Americans With Disabilities Act: Celebrating 30 Years

10/16/2020

americans with disabilities act

Overview

President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. The most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted for people with disabilities, it banned discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, places of public accommodation, public services, transportation and telecommunications. The ADA ushered in a new era of opportunity for people with disabilities by formalizing equity and inclusiveness as federal standards.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of this landmark legislation, NCSL and the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED) partners are creating a clearinghouse of resources celebrating the lasting impact and legacy of the ADA on states. This page will be updated as new resources become available.

NCSL Blog Posts

Resources, Reports and Publications

ADA30 Virtual Meeting Series

NCSL is dedicated to educating state policymakers about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 30th anniversary being celebrated in 2020. 

Hear from Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Ted Kennedy Jr., Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and many other special guests.

Photo of U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene ScaliaPhoto of Ted Kennedy Jr.Photo of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao

Virtual Meeting Series Schedule

Monday, July 20, 2020 at 1 p.m. ET

The Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 30: Progress and Potential

The ADA is a landmark law that has touched the lives of every American since it was signed into law in 1990. Learn about the bill’s history, the impact the ADA has had on the nation and what the next 30 years hold for Americans with disabilities.

Speakers

  • Secretary Eugene Scalia, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Senator Dan McConchie, Illinois State Senate
  • Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D), Virginia General Assembly
  • Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. (D), Connecticut State Senate

VIEW VIRTUAL MEETING

Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET

ADA30: The Past, Present and Future of the Workplace 

This sweeping legislation has transformed the workplace, giving birth to many accessible technologies and inclusive hiring practices. Explore how states have embraced the ADA, become model employers for people with disabilities, and what the next 30 years of employment for people with disabilities look like. 

Speakers

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy, U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib (D), Washington State
  • Representative Garnet Coleman (D), Texas State House
  • Emily Dickens, Society for Human Resource Management 
  • Aaron Bangor, AT&T

VIEW VIRTUAL MEETING

Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act at 45:  A Review and Look Forward 

When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed in 1990, it added to the strides made to improve access, opportunities and conditions for students with disabilities by focusing more on individualized education. Hear from experts on how the global pandemic has affected education for this population, challenges that remain, and whether flexibilities within IDEA could be considered as schools change the way they operate. 

Speakers

  • Austin Reid, NCSL
  • John Eisenberg, National Association of State Directors of Special Education
  • Lindsay Jones, National Center for Learning Disabilities

VIEW VIRTUAL MEETING

VIEW MEETING AS PDF

Thursday, July 23, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET

ADA and Transportation Accessibility  

Transportation is one of the linchpins of the ADA, but 30 years later, many Americans with disabilities continue to struggle with finding accessible and reliable transportation options. Learn about current state and federal efforts to increase accessibility, as well as how policymakers are working to ensure autonomous vehicles are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. 

Speakers

  • Secretary Elaine Chao, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Senator Becky Massey (R), Tennessee State Senate
  • Sara Davidson, Intelligent Transportation Society of America
  • Carol Tyson, Disability Rights and Education Fund
  • Dustin Jones, United for Equal Access NY

VIEW VIRTUAL MEETING

VIEW MEETING AS PDF

Friday, July 24, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET

The ADA’s Impact on Accessible Legislatures 

As we mark the 30th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, discover how some legislatures have made their buildings more accessible. Capitol renovations are an opportunity to incorporate ADA accommodations and make the buildings welcoming to all citizens. You will hear how accommodations were an integral part of renovation projects in multiple states. Learn what was needed, what was included and lessons learned about managing ADA needs - even after a renovation.  

Speakers

  • Wendy Madsen, Wyoming Legislative Service Office 
  • David Hart, MOCA
  • Paul Brown, MOCA
  • Kevin Koch, Texas Capitol Architect   

VIEW VIRTUAL

Our American States Podcast: The ADA at 30

Former Iowa Senator Tom HarkinFormer Iowa Senator Tom Harkin joins NCSL's podcast series Our American States to tell the story of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As the bill's prime sponsor in 1990, Senator Harkin shares the history of the ADA and how he came to play such a pivotal role. We also talked about his brother Frank, who helped inspire his work on the ADA; the political effort it took to pass the legislation; and the still unfinished business of ensuring that people with disabilities have the chance for a full life in American society.

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