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Legislation & Court Decisions
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Person-centered and community-based services have not always come easy to people with disabilities. Advocates, and self-advocates have needed to assert the rights of people with disabilities using existing law and the courts, and have lobbied at the state and federal level to change laws that presented barriers. This department celebrates the victories of these advocates by featuring information about those court decisions and changes to the law that have truly forwarded person-centered thinking, and person-centered supports.

NOTE: The final ("other")section of this department is arranged as a timeline of important legislation and court decisions that directly impacted the lives and the "person-centeredness" of supports available to people with disabilities.

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Managed by: John G. Smith (smith144@umn.edu) of Research and Training Center on Community Living

Product Categories
Books, Publications & Reports (printed and/or online) (4 Products)
Electronic Media (7 Products)
Other (24 Products)

Books, Publications & Reports (printed and/or online)
Lessons Learned from a Lawsuit: Creating Service for People with Mental Illness and Mental Retardation
This book summarizes a longitudinal study to measure the impact of the Thomas S. Lawsuit (NC) on the class members.
No Pity; People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement
This is a history of the disability rights movement. There is no pity or tragedy in disability--it is society's myths, fears, and stereotypes that make being disabled difficult.
The ABC-CLIO Companion to the Disability Rights Movement
This book provides a general introduction to the many influences on the Disability Rights Movement.
The Human Rights of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: Different but Equal
This book reviews the history of the human rights of people with disabilities. It also talks about present times and suggests some future directions.
Electronic Media (Videos, CDs, T.V., Radio, Websites, etc.)
A History of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act
This web page explains the history of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). It shows the records of many important meetings and hearings, and the manuals, reports and reviews from different times in history.
Federal Disability Hate Crimes Protection Law
An article about new protections from hate crimes toward people with disabilities.
Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities
This webpage summarizes laws and treaties from around the world that protect the rights of people with disabilities.
Olmstead section of ADA.gov
A website that provides information about the Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling and enforcement. It says states need to provide services that allow people with disabilities to be fully included in community.
The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse (Olmstead Cases Special Collection)
This special collection of the clearinghouse provides detailed information about important cases related to the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead v. L.C. ruling.
The Power of 504
This video tells the story about how Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act become implemented. The fight included a 26-day sit-in for disability civil rights. You can watch it online or purchase a copy.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Webinar
This 90 minute webinar describes the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. It also contains information on state deadlines regarding this Act, and explains why workforce issues are important in the disability community. You can watch it on Youtube.
1963 - Child and Maternal Health Act (Public Law 88-156)
This was the first federal Act on Child and Maternal Health. It focused on finding a cure for mental retardation. Many of its ideas came from the President's Panel on Mental Retardation. John F. Kennedy formed this group soon after he was elected.
1963 - Mental Retardation Facilities and Construction Act (Public Law 88-164)
The first federal law directed to help people with developmental disabilites. Its focus was on finding a "cure" for "mental retardation" and it created university centers to work on this.
1965- Title XIX - Social Security Act (Medicaid - Public Law 89-97)
The first program that gave states money to help fund services for people with disabilities. Changes in Medicaid policies have continually changed the way services are delivered.
1969 - California's Lanterman Act
This law established that Californians with disabilities had a right to services in the community. It created the network of Regional Centers that are still active today.
1972 - PARC v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
In this court case, parents asked that their children with disabilities receive the same education as do all children. This classic case is a forerunner for the Education of All Handicapped Children Act.
1973 - Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 93-112)
Section 504 was only a few words added to the Rehabilitation Act as it was being re-authorized. It said any program that received federal funding must be accessible to people with disabilities.
1974 - Wyatt v. Stickney
An early, state level court decision in Alabama establishing that persons with intellectual disabilities who lived in institutions had a right to treatment and services.
1975 - Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Public Law 94-103)
These amendments to the DD Act introduced the Protection and Advocacy system. It also added a section called the "Rights of the Developmentally Disabled."
1975 - Education of All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law.94-142)-now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
This law said all children and youth with disabilities had the right to go to public schools, and receive an education that matched their abilities.
1988 - Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act
This Act helps people with disabilities gain access to assistive technology.
1989 - Penry v. Lynaugh
The first time the United States Supreme Court clearly said people with "mental retardation” could not receive the death penalty.
1990 - Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, Public Law 101-336)
This law said people with disabilities have the same civil rights as do all Americans. With the ADA, it became illegal to leave people with disabilities out of things like getting a job, using businesses and services, and using public transportation.
1998 - Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 105-220)
This amendment to the Rehabilitation Act said all electronic media created by the United States Government must be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes websites and computer programs.
1999 - Olmstead v. L.C. (The Olmstead decision)
In this landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, the court said people with disabilities have the right to live in the community. This meant that all states needed to help people leave institutions.
1999-Representation Agreement
This legislation enacted in British Columbia allowed new, alternative and less restrictive approaches to guardianship and supported decision making.
2002 - The Commonwealth of Virginia apologizes for forced sterilizations
This is a piece of Virginia legislation. The Governor apologized for Virginia's sterilizing over 8000 women, only because they had disabilities. Within a year, three more states also apologized.
2004 ADA Requirements for Emergency Evacuation Planning for people with disabilities--Maryland Decision
This product describes a Maryland circuit court decision. It declared that the ADA required places of public accommodation to consider the needs of people with disabilities in developing emergency evacuation plans.
2006 - Combating Autism Act
This Act by the U.S. Congress worked to find ways to prevent and cure conditions on the autism spectrum.
2006 - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
A treaty in which the United Nations (UN) said people with disabilities have the same human rights as everyone else. Until then the UN mostly saw people with disabilities only as deserving of help from others.
2010 - Minnesota Apology Bill
This Minnesota state legislation gave people with disabilities an apology for the terrible things that had happened in state institutions.
2010 - Rosa's Law
This law changed the words "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" in all US government documents. It also said the words "mentally retarded" were to be changed to the person-first language of "an individual with an intellectual disability."
2011 - Colorado pardons Joe Arridy
In 1939, Joe Arridy was executed for two murders he did not commit. Mr. Arridy had a significant intellectual disability and in 2011 received a "Posthumous Pardon" from Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.
2012 - Lane v. Kitzhaber
This U.S. District Court decision said the state of Oregon could not segregate people with disabilities in sheltered workshops.
2014-Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
This Act from the United States Congress helps individuals with disabilities have better jobs.

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This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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