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this landmark piece of civil rights legislation which we originally drafted in 1987.
In the ADA, the National Council is directed to conduct a study on wilderness accessibility. Funds were not allocated, however the National Council began looking at this issue with a hearing last August, and we have undertaken a preliminary study in this area. The National Council appreciates the $200,000 this committee appropriated to us to undertake technical assistance activities related to the Americans With Disabilities Act.
As this committee knows, a law of the magnitude of this one requires a considerable and sustained technical assistance effort. As the originators of the law, we share with this committee a special commitment to ensuring that the long-overdue promises made by this law become reality in every corner of this country. Toward this end, we have initiated an activity we are calling the “ADA Watch.”
The idea of “ADA Watch” came from the human rights watches now functioning now all over the world. These watches monitor human rights on all continents, and they regularly provide information about the status of human rights to the public, frequently testifying before Congress. The Council particularly liked this idea, since there really is no one entity looking over the implementation of the entire law.
As you know, the law is being administered by four different Federal agencies and is in the jurisdiction of five congressional committees, four in the House and one in the Senate. The goal of the watch is to keep a public focus on issues and regularly provide accurate information about those issues. While the traditional human rights watches examine only violations, the "ADA Watch” will examine the entire spectrum of implementation of the law.
The “ADA Watch” will keep a spotlight focused on how ADA is being implemented, especially how it is empowering persons with disabilities. The “ADA Watch” will examine the various ways in which business and industry are implementing the law, with a special focus on the creative solutions which will be generated in various settings. The “ADA Watch” will provide a forum for persons with disabilities to tell their individual stories of the impact the law has had on their lives.
The “ADA Watch” will accomplish these goals by engaging in a series of activities, including site visits, hearings, and discussions with people around the country. The watch will issue reports to the Congress and the President describing our progress in implementation. One of the most significant aspects of a watch is that it is sustained over time. We are told that watches which are attempted in a quick-fix, one-shot fashion are doomed to failure. Sustaining this watch over time will be critical if it is to be effective. We will keep vigil, and we will report on how the country is progressing toward the goals of equal opportunity, full participation, independence, and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities.
PREPARED STATEMENT Finally, Mr. Chairman, I recall the final Senate debate on ADA when you left all of us greatly moved by your remarks in both speech and sign language. Yours and Senator Hatch’s references to relatives with disabilities and the effects of the ADA on their lives serve as testimony to your commitment to Americans with disabilities. We at the National Council appreciate the support of all the members of the subcommittee for their work.
With your continued support, the National Council will continue to pursue vigorously its goals of independence for all Americans with disabilities.
Thank you, and we will be happy to answer your questions. [The statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF SANDRA S. PARRINO
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the
I am Sandra Swift Parrino, Chairperson of the National Council on Disability. Accompanying me today are: John Gannon, Council
discuss the current and future activities of the National Council
and to solicit your continued support for our agency.
History was made on July 26, 1990, when President Bush signed into law the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA). I would like to thank the Members of this Subcommittee under the leadership of Senator Harkin for their hard work and dedication in support of the ADA. It is because of you, people with disabilities have now begun to live fuller lives lives filled with independence and dignity.
We are also aware that the implementation of this Act
will require tremendous amounts of time and energy.
before you today, I can tell you that the National Council on
Disability, with your support, will continue making public policy recommendations which will impact on the lives of people with persons with disabilities. The National Council is also charged with reviewing general policies and research priorities of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and for providing guidance to the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
As you are aware,
the National Council is an independent federal agency responsible for reviewing all laws, programs, and policies of the Federal Government and making such recommendations as it deems necessary to the President and the Congress. There are several federal agencies that have the responsibility for administering programs which
children and adults with disabilities. However, the National Council on Disability is the only federal agency mandated by Congress to address, analyze, and make recommendations on all issues of public policy which affect
The National Council continues to shape public policy for people with disabilities in education, technology, health, of
primary and secondary disabilities, education employment and
In Fiscal Year 1991, the National Council received
$1.475 million to conduct its operations and activities.
Fiscal Year 1992, the National Council is requesting $1.642 million
to fulfill our Congressional mandate.
I would like to thank the Members of the Subcommittee for
making these funds available to us, and ask for your continued
support and funding of special initiatives which are identified by
the National Council.
Now, I would like to highlight the accomplishments of the
National Council on Disability in FY 90, our current plans for FY
ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING FY 90
During FY 1990, the National Council successfully completed a number of important initiatives which positively affected the lives
of people with disabilities and their families.
o The National Council on Disability supported the passage and
enactment of the Americans with disabilities Act (P.L. 101
Mainland; Infants at Risk; Employment Tomorrow: Opportunities for People with Disabilities; Wilderness Accessibility; and
health-related services; and
assessment of special education and the impact of elementary and secondary education progrars and special services for children with disabilities. Held four Congressional mandated meetings of the National
o signed an Interagency Agreement with Indian Helath Service in
order to begin to look at the unique problems of Native
of 1990, which had been drafted by the National Council.
Prevention of Pr and Secondary Disabilities, which is being sponsored by the National Council, the Centers for
Disease Control and the Minority Health Professionals and scheduled for June of 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia. Pursuant to its ongoing statutory mandate to establish general
policy for, and review the operations of
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR),
the National Council had meetings with the Director of NIDRR to discuss the continued development of the NIDRR five-year
plan and areas of concern to the National Council.
of People with Disabilities, the National Council met regularly with the President's Committee to fulfill this
Congressional requirement. Participated in wide array of interagency committees enabling the National Council to keep abreast of activities in
the Federal Government, as well as keeping others informed of