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The Chronicle Newsletter:

News Highlights

April 2024
Volume 17 Issue 6

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In Focus

New Standards for Title II:
Web and Mobile Applications

Digital Access Coming Soon. Computer and Cell phone showing new web and mobile access requirements

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last Monday that they are publishing required technical standards for state and local governments to help ensure the accessibility of programs and services provided through the web and mobile apps. Web content that is provided or made available by state or local governments covered by Title II of the ADA will now need to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Version 2.1, Level AA. Certain exceptions have been made for archived web content, preexisting conventional electronic documents, content posed by third parties, individualized documents that are password-protected, and preexisting social media posts.

State and local governments must make sure that their web content and mobile apps meet WCAG 2.1, Level AA within two or three years, depending on their population.

Learn more about these compliance deadlines and other commonly asked questions in the DOJ Fact Sheet: New Rule on the Accessibility of Web Content and Mobile Apps Provided by State and Local Governments.

Check out the recent press release on this new rule.

Innovations in Accessible Tech

Assistive Tech Innovations. A lightbulb on one side and brain on another with mechanical gears and electricity.

With the rise of AI and other technological advancements, assistive technology creators continue to push boundaries with the goal of improving the independence and every day lives of people with disabilities. Many of these recent innovations were on display at this year's 39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference.

Learn more about these exciting tools and technologies.

National News

Young woman wearing a shirt that says "Disabled in STEM." Disability Pride Flag and a microscope

Making STEM Programs Accessible

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Many STEM research labs and programs are physically inaccessible to scientists with disabilities. For example, workbenches and fume hoods are usually too high for someone in a wheelchair to reach. While the ADA requires newly constructed facilities to be physically accessible, labs that predate the ADA typically are not required to be retrofitted until the space is altered. In addition, certain labs used by employees only can have exemptions under the ADA as "Employee Work Areas".However, some scientists and programs are working to change this.

A woman with down syndrome working at her desk at home

The Post-Pandemic Workplace:
3 Lessons on Disability Inclusion

At the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work opened many doors for employees and applicants with disabilities. Now, as many employers start to move staff back into the office, they face new obligations for workplace accommodations as well as opportunities for disability inclusion. This article breaks down 3 lessons for employers to help them navigate workplace changes since the pandemic.

A gavel and metal plaque with the international symbol of disability

Federal and State Laws: Long-Standing Protections for People with Disabilities

While the ADA was and continues to be an important milestone in civil rights protections for people with disabilities, there are also many other laws on the state and federal level which provide benefits or disability rights protections. This article breaks down various laws and programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Ticket to Work (TTW), the Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and more.

Regional News

Illinois state outline

Illinois News Highlights

New Home Modification Program

This statewide program will provide funding to add wheelchair ramps, widen doorways, and make other accessibility modifications to allow people with disabilities to live independently at home. The program is open for any Illinois resident with a documented disability who earns less than 200% of their area's median income.

Senate Bill: Accessibility Rules for EV Chargers

If passed, Bill SB 3323 would require the Illinois Department of Transportation to ensure EV charging stations are accessible to allow independent use by drivers with disabilities. The bill unanimously cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in March and likely will go before the full Senate for a vote in April.

New Pace Rideshare Access Program (RAP)

Chicago riders who are certified through Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) for ADA paratransit are now eligible to enroll in Pace’s Rideshare Access Program (RAP). This program subsidizes up to eight pre-scheduled or on-demand trips per day for eligible riders with their choice of participating transportation providers.

Indiana state outline

Indiana News Highlights

Access Information for DNR Destinations

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently launched their Accessibility Outdoors website which provides maps, photos, and other details about the accessibility of state destinations. The website features information on hunting and fishing accommodations, trail chairs, wheelchair-accessible trails, paved trails, beach mats, and more.

FSSA Waitlist for Waiver Services

The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced in April that the Aged and Disabled Waiver reached maximum capacity, meaning Hoosiers looking to receive services through the waiver will have to wait for a new slot to open. FSSA implemented the waiting list in response to the $1 billion Medicaid funding shortfall reported earlier this year. To get on the list, FSSA is directing Hoosiers to their local Area Agency on Aging (AAAs)

Legal Program for Parents Of Children With Disabilities

In November of 2023, Notre Dame Law School launched a program called the Special Education Law Clinic. The Clinic enables parents of children with disabilities to navigate the challenging legal realm of obtaining education for their children. The clinic offers free services such as helping parents address challenges in meeting their child's special education needs, working with schools, supporting IEP implementation, participating in mediations, and providing guidance for navigating the K-12 school system.

