On September 25, 2008 President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, restoring the Act’s protections to America’s 54 million adults and children with disabilities. Jo Anne supported this bill and deeply honored to have played a small role in its passage.
In her testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in support of the Amendments. Jo Anne’s testimony focused on education and “high-stakes” standardized testing. She testified that the ADA has been so narrowly applied as to ensure that almost no one was protected, leading to anomalous results.
In amending the Act, Congress rejected several U.S. Supreme Court decisions that had narrowed the law’s applicability and created unrealistically high barriers to coverage. As Jo Anne stated in her testimony, “the ADAAA will do no more than protect those Congress originally intended to protect.” Bartlett v. NYS Board of Law Examiners was specifically cited as illustrative of Congressional intent. No longer will individuals with impairments “be penalized when seeking protection under the ADA simply because he or she managed their own adaptive strategies or received informal or undocumented accommodations that have the effect of lessening the deleterious impacts of their disability.” See Page H8291. ada-amendments-act