They discussed the critical efforts that federal agencies are leading to protect the rights of, and participation by, people with disabilities in our communities. The President also formally announced the appointment of his new disability policy advisor, Taryn Mackenzie Williams. Taryn joins the Office of Public Engagement from the U.S. Department of Labor, where she served as a Senior Policy Advisor with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Watch the President’s video message and read his 24th ADA anniversary proclamation at whitehouse.gov.

The US Access Board Issues New Guidelines About Temporary Emergency Housing

The US Access Board issued new guidelines about temporary housing provided during emergencies.  The Access Board developed an overview of the guidelines to accompany the lengthier final rule.  Temporary housing units provided by the government in times of disaster are transportable and smaller than other types of housing.  This presents unique accessibility challenges.  The Board will hold a public briefing on the guidelines in New York City on May 15.   Although the rule becomes effective June 6, 2014, compliance will not be required until the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Justice (DOJ) update their accessibility standards.

Free Webinar on Nontraditional Emergency Shelters and People with Disabilities

The Great Lakes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center will be hosting the next in their series of Emergency Preparedness Webinars on May 8, 2014, from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT.   This series is brought to you through a collaboration between the Great Lakes ADA Center and the Pacific ADA Center, both members of the ADA National Network.

This webinar will focus on how to establish non-traditional shelters to meet 1) disaster survivors’ immediate needs or 2) the need to locate residents closer to their community during the recovery phase. Non-traditional shelters may include soft sided structures in open areas as well as mega-shelter sites. Each presents a unique set of circumstances which require specific planning in order to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. This webinar will identify specific planning considerations relative to nontraditional sheltering in order to adequately meet the needs of the whole community.

To register for this free webinar visit the ADA Conferences website. Questions regarding registration and/or the webinar platform should be directed to info@adaconferences.org or by phone at 877-232-1990 (V/TTY)

Department of Justice Issues Final Rule Adjusting Inflation for Civil Monetary Penalties Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Last month, the Department of Justice issued a Final Rule that adjusts inflation for the civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced by the Civil Rights Division, including civil penalties available under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   For the ADA, this adjustment increases the maximum civil penalty for a first violation under title III from $55,000 to $75,000; for a subsequent violation the new maximum is $150,000. The new maximums only apply to violations occurring on or after April 28, 2014.

This Final Rule is a non-discretionary agency action made pursuant to Section 4 of the Federal Civil Penalties Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (Adjustment Act), which mandates the Attorney General to adjust for inflation the civil penalties assessed or enforced by the Department of Justice. The amounts of the adjustment were determined according to a specific mathematical formula set forth in Section 5 of the Adjustment Act. The previous adjustment under the ADA occurred in 1999.