Friends, neighbors –  

Congratulations! On July 26, we celebrated together the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a huge milestone in the civil rights journey toward full equity and inclusion for our family, friends, and neighbors with disabilities. Because of it, the disability community has seen improvements in accessibility of the built environment, increased access to health care, and an expansion of political participation over the past 30 years. Though this work to build a more inclusive society began far earlier than July 26, 1990, and is an ongoing movement that continues to demand needed change, it’s so important that we celebrate how far we’ve come together – led by self-advocates and allies. 

A brief overview of the ADA 

The passage of the ADA prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability – in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunication. It gave people with disabilities and their families the legal mechanism to challenge the exclusion, segregation, and institutionalization that had kept them out of their communities for so long. The work to expand disability rights continues, but we have come a long way: toward celebrating and empowering people with disabilities, toward equitable transportation and housing, toward a stronger and more comprehensive health care infrastructure that gives people with disabilities control over their own health care decisions. 

2.25.20 - ADA celebration

Working alongside the disability community 

In partnership with self-advocates, their families, and allies, I sponsored and passed a bill relating to health care for working individuals with disabilities during the 2019 legislative session. We fought hard for this because people with disabilities had to navigate a complicated system in order to stay eligible for Medicaid while still working. Working people shouldn’t have to say no to working more hours – or accepting a promotion – in order to afford healthcareEspecially in light of COVID-19, it’s so clear how important it is that as many people as possible are covered and can get the healthcare they need when they need it. I am proud that we passed this bill to improve people’s health, keep folks covered, and alleviate the numerous restrictions placed on people with disabilities so that they can work without jeopardizing their health care.  

Last session, we also formally recognized the groundbreaking accomplishments of the disability community with my resolution to honor the 30th anniversary of the ADA. We had such a joyful day celebrating this landmark legislation with disabled Washingtonians and their friends and family from all over the state. You can watch the resolution here, read the resolution here, and see my Facebook post about our day of celebrating the ADA on the Senate floor here. 

ADA celebration 2.25.20 guests

The work continues 

ICYMI, I had a fantastic conversation with disability community advocates over Facebook Live a few weeks ago. We discussed the challenges facing students with special needs (and their teachers and families) in the midst of remote learning, which continues to be a crucial conversation as more and more Washington schools decide to proceed with 100% online learning in the fall. You can watch that conversation here 

On the subject of Facebook Live chats, don’t forget to tune in TODAY at 1:00 pm (in an hour!) for a live conversation with our very own mayor of Bremerton, our Bremerton fire chief, and our superintendent of Bremerton School District. We’ll be discussing all things local – challenges, opportunities, and ways to help. And if you don’t have access to Facebook, just reply to this email so we can get you the call-in info. Talk to you soon! 

Click here!

 All my best,