With speed that was not expected to occur, the Senate this afternoon passed by unanimous consent S. 3406, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. It is expected, but you can never guarantee anything, that the House will take up and pass the Senate bill clearing it for the President to sign. The House has recessed for the week so members that have constituents that will be effected by Hurricane Ike can get home. So the earliest it will be considered by the House will be next week.
S. 3406 specifically overturns Supreme Court decisions that have caused too many people with disabilities whom Congress intended the ADA to cover to lose important protection. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 makes it clear that Congress intended the ADA’s coverage to be broad, to cover anyone who faces unfair discrimination because of a disability. The legislation also clarifies the current requirement that an impairment must substantially limit a major life activity in order to be considered a disability. S. 3406 prohibits consideration of mitigating measures in the determination of whether an individual has a disability, with the exception of ordinary eyeglasses and contact lenses. Finally, the bill affords broad coverage for individuals regarded as having a disability under the ADA, but includes a provision to make it clear that accommodations need not be made to someone who is disabled solely because he or she is regarded as having a disability.
Thank you all for the calls, e-mails, letters, and faxes to get your elected members supportive of this important legislation!
Senior Public Policy Analyst
National Disability Rights Network
900 Second Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-408-9514 ext. 121 (p)