The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Mach 23, 2005

National Disability Council To Take ADA Testimony In Iowa City

Iowans with disabilities are invited to comment on the impact the Americans with Disabilities Act has had on their lives during an Iowa City forum that's part of a year-long study by the National Council on Disability. The forum will be Friday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

The forum is also sponsored by the Iowa Law, Health Policy and Disability Center  at the University of Iowa College of Law. The study team is being advised by a panel of disability law experts chaired by Peter Blanck, UI law professor and director of the Law, Health Policy and Disability Center.

As a part of its study, the National Council on Disability (NCD) is sponsoring public forums around the country to gather testimony from people with disabilities, their families and their advocates on the impact that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) has had on their lives. NCD is an independent federal agency making recommendations to the President and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities and their families.

Fifteen years ago, the ADA was hailed as a major civil rights law guaranteeing equal opportunity for Americans with disabilities to participate more fully in their communities, to have greater access to goods and services and to enjoy more employment opportunities. To what extent the ADA has achieved its goals of equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities remains an open question, one the public forums will address.

Other forum locations include Los Angeles, Savannah, Georgia and Washington, D.C. After opening remarks, public testimony will be taken on the following topics:

-- 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Telecommunications: Has the ADA had an impact on the ability of people who have hearing and/or speech impairments to communicate by telephone?

-- 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Employment: Has the ADA improved employment opportunities and job retention for people with disabilities?

-- 1:30 to 3 p.m. Public Services: Are goods and services provided by local and state agencies more accessible to people with disabilities because of the ADA?

-- 3 to 4:30 p.m. Public Accommodations Operated by Private Entities: Are goods and services provided by businesses more accessible to people with disabilities because of the ADA?

-- 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. General comments about the ADA

Public forum participants may provide written as well as spoken testimony. Reasonable accommodations will be provided on request to ensure full participation by all individuals seeking to testify on the impact of the ADA on their lives.

In addition to holding public forums, the ADA Study Team is conducting focus groups and interviews with individuals with disabilities, employers, service providers, business and trade association representatives and other stakeholders who have been directly affected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rounding out the research activities, the ADA study team is also conducting an environmental scan to collect data on such ADA impact statistics as number of curb cuts, number of telephone relay calls, number of reasonable accommodations provided by employers and other indicators to determine whether the law has brought about significant change in the last 15 years.

The National Council on Disability will present the study's findings and recommendations to the President and Congress on July 26, the 15th anniversary of the ADA's signing into law.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: James Schmeling, Law, Health Policy and Disability Center, 319-335-8458, james-schmeling@uiowa.edu; Chris O'Hanlon, Evert Conner Center, 319-338-3870, redohanlon@yahoo.com.