Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues.
SOME ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM PHYLLIS RESNICK
Steve Gold has thoroughly dissected the negatives embedded in the Federal Regulations discussed above. I believe that, of all the complaints which one could level at these regulations, the one that strikes most deeply at the heart of the A.D.A. and its original intent at anti-discrimination is the idea of “safe harbor”. It is so ambiguous and open-ended that it provides exactly the sort of escape clause which all those who would prefer NOT to comply would readily and happily adopt. Once we start relying on “safe harbors”, we are in effect emasculating all that precedes and follows. Other than that, I defer to Steve, with thanks, for his thoroughness and
ADA Information Now Available Online
U.S. Department of Justice
If you have questions about ADA-related matters, there is now an ADA Information Line available at the U.S. Department of Justice to provide assistance. Dial (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) for information regarding the ADA.
This service permits individuals, businesses, state and local governments and others to ask questions about general or specific ADA requirements, including the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, as well as free ADA materials or information about filing a complaint. ADA specialists are available Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (Eastern Time). On Thursday the hours are 12:30 – 5:30 pm. Service is available in English and Spanish.
Remember, you can also get ADA information from the Dept. of Justice website:
Another Valuable Federal Government Internet Site
The federal government has also opened a one-stop “home base” for disability information at www.disabilityinfo.gov. This site, a collaborative effort of 22 federal agencies, has links for information regarding employment, education, housing, transportation, health, benefits, technology, community life and civil rights.
Disability.gov connects people with disabilities (and their families, employers, friends, etc.) to the information and resources they need to actively participate in their communities.
An update of a previous story from our December 2007 newsletter . . .
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released a study of states’ participation in the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration program. MFP is a federal program that has authorized $1.75 billion to support state efforts to move people currently residing in institutions back into their communities and to rebalance their long-term care systems to emphasize home and community-based services rather than institutional placement. (See our article about states’ non-participation in MFP in the December 2007 newsletter.) This study chronicles the efforts of the 30 states and the District of Columbia that are participating in MFP. You can find out what your state is doing under MFP (or if it one of the 20 states that have spurned the program) by going to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/DeficitReductionAct/downloads/StateMFPGrantSummaries-All.pdf.
. . . As well as from the September 2005 newsletter.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a Status Report on Implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Dated November 2007, the report details the enforcement actions taken by DOT since first status report was published in January 2004. According to the report, DOT, through its Aviation Enforcement Office, entered consent decrees against 17 air carriers and “assessed carriers civil penalties totaling over $1.8 million for violations of the ACAA as part of its ongoing effort to ensure nondiscrimination in air travel based on disability. A large portion of these civil penalties continue to be offset by measures to improve the carriers’ services and to improve the quality of air travel for passengers with disabilities above what is required by DOT rules.” http://tradeinservices. mofcom.gov.cn/en/f/2008-04-21/30031.shtml
With respect to rulemaking by DOT, you may remember that on November 4, 2004, DOT published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise its ACAA regulation in 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 382 to make foreign air carriers operating to and from the United States subject to most of the disability-related requirements currently applicable to U.S. carriers. DOT issued further NPRMs on
September 7, 2005, (to provide greater accommodations for travelers with respiratory disabilities) and February 23, 2006, (to provide additional accommodations for air travelers who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind). The three now-consolidated rulemakings have been completed. The new regulations will be effective May 13, 2009.
We will provide a full update of the new regulations in our next newsletter. For an article showing why the ACAA is so important to disabled travelers, read the following story.