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The Chronicle Newsletter:

News Highlights

March 2024
Volume 17 Issue 5

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March Webinars

In Focus

New Rules Proposed:
ASL and Multilingual Emergency Alerts

Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Old TV displays the Emergency Alert System logo, a graphic of a tornado, and an ASL interpreter

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that they are accepting public comment through April 8, 2024 on a proposal to create American Sign Language (ASL) video alerts for emergencies. The proposal would also simplify the process of sending non-English language alerts over television and radio using the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The proposal was announced in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).An NPRM is an official document that announces and explains a federal government agency's plan to address a problem or accomplish a goal.

Comments can be submitted through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System and must reference PS Docket No. 15-94.

People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online may request assistance by email at

New Rules Proposed:
Safe and Accessible Air Travel

U.S. Department of Transportation Logo. Image of wheelchair user waiting at an airport gate while a plane takes off

The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing new rules to improve safety for passengers with wheelchairs under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).Similar to the ADA, the ACAA is the federal law that protects passengers with disabilities during air travel. The proposed rule would require enhanced training for airline employees and contractors who physically assist passengers with disabilities and handle passengers’ wheelchairs. The rule will also outline actions airlines must take to protect passengers when a wheelchair is damaged during transport.

Comments must be submitted by May 13, 2024 through, Docket DOT-OST-2022-0144.

National News

Cover page of the 2022 Report to Congress on Supportive Services for Individuals with Autism

New Report: Supportive Services for Individuals with Autism

At the end of 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report to Congress that described supportive services, in addition to healthcare, that would be beneficial for improving outcomes for individuals with autism and their families.

Circular 3-part model with two people assisting a person with behavioral health need

Medicare and Medicaid: A New Model for Behavioral Health Integration

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced a new model called The Innovation in Behavioral Health (IBH) Model. The goal of the model is to improve the quality of care for adults with mental health conditions or substance use disorder and promote health information technology (health IT).

Graphical representation of neurodivergence. Different colored sections inside a person's mind

Employment Discrimination Charges Based on Neurodiversity Continue to Rise

Since 2016, the percentage of EEOC charges under the ADA based on neurodiversity-related conditions has continued to increase. Charges related to autism more than doubled, going from 0.4% in 2016 to 1.2% in 2022. Additionally, anxiety increased from increased from 7.6% to 12.3% over the six-year period.

Regional News

Illinois state outline

Illinois News Highlights

Improve the Lives of Children with Special Healthcare Needs

The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Division of Specialized Care for Children is seeking input from caregivers and people who work with children and youth with special healthcare needs. Input can help shape statewide priorities and programs to meet these needs. The short four-question survey is available in English and Spanish. Survey respondents can also sign up for a focus group session with a chance to get a $50 gift card! For more information, contact Title V Needs Assessment Coordinator, Dr. Ebonie Zielinski, at

Disability Takeaways from the Governor's 2024 State Budget Release

Overall, the Governor’s proposed budget for 2024 seeks to preserve a wide range of services for people with disabilities. However, this budget will need to be debated and approved by state legislators. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • The Illinois Home Services Program would see an increase of $116 million
  • The Illinois Community Care Program (senior homemaker services) would see an increase of $109 million
  • Funding for Centers for Independent Living in Illinois is proposed to remain flat
  • The $7.5 million for the new statewide Home Modification program would be spread across at least two years

Indiana state outline

Indiana News Highlights

New Oversight Rules for FSSA

In response to the projected billion-dollar Medicaid funding shortfall in Indiana, the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) said it would begin removing families from the attendant care program. This led to weekly protests by parents of children with severe medical conditions. In response, lawmakers approved legislation to require new transparency and oversight rules of FSSA and a full accounting of what led to the forecasting issue so it can be avoided in the future. The legislation also requires the FSSA to set a minimum reimbursement level for families transitioning away from the attendant care program.

Guardians for Parents with Intellectual Disabilities in the Adoption Process

Senate Bill 16 has been passed and will establish a "guardian ad litem" pilot program in LaPorte County, Marshall County, and Starke County. It requires a court in these counties to appoint a guardian to represent the best interests of a parent with an intellectual disability in adoption cases. The cost of appointing a guardian in these cases is paid by the county. This pilot will end on July 1, 2026.

Michigan state outline

Michigan News Highlights

Kalamazoo County Businesses: Apply for an Accessibility Audit to Drive Tourism

Discover Kalamazoo is using a $57,500 Accessible Traveler Grant from the state to fund a community accessibility audit of the county. Sites will be selected based on their connection to the tourism sector and will include attractions, lodging, restaurants, and transportation facilities. Following each audit, the business will receive a report identifying its accessible offerings and ways to enhance accessibility for guests. Local businesses that wish to participate can request a form here.

Ford Airport Uses Sign Language Boards Powered By Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The Grand Rapids airport was one of the first in the nation to try the new AI sign language technology. The service is created by working with an interpreter who signs a vocabulary of terms such as destination names, airline names, numbers, and times of day that are then pieced together by AI to provide accessible notifications about flights. The test ended in 2023 but the airport is working to continue developing the software

Minnesota state outline

Minnesota News Highlights

Beyond the ADA: Building Inclusive, Accommodating Communities

Several cities across Minnesota have embraced ADA requirements and are making important strides in enhancing inclusivity around residents and employees with disabilities. Accessibility benefits everyone, making it easier for strollers or carts with wheels to navigate sidewalks, deliveries to be made to buildings, and more. To create inclusive cities and workplaces, cities can start by talking to individuals who have the lived experience.