Michigan state outline

Michigan News Highlights

Autism Inclusion and Resources

April was proclaimed Autism Acceptance Month in the State of Michigan these year. Governor Whitmer along with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), Department of Education (MDE), Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Autism Alliance of Michigan celebrated this proclamation by highlighting programs and other resources in Michigan that support people with autism

New Interactive Map: Disability-Friendly Public Transit

Disability Rights Michigan (DRM) recently launched an interactive map to help users find disability-friendly public transportation. The goal is to help disabled Michigan residents find affordable, accessible transportation. This digital resource also helps users find information on their federal and state disability transportation-related civil rights.

Long-COVID Continues in Michigan

According to survey data, more than 17% of adults in Michigan have experienced Long COVID. This condition is difficult to treat as there are around 200 documented symptoms. Visible signs of the pandemic may have disappeared, but for many, the effects of Long-COVID persist.

Minnesota state outline

Minnesota News Highlights

New Grant Program Can Offset Employment Accommodation Costs

Small to mid-sized Minnesota businesses can now request reimbursements for expenses related to providing reasonable accommodations for job applicants and employees with disabilities through DEED’s Employer Reasonable Accommodation Fund (ERAF) a two-year pilot program lasting through June 30, 2025.

Bill to Abolish Subminimum Wage

Disability advocates have been working for years to phase out the practice of paying subminimum wage to workers with disabilities. Last year, lawmakers embraced most of the recommendations from a state task force on eliminating subminimum wage, but the practice still remains. More recently, the House committee approved Bill HF 4392 which would again aim to abolish the subminimum wage.

Travel Program Reopens

True Friends has announced the return of its True Friends Travel program with trips starting in April. This nonprofit offers vacations to a variety of destinations for adults with disabilities. Trips are fully accessible and planned to meet each traveler’s unique needs. More than 20 trips will be offered this year in Minnesota and throughout the United States. To learn more about the program and register for upcoming trips, visit True Friends – Experience Travel.

Ohio state outline

Ohio News Highlights

Bill to Eliminate Wage Cuts for Workers With Developmental Disabilities

Ohio lawmakers are trying to guarantee workers with developmental disabilities earn a fair wage. Currently, employers approved for a "special wage certificate" can pay workers with disabilities less than $4 an hour. Under House Bill 247, Ohioans with disabilities would need to be paid at least minimum wage for five years after the bill's passage. Right now, the bill does not have a committee assignment.

Ohio Bill Would Allow Child Support for Adult Disabled Children

House Bill 338 would clarify that child support may continue and be considered in court, even when that person is over 18, for an Ohioan with a disability. The bill does not spell out what can be appropriated for an adult disabled child, or whether child support must be awarded.

Wisconsin state outline

Wisconsin News Highlights

New Law Implements ABLE Savings Accounts

On April 4, 2024, Senate Bill 668 was signed into law to create an ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) savings account program that people with disabilities can use to pay for expenses that happen when living with a disability. Most importantly, money in a person’s ABLE account will not affect their eligibility for benefits programs such as Social Security Insurance (SSI), Medicaid, and food stamps.

Lack of Mental Health Space Results in Patients Transferred to Sex Offender Facility

The Department of Health Services established an inpatient unit at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, a facility traditionally meant for sexually violent persons who have been convicted of and sentenced for sex offenses. The unit will serve 20 male clients who are deemed unable to stand trial due to mental illness, substance abuse, or developmental disabilities. These patients must be given treatment before their court proceedings can continue.

Important Note:News from third-parties may be subject to change or require a subscription to view. The Great Lakes ADA Center is not responsible for content restrictions or changes made by third-parties.

Resource Highlights

Section 504 written on a clipboard surrounded by school supplies, toys, an inhaler and a medical syringe

Section 504 in Schools: Addressing Certain Medical Conditions

The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently released new resources on Section 504 protections for students with asthma , diabetes , food allergies and GERD . This office enforces disability rights protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as well as Title II of the ADA along with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in schools.

Business owner at a window holding a sign saying "Come In. We're Open"

Online Dialogue: Advancing Disability Inclusion in Very Small Businesses

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) invites you to participate in a national online dialogue on “Advancing Disability Inclusion in Very Small Businesses.” By participating in the dialogue, you can help inform the development of future policies and enhance resources that support and advance disability inclusion in very small businesses.

Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. Awareness Month April 1-30, 2024. Orange Ribbon. Woman missing her arm below the elbow stretches in a gym

Amputee Coalition: Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month

In honor of Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, check out the programs, resources and events offered through the Amputee Coalition. Recently, the organization published a new study titled, Prevalence of Limb Loss and Limb Difference in the United States: Implications for Public Policy. The study found that more than 5.6 million Americans are living with limb loss and limb difference.

Doctor speaks to a patient about their health

A National Roadmap for Clinicians on Disability Inclusive Healthcare

This Roadmap was created for clinicians to give the best healthcare possible to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This resource provides clear goals and commonsense actions that different groups can take to inspire change among both practicing clinicians and clinicians-in-training.

Q&A of the Month

Is there a minimum distance from accessible parking spaces to accessible entrances? Graphic of a parking space with an arrow to a door and measuring tape between them.

Question: Is there a minimum distance that accessible parking spaces need to be from accessible entrances?

Answer: No. There is no minimum distance required between accessible entrances and accessible parking spaces. The 2010 ADA Standards only state that accessible parking spaces must be located on the "shortest accessible route" to an accessible entrance. What is considered the "shortest" distance will vary depending on multiple factors such as the location of the lot compared to the building, where the accessible entrance is located, etc.

If a building has multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, the accessible parking spaces must be dispersed and the dispersed spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route to the closest accessible entrance.

When there are multiple parking lots that serve the same building or entrance, accessible parking spaces may be grouped in the closest lot if this allows equivalent or greater access.


Learn more by visiting our ADA Frequently Asked Questions.

ADA Cases

Title I - Employment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Seal

EEOC v. Walgreens Co.

Walgreens settled a pregnancy and disability discrimination lawsuit that alleged the employer refused to allow a pregnant employee with impairments to take emergency leave to seek medical attention, forcing her to quit.

EEOC v. Charter Communications, LLC (a.k.a. Spectrum)

A settlement agreement was reached with Charter who allegedly refused to provide an ongoing schedule accommodation for a Milwaukee employee. The employee, who could not drive at night due to cataracts and night blindness, was assigned a shift ending at 9 p.m. and asked to be moved to an earlier shift. Charter initially granted the request for one month and denied the requested extension.

EEOC v. Mead Johnson & Company

A settlement agreement was reached with Mead Johnson who allegedly denied their Michigan employee reasonable accommodations related to surgery complications (i.e., a work schedule that would have allowed her to gradually work more hours until she reached full-length shifts). After the denial, the employee requested additional leave until she could return to work without restrictions. Instead, Mead Johnson gave her position away, forced her onto unpaid leave, and then forced her to accept a less desirable position.

EEOC v. Walmart

A settlement agreement was reached with Walmart employee. The company allegedly revoked permission from an employee with a disability (who uses a prosthetic leg) to use a store electric cart to perform some of his job duties as a reasonable accommodation, forcing him to take unpaid leave.

Title II - State and Local Government

Department of Justice Seal

DOJ v. City of Trenton’s Kennedy Aquatic Center, Michigan

The U.S. Attorney’s Office received a complaint alleging that Kennedy Aquatic Center staff did not allow an individual with a disability to use a water slide. The complainant is a capable swimmer, but she has a disability that affects her stature. The U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated the complaint and successfully reached a settlement that requires the Kennedy Aquatic Center to adopt ADA policies to ensure that accommodations and modifications are made to allow access to their recreational services.

DOJ v. Utah Department of Corrections (UDOC)

UDOC violated the ADA by discriminating against an incarcerated transgender woman on the basis of her disability, gender dysphoria. UDOC failed to provide the complainant (who identifies as female but was assigned male at birth) equal access to health care services after she repeatedly requested hormone therapy. UDOC also failed to make reasonable modifications to its policies and practices to treat the complainant’s gender dysphoria.

DOJ v. Florida's Volusia County School (VCS) District

DOJ secures agreement with Florida's VCS District, which extends the term of a 2021 settlement agreement by an additional two years to allow its revised policies and practices for students with disabilities to be fully implemented. The agreement addressed the district's discriminatory policies and practices that discipline students with disabilities for their disability-related behavior and deny them equal access to VCS's educational programs. The agreement also requires the district to take additional critical steps to increase its ADA compliance.

