One of the United States’ most significant pieces of civil rights legislation was signed into law thirty years ago this week, on July 26, 1990. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination by ensuring that people with disabilities have equal opportunity in employment, commerce, communications, and government programs. It is also a significant part of American building codes, requiring public spaces to provide accommodations such as wheelchair ramps, automatic doors, accessible restrooms, and designated parking spaces. Public transportation, including buses, trains, and airplanes, must also provide accommodations under ADA.
The purpose of the ADA is to make certain that people with disabilities enjoy the same rights and opportunities as others do. To learn more about the ADA and what it covers, see the “Introduction to the ADA” on ada.gov. The website also provides technical assistance materials, design standards, enforcement information, and a listing of legal cases and rulings involving the ADA.
Here in Colorado, we also have many state civil rights laws. Current and recent years’ legislation can be found on the General Assembly’s website. For historic laws, a digital archive is available from the University of Colorado Law Library. Colorado also has a Civil Rights Division; their website includes information on various types of discrimination (employment, housing, public accommodations, etc.), as well as an online platform for filing a civil rights complaint. Other helpful State of Colorado websites and publications include:
- The Colorado Department of Human Services’ People with Disabilities website
- The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation – employment services for people with disabilities
- License plate and placard information from the Colorado Department of Revenue
- Americans with Disabilities Act and the Colorado State Courts fact sheet and Americans with Disabilities Act webpage from the Colorado Judicial Branch
- Voters with Disabilities FAQ from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office
- Information for families of children with disabilities from the Colorado Department of Education
- Outdoor recreation accessibility information from Colorado Parks & Wildlife
- Community Inclusion in Colorado – data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- Colorado Department of Transportation’s ADA Transition Plan
- Home Modification Look Book: Examples of Common Home Modifications for People with Disabilities – tips for modifying existing private homes, which are not subject to ADA requirements
The State Publications Library collection includes numerous additional publications on civil rights, anti-discrimination, and accessibility for people with disabilities; search the library catalog for a list of publications. Finally, the National Conference of State Legislatures is offering a series of webinars, podcasts, and blog posts related to the 30th anniversary of ADA; information can be found on their website.