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Iowa Recognizes Advancements with 24th Anniversary of ADA

PHOTO: This Saturday marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and supporters across Iowa are celebrating the progress made since it became law. Photo credit: Michael Hooper/Flickr
PHOTO: This Saturday marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and supporters across Iowa are celebrating the progress made since it became law. Photo credit: Michael Hooper/Flickr
July 25, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - The landmark civil rights law ensuring equal opportunity for people with disabilities celebrates its 24th anniversary this Saturday.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in areas including employment, public accommodations, transportation and government services. While there have been great gains, said Becky Harker, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, there's still a long way to go.

"And I think that one of the issues is that the ADA is complaint-driven," she said. "So, until somebody complains, there's really no enforcement. And I don't think that people with disabilities understand that, always."

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush.

Despite the advancements in the years since the ADA was implemented, Harker said, barriers remain in a number of areas, including transportation and employment, although she noted that inroads also are being made there.

"There are employers who do want to hire people with disabilities and just need some assistance sometimes, to understand the accommodations or the things that they can do, to make their place of employment welcoming to people with disabilities."

A roundtable on the ADA will be held this afternoon at Drake University in Des Moines and include Gov. Terry Branstad, along with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, one of the original sponsors of the legislation.

Information about the ADA is online at ada.gov. Details on the roundtable are at drake.edu.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA