June 26, 2001 --
Two weeks ago, this e-letter reported progress of activists toward getting states to implement the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision, which affirmed the right of individuals with disabilities to live in their communities, and upholding the "integration mandate" of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (For more on the Olmstead decision, go to http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/ada/olmsteadoverview.htm)
Last week Pres. George W. Bush, making good on a promise he'd given activists camped outside the White House in May, signed an Executive Order ensuring that the federal government would "assist States and localities to implement swiftly the Olmstead decision, so as to help ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to live close to their families and friends, to live more independently, to engage in productive employment, and to participate in community life."
Only a few news outlets -- The Milwaukee Journal and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were the only ones we could find -- picked up the short Associated Press story that had mentioned the Executive Order. The story received little attention in part due to the news of the new rules on website accessibility (see last week's E-letter) which were made part of the same story; Pres. Bush had made them part of the same remarks in which he announced the Executive Order
Still, advocates are putting the order to good use: Yesterday's Deseret News reported that disability advocates with the the Committee on Legislative Implementation of Olmstead were using the presidential Order to urge Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt to issue his own executive order "for the swift implementation of a comprehensive, effective working Olmstead Plan for the state of Utah" (read Leah L. Culler's story at http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,290006705,00.html).
For more on the Executive Order, visit our website at http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/programs-policy/olmsteadexecorder061901.htm
For the text of the order, visit http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/programs-policy/olmsteadexecordertext.htm
For more on the activists' demonstrations that brought about the Executive Order, visit http://www.mcil.org/mcil/adapt/adapt501/report04a.htm