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.
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This is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But there are still threats to our rights. For example, another bill has been introduced that could weaken the ADA. This bill is the ACCESS Act (H.R. 4099). The ACCESS Act is similar to previous bills.
It would create barriers to ADA enforcement. It would set our rights back. The ACCESS Act does not increase access. In fact, it creates more barriers. If a disabled person wants to challenge specific barriers in court, they have to do many things. First, they must provide specific notification. They then have to wait up to 60 days for the business to write a plan. Then they must wait 60 days more for the business to fix the issue or make progress.
The ACCESS Act could also weaken website access requirements.
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:
JATA Board Member - Jim Cyphers, former employee, is a Board Member of Jackson Area Transit Authority. We also work with Key Opportunities in Hillsdale County and Lenawee Transportation regarding concerns in those counties.
Action Jackson - Attended by Brian Elliott, 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.
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 Continuam of Care for Homelessness in Jackson (Nick Swallow), 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.