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North Dakota Protection & Advocacy Project

News: October, 2008

American with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008

On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, officially rejecting Supreme Court decisions that reduced protections for certain people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Disability rights, civil rights, and employer groups worked together to propose language that eventually became part of the Act, which made it easier for both chambers of Congress to vote favorably on the Act. The House passed its version of the bill overwhelmingly (402-17) on June 25. On September 11, the U.S. Senate passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (Act) on a voice vote.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against Americans with physical and mental disabilities in such areas as employment, public accommodations, and transportation. The ADA is widely regarded as one of the major features of civil rights legislation in the 20th century because it ensures that the disabled have access to public buildings and accommodations, thus giving them better access to the workforce. The Act retains the ADA's basic definition of "disability" as an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. However, it changes the way that these statutory terms should be interpreted in several ways. Most significantly, the Act:

The ADA Amendments Act is effective as of January 1, 2009.

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