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DOJ Promises “Renewed” Focus on Disabilities

July 25 2010 | by

Eric Holder

The Department of Justice celebrated the American with Disabilities Act’s 20th Anniversary, with Attorney General Eric Holder speaking about the ADA. Holder says that over the past two decades, the law has “helped create revolutionary improvements in the lives of Americans with disabilities … [and] helped improve our society’s understanding of what Americans with disabilities could accomplish when given the chance to participate on equal terms.”

Holder says the Department of Justice has placed a renewed focus on enforcing the ADA, including settling discrimination lawsuits against people with disabilities and advocating for more in-home health care. More importantly, the Justice Department says it will soon publish four notices regarding accessibility requirements for websites, movie theaters, equipment and furniture, and 911 call-taking technologies.

That means that movies may be required to display, at least at certain times, closed-captions for the deaf and audio descriptions for the blind. Currently, movie theaters in the U.S. skirt the law by saying they only are required to provide access to their physical structures. At the same time, Congress is working on bills that would require captioning on new and digital technologies.

Within the department, Holder also plans to hire a Special Assistant for Disability Resources.

For the rest of the month I’ll be devoting some of my blog to announcing nationwide events that are taking place to celebrate the American with Disabilities Act’s 20th anniversary.

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