WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2008—The Epilepsy Foundation applauds Senate and House leaders for passing the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 by unanimous consent. This marks a historic move toward securing the promise of the original Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Visit www.adabill.com for more information.
This is a major victory for people with epilepsy who have seen their protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act disappear over the last decade,” said Eric R. Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “We salute Congress for making great strides towards strengthening the American workforce.” Former congressman and Epilepsy Foundation immediate past board chair, Tony Coelho, a key author of the original ADA, added, "For those of us with epilepsy, this legislation is even more important than the original passage of the ADA. This bill was primarily focused on correcting our exclusion from the ADA. The Congress listened to us and we thank them!"
"This bill continues our ongoing effort to expand opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in the American Dream," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah). "Passage of the ADA Amendments Act ensures the Americans with Disabilities Act will continue to help change lives. I'm proud to have worked with my good friend Tom Harkin in crafting this monumental bill that enjoys such strong bipartisan support." This legislation clarifies for the courts that people with disabilities should not lose civil rights protections because their condition is treatable with medication or can be addressed with the help of assistive technology.
The bill also addresses the definition of disability making it clear that Congress intended the ADA’s coverage to be broad, to cover anyone who faces unfair discrimination because of a disability. In the past, Supreme Court rulings have eroded the ADA, leaving people with disabilities including epilepsy, diabetes, cancer and mental illness without the protections Congress envisioned when the ADA was originally enacted.
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