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Lynda H Appell

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My Take on Pres. George Bush's Freedom Initiative for People with Disabilities
by Lynda H Appell   

Last edited: Saturday, September 15, 2001
Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2001

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My thoughts on Pres. Bush's Freedom Initiative

My Take on US. Pres. Bush's Freedom Iniative
by mugwort, 29th August 2001.

Disabilities disable people Pres. George Bush Americans with Disabilties Act Freedom Iniative

Below is the exact complete text of George W. Bush Jr's Freedom Iniative.
It is an act that mainly not only encourages but also facilitates the ease of people with disabilities to be as independent as possible.

I wholeheartedly applaud it. While many of the US President's policies, especially, environment, energy issues I steadfastly disagree with the Freedom Iniative I believe is a positive step for disabled people. I assume the chief executive means both physical and mental.

I'm not terribly surprized Bush proposed the act. After all his father signed the original "Americans with DisABILITIES Act about 10 years ago.

Also pleased that the highest ranking Republican has made this move. It shows that it is not only Democrats who can be compassionate. This does not imply that all of those in the GOP feel the same way. This writer hopes that others in the President's party can and will be persuaded to join in and further strengthen the Initiative by supporting it. }

It is also my opinion that this is a truly non-partisan issue and that the Democrats will follow suit. Wonder what a certain Democratic Minnosota Senator thinks of this bill.

The bill itself looks to me like it was inspired by Olmstead decision.
Very briefly Olmstead states that a person with a disability of any kind should be in as independent an environment as the person can handle.

Couple last notes with the weakening of the ADA with Garrett vs AL with the issue of State's rights vs the ADA I certainly hope that this will offset that. Garrett vs AL a woman with breast cancer who was a professor at the U. of AL sued the University under the ADA. Unfortunately the US Supreme Court sided with the institution of Higher Learning, citing states rights for its decision.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to place qualified individuals with disabilities in community settings whenever appropriate, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. This order is issued consistent with the following findings and principles:

(a) The United States is committed to community-based alternatives for individuals with disabilities and recognizes that such services advance the best interests of Americans.

(b) The United States seeks to ensure that America's community-based programs effectively foster independence and participation in the community for Americans with disabilities.

(c) Unjustified isolation or segregation of qualified individuals with disabilities through institutionalization is a form of disability-based discrimination prohibited by Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et. seq. States must avoid disability-based discrimination unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity provided by the State.

(d) In Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) (the "Olmstead decision"), the Supreme Court construe d Title II of the ADA to require States to place qualified individuals with mental disabilities in community settings, rather than in institutions, whenever treatment professionals determine that such placement is appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such placement, and the State can reasonably accommodate the placement, taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with disabilities.

(e) The Federal Government must 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.

Sec. 2. Swift Implementation of the Olmstead Decision: Agency Responsibilities. (a) The Attorney General, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration shall work cooperatively to ensure that the Olmstead decision is implemented in a timely manner. Specifically, the designated agencies should work with States to help them assess their compliance with the Olmstead decision and the ADA in providing services to qualified individuals with disabilities in community-based settings, as long as such services are appropriate to the needs of those individuals. These agencies should provide technical guidance and work cooperatively with States to achieve the goals of Title II of the ADA, particularly where States have chosen to develop comprehensive, effectively working plans to provide services to qualified individuals with disabilities in the most integrated settings. These agencies should also ensure that existing Federal resources are used in the most effective manner to support the goals of the ADA. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall take the lead in coordinating these efforts.

(b) The Attorney General, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration shall evaluate the policies, programs, statutes, and regulations of their respective agencies to determine whether any should be revised or modified to improve the availability of community-based services for qualified individuals with disabilities. The review shall focus on identifying affected populations, improving the flow of information about supports in the community, and removing barriers that impede opportunities for community placement. The review should ensure the involvement of consumers, advocacy organizations, providers, and relevant agency representatives. Each agency head should report to the President, through the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with the results of their evaluation within 120 days.

(c) The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall fully enforce Title II of the ADA, including investigating and resolving complaints filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they have been the victims of unjustified institutionalization. Whenever possible, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services should work cooperatively with States to resolve these complaints, and should use alternative dispute resolution to bring these complaints to a quick and constructive resolution.

(d) The agency actions directed by this order shall be done consistent with this Administration's budget.

Sec. 3. Judicial Review. Nothing in this order shall affect any otherwise available judicial review of agency action. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Federal Government and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.


June 18, 2001.

Web Site: My Take on Pres. Bush's Freedom Iniative

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