disAbility Connections staff, board members and volunteers are involved in advocacy at local, state and federal levels to address barriers, provide input on necessary changes and to help collect information on needs in our community. Following are our current areas of focus.
Potential Changes to ADA and Knowing Your Rights
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race, gender, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Then, in 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibited discrimination based on disability. Civil rights are among the basic liberties which all people deserve. Equality among peers, with no stigmas, and ability to go or do where your heart takes you are a few basics of freedom any individual appreciates. The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) has the potential to take away from that very freedom, while simultaneously putting undo pressure on the people it is taking that freedom from.
Under H.R. 620 if a business is currently not accessible, they are no longer required to be nor have any incentive to become compliant with the ADA. If a person finds a business/service to be inaccessible, they must file a written notice specifying the exact ADA infraction(s) the establishment/provider are violating. Then, the owner has 60 days to merely acknowledge the notice and an additional 120 days (6 months total) to begin fixing the violation(s). If they are still not within ADA compliance nearly 28 years past the ADA enactment, only then can legal action be taken to rectify the situation. This will set a ground breaking precedent, walking back on people with disabilities civil right of equal access to public accommodations.
Another key aspect of consideration with H.R. 620 is the lack of potential employment for people with disabilities paired with missed revenue opportunity for businesses. Any place that is inaccessible for lack of entry, restrooms, or functionality reduces both their workplace potential and missed revenue opportunity that much more. In a time when online shopping is becoming more popular, it would make sense for any brick and mortar location to try capitalizing on every worker and dollar possible. Instead of instantly excluding them from their prospective talent pool and consumer market.
There are numerous issues worth fighting for. Taking civil rights AWAY from millions of fellow people should not be one of them. Before the time comes to vote on passing H.R. 620 in the Senate, please share this information and contact your Representatives to let your voice and stance be known on this issue.
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) would seriously weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act. It would make it easier for businesses to continue to ignore the ADA.
We believe that it is important for Congress to hear the voices of many who oppose this legislation. It is imperative that your Representative be told to oppose H.R. 620 ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. Click here to contact your lawmakers!
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) has passed the House of Representatives and is now going to the Senate. We encourage your support in getting our voices heard to our Senators.
LANSING, Mich. — A pair of bills introduced in the House by Rep. Beau LaFave (R-District 108) and Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R - District 91) can lead to some sign changes in Michigan. One bill (HR 4516) seeks to modify the current accessibility logo. Resulting in a more active imagery, rather than the stagnate version currently in use. (HR 4517) will require the removal of any wording such as "handicapped" on the signage. Along with the new 'active' logo.
Both of these bills have had large bi-partisan support and had their first readings on the floor. An important part of each bill, are the expected expenses that will occur. These bills are intended to be a gradual transition over time, when the life span of a current sign is reached, only then will the new signage come up. The bills are not meant to create added expenses and be in effect the moment they are passed.
The current version was adopted in 1968 and became known/used as the International Symbol of Accessibility. Since 1968, we have made continuous strides for greater accessibility and inclusion, especially with our adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. “We don’t have to use the stick figures anymore and we can make it look like a human being that is doing something,” LaFave said. “As it looks right now, it’s just like someone is just sitting there doing nothing.”*
Additional information can be found here: http://www.migologo.org/
disAbility Connections staff are currently focusing on the following areas:
JTA Advisory Council - Parrish Stahl, disAbility Connections staff, is a member of the JATA Advisory Council the l Transit Advisory Council (LTAC). If you have questions or concerns you would like brought forward you can contact him at 517-998-3089 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
JATA Board Member - Jim Cyphers, disAbility Connections staff, is a Board Member of Jackson Area Transit Authority. He may be reached at 517-998-3083 or email email@example.com . We also work with Key Opportunities in Hillsdale County and Lenawee Transportation regarding concerns in those counties.
Walkable Communities Task Force - Attended by Parrish Stahl, disAbility Connections staff. This group is concerned with all people being able to move around the city with ease using public transportation, bikes, wheelchairs, and mobility devices; also focuses on sidewalks with ADA accessible curb ramps and cutaways, proper signage, bicycle lanes as well as trails, walkways and other methods of connecting people throughout the city.
City of Jackson Human Relations Commission- Parrish Stahl, disAbility Connections staff, is a member of this City Commission representing people with disabilities and their concerns.
Continuam of Care - Finding safe, accessible and affordable housing is a challenge to locate in all our communities. disAbility Connections staff are members of the Continua of Care for Homelessness in Jackson (Parrish Stahl and Lesia Pikaart), Hillsdale (Carmon Yeloushan) and Lenawee (Brian Elliott) to provide input on housing needs of people with disabilities in our communities. These groups work to gather information on community needs, develop local plans and apply for funds to address local needs through HUD, MSHDA and other funding streams.