DOJ v. Pasco County School District, Florida

DOJ reached a settlement agreement with the Pasco County School District to resolve the department’s investigation into alleged discrimination against students with disabilities in school discipline, threat assessment practices, and referrals of students to law enforcement. The agreement requires the district to end discriminatory practices under which students lost hours of classroom time, were treated unfairly in the threat assessment process, and even faced the prospect of being arrested or sent to a mental health facility against their will.

Title III - Places of Public Accommodation

Department of Justice Seal

DOJ v. Norwalk Inn and Conference Center (“Norwalk Inn”)

A settlement agreement with the Norwalk Inn was reached to resolve an ADA complaint filed alleging the Inn required the removal of a service animal as a condition of service in July 2023. As a result of the agreement, the Norwalk Inn is in the process of posting signage indicating “Service Animals Welcome,” implementing a “Service Animal Policy,” and training employees on the policy.

DOJ v. Discovery Zone Learning Center (“Discovery Zone”)

Discovery Zone, a private childcare center, entered into a settlement agreement to resolve allegations that their staff discriminated against a child with autism spectrum disorder. Based on its investigation, DOJ found that Discovery Zone failed to reasonably modify its programs to accommodate the child, which resulted in excluding the child from its childcare programs.

DOJ v. Nantahala Weddings, LLC (Nantahala Weddings)

According to the complaint, Nantahala Weddings was violating the ADA by charging a fee to transport individuals with mobility impairments up a non-accessible hill to the main wedding ceremony area and failing to offer accessible restrooms to guests. Nantahala Weddings agreed to remedy its accessibility issues and has already begun implementing the terms of the settlement agreement.

DOJ v. Prime Healthcare Services – Providence, LLC (a.k.a. Providence Medical Center- “PMC”)

DOJ reached a settlement with PMC a medical facility to resolve allegations that the hospital failed to accommodate a deaf patient by not providing a sign language interpreter. Under the settlement, PMC agrees to compensate the aggrieved deaf individual for his inability to effectively communicate with the medical team during his five-day hospital stay. In addition, PMC agreed to change its policies and practices to come into compliance with their obligations under the ADA.

DOJ v. Canvas Nails & Spa LLC

DOJ reached a settlement with a nail salon to resolve allegations that the salon discriminates against individuals with mobility impairments. Under the settlement, Canvas Nails & Spa LLC agrees to adopt and post in a conspicuous place a non-discrimination policy, to train current and future employees on the requirements of Title III of the ADA, and to pay $500 in damages to the individual complainant in this matter.

Statements of Interest

Graphic of a child with negative thoughts sitting in a cage

Institutionalized Children with Mental Health Disabilities Are Protected Under the ADA's Integration Mandate

The DOJ filed a statement of interest explaining how the integration mandate of Title II applies to children who have been medically cleared for discharge from psychiatric institutions but who remain institutionalized because of a lack of available community placement. The statement was filed in T.G. v. Maryland Department of Human Services, a lawsuit on behalf of a class of children with mental health disabilities in the state’s foster care system. The brief explains that the ADA’s integration mandate requires states to provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs when they do not oppose such services, and when such placement can be reasonably accommodated.

Stay Connected

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Check out a recent post, image and caption below:

Great Lakes ADA Center logo. Ways for the blind and low-vision community to access a solar eclipse. Screenshot of Eclipse Soundscapes Mobile App. A built lightsound device
Check out these resources in English and Spanish to make the solar eclipse on April 8th accessible to the Blind and Low Vision (BLV) community.

-Build a LightSound device to experience the eclipse with sound:

-Check out the free Eclipse Soundscapes mobile app which provides audio descriptions of eclipses and an interactive “rumble map” to conceptualize an eclipse through touch and sound:

#Eclipse #Blind #VisuallyImpaired #Accessibility

Follow us at Great Lakes ADA en Español on Facebook for ADA and disability-related content in Spanish!

Check out a recent Spanish post, image and caption below:

Tres fotos de personas con síndrome de Down. Un hombre adulto sonriendo acompañado con una mujer. Dos jóvenes platicando en una calle. Una niña abrazando a un adulto en una escuela.
Sabies que el 21 de marzo es el Dia Mundial del Síndrome de Down, un día de concientización mundial. Las personas con síndrome de Down tienen derecho a disfrutar ampliamente de todas las garantías y libertades fundamentales. La ADA garantiza igualdad de oportunidades para todas las personas con discapacidades en los estados Unidos. Para aprender más sobre la ADA y en cuales áreas se aplica nos pueden contactar al 800-949-4232.

#sindromededown #discapacidad #inclusion