Late-breaking news: President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA-AA) into law today. The American Diabetes Association and a whole host of other patient and advocacy organizations are dancing in the streets! Or at least, shooting out celebratory press releases.
The Disabilities Act protects the civil rights of people who are treated unfairly because of their disability or medical condition. But, as reported in some detail here at DiabetesMine earlier, the law had been all twisted out of whack over the last decades. A series of Supreme Court decisions severely narrowed who is covered, which in particular exempted many people with diabetes.
Interpretation of this law had become so warped that "people were too disabled for the job and not disabled enough for protection," according to a spokeswoman from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).
The new amendment — now law — will remedy this by:
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• Prohibiting the consideration of measures that reduce or mitigate the impact of impairment—such as medication, prosthetics and assistive technology—in determining whether an individual has a disability.
• Covering workers whose employers discriminate against them based on a perception that the worker is impaired, regardless of whether the worker has a disability.
• Clarifying that the Americans with Disabilities Act provides broad coverage to protect anyone who faces discrimination on the basis of a disability.
Bush Junior was joined by his father for the signing ceremony. Very fitting, since the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act was one of the major domestic policy achievements of the elder Bush.
The Associated Press reports, however, that "Bush (Junior) signed the bill without public comment or fanfare." Whatever. This will still likely stand as one of the few good moves that history will recall in association with this particular Administration.