Newsletter: June 22, 2009

Northeast ADA June 22, 2009 News Bulletin

What''s New in Our Region:

New York State (NYS) Office Looking for Public Input on Comprehensive Plan:
The NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities is looking for input for its 2009-2013 Comprehensive Plan.  Access the online survey at:

New Jersey Moves Closer to Requiring Insurance Coverage for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Treatments:
Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. today praised the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for releasing legislation he''s sponsoring to make New Jersey the 11th state to require health insurers to cover treatments for autism and other developmental disabilities.  A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study based on 14 states found one in every 150 children are diagnosed with autism, with New Jersey showing the highest rate at one in 94. To read more, go to:

What''s New in the Rest of the Country:

EEOC Votes to Revise Rules to Conform to ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA):
On June 17th, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted 2-1 to revise its regulations to conform to changes made by the ADAAA of 2008. The ADAAA also states that Congress expects, and authorizes, the EEOC to revise its regulations to conform to changes made by the Act. The rules changes approved represent an initial stage in the regulatory process and must next go to the Office of Management and Budget for review. "In approving these proposed regulations, the EEOC today is taking a significant step toward returning the ADA to the broad and strong civil rights statute that Congress originally intended it to be," said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. Acting EEOC Vice Chair Christine M. Griffin said, "Today''s vote is historic. These regulations will serve to shift the focus of the courts from further narrowing the definition of disability...Courts should now focus on whether discrimination based on disability is occurring in the workplace".  Read more at:

Housing Discrimination Complaints Hit a Record:
There were 10,552 formal complaints of housing discrimination during fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30, 2008. That is a record according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which recently published the numbers as part of an annual report to Congress.  People with disabilities filed the largest number of complaints, 44 percent. People complaining of racial discrimination filed the second-largest share, 35 percent.  To access the annual report, go to:

Latest Data on the Employment Status of People with Disabilities: 
The Department of Labor''s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has released the May 2009 statistics on the employment situation for people with disabilities. These reflect that the unemployment rate of persons with a disability was 13.7 percent, compared with 8.9 percent for persons with no disability, not seasonally adjusted.  The percent of people with disabilities in the labor force was 22.9 compared with 71.1 for persons with no disability. To access the report, go to:

U.S. Census Releases Facts for Features Highlighting Disabilities: 
July 26th marks the 19th anniversary of the ADA. This fact sheet, which includes data from U.S. Census Americans with Disabilities 2005 Report and the 2007 American Community Survey, highlights statistics regarding people with disabilities related to employment, poverty, income, specific disabilities, and veteran status. For more information, go to:

Celebrate the 19th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the 2009 ADA Anniversary Tool Kit! 
The National DBTAC Network is pleased to announce the release of the 2009 ADA Tool Kit. This Tool Kit captures our collective achievements toward voluntary ADA compliance and offers informative materials designed to help you plan and publicize your ADA activities during the ADA Anniversary and throughout the year. The Tool Kit includes: Overviews of the ADA and ADAAA; Findings, Purpose, and History of ADA; ADA from a Civil Rights Perspective; Resources and Publications; Olmstead Resources; ADAAA Summary and Resources; Statistics You Can Use; The White House Agenda on Disabilities and more!  The Tool Kit can be downloaded at

New Disability Law Lowdown Podcasts in American Sign Language: 
On June 17th the National Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) Network announced new episodes on the Disability Law Lowdown website. The first video podcast series in American Sign Language expands traditional audio-only podcasts to include video that allows subscribers too see native Deaf speakers signing the show''s content. The podcasts deliver the latest in disability law information via American Sign Language, captioning, voice-over, and transcripts to maximize accessibility. Topics currently available include: Tax Incentives, Voting Rights, Ticket to Work, Housing, Your Rights with Law Enforcement, Workplace Accommodations, Your Legal Rights as a College Student, Legal Obligations of the Hospitality Industry, Requesting an Interpreter, and an Overview of the ADA.  To subscribe, look for the ASL Disability Law Lowdown podcast on iTunes, or visit, where transcripts are also available.  Free subscriptions to the ASL podcasts are available to have shows automatically delivered to MP3 players. For the fastest viewing, go to:


Opportunities for You!

You Can Still Sign Up for our FREE Workshops in NY and NJ!  
We still have spaces left in the free one-day DBTAC Northeast workshops being offered July 9th at the Turning Stone Conference Center in Verona, NY. and August 13th at the Trenton Marriott at Lafayette Yard in Trenton, NJ.  Program participants will review updates to the ADA and state disability laws, discuss current hot topics, and understand new visions for disability inclusiveness as competitive advantage.  Workshop topics include hiring trends; the economic downturn; service animals; transition issues for students; psychiatric disabilities; women and employment; state and federal disability law; housing issues; and others! Sessions will be held 8:30am-4:30pm.  To register, or for more information, call 1.800.949.4232 or email us at

Show What YOU Can Do and Win $1,500 in Online Video Contest: 
The Campaign for Disability Employment, a collaborative effort between leading disability and business groups to promote hiring, retention, and advancement of people with disabilities, has launched an online video contest to promote the talent and skills that people with disabilities bring to the country''s workforce and economy. The Campaign is looking for short creative, fun, and compelling public service videos that reflect one or more of the themes outlined on their Web site,  The top videos will be included and featured in the campaign''s late summer launch and the winner will receive $1,500 and the opportunity to meet with disability, business, and government leaders in Washington, D.C. The contest deadline is July 15th. For more information, go to:

Registered Apprenticeships Grants for Young Adults with Disabilities:
The U.S. Department of Labor''s Office of Disability Employment Policy and Employment and Training Administration''s Office of Apprenticeship announce the availability of approximately $400,000 to fund two Registered Apprenticeships for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities cooperative agreements. Under this initiative, the grantees will conduct two pilot projects to develop models to improve systems capacity to provide inclusive Registered Apprenticeship training and pre-apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with disabilities ages 16 to 27. There will be a Prospective Applicant Webinar held for this competition. Applications are due July 15th. For more details, go to:


Special Spotlight on Justice Nominee Sotomayor Continues:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is well on her way to becoming both the first Hispanic to sit on the high court, and the first Justice with Type 1 diabetes. Her confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin July 13th.  Overall, the Disability Community is pleased with President Obama''s choice for Justice as her past rulings have shown an understanding of disability and the rights of people with disabilities. There has also been some debate surrounding the choice to nominate someone with a chronic medical condition such as diabetes even though, according to doctors, when treated correctly, Type 1 diabetes patients are able to lead relatively healthy lives. Recent data suggest that patients can successfully manage the disease for 40-50 years with no serious health complications. 

In our last News Bulletin we provided links to multiple articles on Judge Sotomayor, reactions to her nomination, and the debate over her diabetes. Below are links to articles about her upcoming confirmation hearing, an updated report her ruling history, and an opinion piece regarding her medical condition:

Sotomayor Hearings Set to Begin July 13th:

From the New York Times (June 9th):

From the Washington Post (June 9th) via Justice for All blog:

From Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law- A Review & Analysis of Judge Sotomayor''s Opinions in Disability Cases (June 17th):

From the Baltimore Sun- "A Judgment Against Health-Related Bias" (June 17th):,0,4315344.story


See you in a few weeks!!!