PNS Daily Newscast - June 27, 2019 

More time on the ground for the Boeing 737 MAX. Also, on our Thursday rundown: a diverse group to tackle salmon recovery. Plus, summer bees are buzzing, but for how long?

Daily Newscasts

ADA Turns 20: How Far Has The Bay State Come?

July 26, 2010

BOSTON - The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates birthday number 20 today. The sweeping civil rights law prohibits discrimination in employment and requires access to goods and services for people with disabilities of all kinds. Thanks to this federal legislation, many strides have been made over the past two decades.

However, according to attorney Thomas Murphy with the Disability Law Center, Boston, a statewide protection and advocacy agency, the Bay State still has a long way to go - especially regarding employment issues.

"People with disabilities certainly have more opportunities now than they did before, but their unemployment rate generally is about twice as high as it is for people without disabilities."

Murphy says this is especially true for people with learning disabilities or mental health issues. He blames lingering stigma and bias, or a general misunderstanding that people with these issues will not perform. He says continuing education and awareness will go a long way in erasing these old attitudes.

In terms of public buildings being ADA-compliant, in Massachusetts it is still a mixed bag, Murphy adds. A large majority of structures are quite old and are not required to meet ADA standards, he says, while new construction or renovations must be ADA-accessible. For many building owners, providing accessibility boils down to cost, he says - especially for smaller businesses - but help is available.

"Grants and tax breaks are available. I would recommend that smaller businesses do some research and look into ways to defray the costs."

Murphy points out that as the population ages and more people with disabilities are more mobile than ever before, businesses should perceive that becoming ADA-compliant is an investment that will see many returns.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA