An Iowa advocate for disabled people is in Washington D.C. to testify before a Congressional panel this afternoon. Peter Blanck, a law professor at the University of Iowa, has been called to appear before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Governmental Reform to discuss the lives of disabled people in America. He says the primary challenge to disabled people is still attitude. “You can put in all the ramps and gadgets you want, but if people are not open to the idea that people with disabilities should be included into society as anybody else, then people will still face challenges.” Professor Blanck says applauds the 1990 passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, known as the A-D-A, authored by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. He says “our world is much more accessible than it was 14 years ago” before the A-D-A was passed, but he hopes that, like with other civil rights laws, the A-D-A will continue to evolve in positive ways over time. Blanck says some advocates for the disabled are pushing for what they call the Disabilities Restoration Act, which would build on the foundation laid by the landmark A-D-A. Blanck says “While that may be important, greater awareness and inclusion into society of persons with disabilities is also encouraged by more commonsense programs from Social Security, the Department of Labor and other federal and state agencies to make sure people with disabilities can be taxpayers and included in society.” Blanck is a board member on the National Organization on Disability and is director of the U-of-I’s Disability Center. He’s lead author of “Disability Civil Rights Law and Policy,” a report that covers the history, development and details of the A-D-A and other disability law and legislation.
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