By Amy Scherer • July 14, 2008•Other Law School Issues
I apologize for starting this blog so late into the summer (how does time go by so fast?!), but I still wanted to share some of my thoughts with you. This summer, I have had the pleasure of doing an internship at the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, DC. NDRN is a national, non-profit organization that oversees and provides legally-based advocacy services to people with a wide variety of disabilities on topics ranging from healthcare to employment to education, among may others.
It has been an incredibly wonderful journey thus far, particularly since there has been several new developments surrounding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) over the last few weeks. Two specific events happened almost concurrently, but they are actually completely separate developments. First, the ADA Amendments of 2008 passed the House of Representatives. While these Amendments will not become law unless they pass the Senate as well, the idea behind them is to restore the intent and power of the original ADA of 1990, seemingly weakened by some key court decisions in the last few years. It was fantastic to be able attend the press conference announcing the Bill's passage in the House and even more exciting to witness the actual vote by our Congressional representatives!
At around the same time, the Deptartment of Justice released a new list of federal regulations that are meant to "update" the existing ADA. These regulations address the need for everything from accessible swimming pools to accessible witness stands in courtrooms -- and many things in between. The DOJ is currently seeking comments on the regulations and I have enjoyed the research process that is involved in composing a response to the proposed changes. Tomorrow, I will be attending a public hearing where the DOJ will collect further feedback from private citizens, businesses and various organizations regarding the regulations. It should be interesting and I will be sure to report back about how it goes!
Thanks for taking the time to read this.