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Federal laws guide for people with disabilities

By Cindy Powell

The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 requires that buildings designed, constructed or altered with Federal funds, or leased by a Federal agency (with the exception of the U.S. Postal Service) comply with Federal architectural accessibility standards.

Cindy Powell

Cindy Powell

  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects people with disabilities from discrimination by federally funded programs, contractors and subcontractors in employment, program accessibility, construction, effective communication and information technology.
  • The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 requires that Federal elections polling places be physically accessible to people with disabilities.
  • The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 prohibits discrimination by air carriers that provide regular scheduled fee-based public services.
  • The Fair Housing Act of 1988 protects people with disabilities from discrimination in private and government housing.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (formerly known as Public Law 94-142 or the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975) requires that public schools provide children with disabilities with a free individualized appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.
  • The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 also known as the “Motor Voter Act,” mandates that state-funded programs provide all applicants with voter registration forms, and if needed, to assist applicants in completing and submitting the forms.
  • The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandates that telecommunications manufacturers and providers ensure that equipment and services are accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
  • The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1997 authorizes the attorney general to investigate and initiate civil law suits where widespread deficiencies jeopardize the health and safety of residents in institutions.
  • The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates training election workers and volunteers regarding accessible polling places and private, independent voting for voters with disabilities.

Cindy Powell is a training and development specialist at Carmel Community Living Corporation. Carmel has provided high quality community based services to Coloradans with disabilities and their families since 1969.


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