Minneapolis Housing and Support for Clients with IDD and Mental Illnesses

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has purchased a 48 unit apartment building with plans to provide residential and support services in an integrated setting for clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness. DHS plans to reserve 24 units for its clients, with 24 available to the public.

Ohio state outline

Ohio News Highlights

2024-2025 Executive Budget: Support for Ohioans with Disabilities

Ohio’s biennial Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025 will create a positive impact by:

  • Supporting Ohioans with disabilities to earn higher wages
  • Boosting credential attainment for in-demand and well-paying jobs
  • Expanding Ohio College2Careers
  • Increasing services for high school students with disabilities
  • Supporting Accessible Ohio
  • Increasing support for the Community Centers for the Deaf
  • Supporting Disability Services Partners
  • Enhancing Penalties for Hate Crimes Against Individuals with Disabilities

Wisconsin state outline

Wisconsin News Highlights

Bill to Keep Youths with Mental Illness and Treatment in the State of Wisconsin

There is an absence of treatment options in Wisconsin for young people living with serious mental illness. As a result, children are sent out of state for residential treatment if a facility has space. It can take up to six months to find long-term treatment in another state. Senate Bill 913 would authorize the Department of Health Services (DHS) to certify psychiatric residential treatment facilities in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers already set aside $1.79 million in the 2023-25 biennial budget for a facility, should the bill pass next session.

Unseen Autism: Lack of Care When Kids Need It Most

Undiagnosed autism leads to preschool-aged children being kicked out of day care for perceived behavioral issues just when they need the support the most. Parents, child care centers, and service providers recognize that Wisconsin has this hidden problem. State reported data indicates autistic children were expelled, suspended or otherwise removed from classrooms 1,695 times during the 2021-22 school year.

Important Note: News shared by 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

Person transferring from patient bed to wheelchair

Mobility-Friendly Travel Guide

Are you planning a Spring Break trip? Do you or does someone in your travel group have mobility limitations? The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has provided a helpful guide for planning mobility-friendly travel.

National Council on Disability Logo

Making AI Hiring Tools More Inclusive

Through March 11, you can take part in a national online dialogue about ways to make artificial intelligence (AI)–enabled hiring tools more inclusive for people with disabilities. The online dialogue will gather public input to build a profile on inclusive hiring that is based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s AI Risk Management Framework.

Shovel and snow pile next to sign with the international symbol of accessibility

The A to Z of Disabilities and Accommodations

Did you know that this resource from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) can suggest accommodations by disability, limitation and job function? Here are some examples of suggested accommodations for conditions like Cerebral Palsy and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Food on a plate wrapped in measuring tape

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

The theme for this year is "A World of Opportunities" for people with developmental disabilities. Check out the resources and promotional materials provided for this year's celebration. Individuals can also register for the World Congress of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) which will be held this year in Chicago, Illinois from August 5-8.

Q&A of the Month

Is a state or local government required to modify its policies? Image of the U.S. flag, a government building and a check for yes and cross for no

Question: Is a state or local government always required to modify its policies when requested by a person with a disability?

Answer: No. A state or local government (a.k.a. a public entity) only needs to make "reasonable" modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to avoid discrimination and provide equal opportunity.

If the public entity can demonstrate that a requested modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, program, or activity, it is not required to make the modification. A fundamental alteration is something that would change the essential nature of the entity’s programs or services. For example, a local government would not be required to move a beach volleyball tournament to an indoor court.

A state or local government is also not required to take an action that would result in an undue financial and administrative burden. This means that the request would be too expensive and difficult to provide.

Rules that are necessary for the safe operation of a program, service, or activity are also allowed and can be enforced, but they must be based on actual risk, not on assumptions, stereotypes, or generalizations about people who have disabilities. For example, a parks and recreation department may require all participants in their agency-sponsored white-water rafting event to pass a swim test. It would not be a "reasonable" modification to eliminate this safety policy for a person with a disability due to the actual risk of harm to someone who cannot swim to safety if their raft capsizes. However, it would also not be acceptable to only apply this safety policy to people with disabilities.

If a requested modification would not be reasonable, a state or local government has a responsibility to look at alternative modifications that would be reasonable, effective and provide access to the greatest extent possible.


Learn more by visiting our ADA Frequently Asked Questions.

ADA Cases

Title I - Employment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Seal

EEOC v. McLane/Eastern, Inc., Doing Business As "McLane Northeast"

McLane Northeast, a New York distribution company, will pay $1.675 million after being charged with refusing to interview and hire a qualified deaf applicant for two warehouse jobs.

EEOC v. Covenant Woods Senior Living, LLC and BrightSpace Senior Living, LLC

Covenant Woods retirement community in Columbus, Georgia, has been charged with violating federal law when they fired a 78-year-old employee from her position as a receptionist because of her age and disability.

EEOC v. Tech Mahindra (Americas) Inc.

Tech Mahindra, Inc., a New York-based IT services company, will pay $255,000 to a job applicant to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. According to the suit, once Tech Mahindra realized that an applicant was deaf and using an interpreter, they ended the interview and sent an email claiming that having an interpreter on-site would "be a challenge."

EEOC v. Pete's Car Smart, Inc.

Texas dealership Pete’s Car Smart will pay $145,000 to settle an age and disability discrimination lawsuit. The suit alleges that an employee that went on leave for heart surgery in early 2021 was told by the employer in the days leading up to her return to work that she needed to retire, or she would be fired, because he did not feel she could do her job any longer.

EEOC v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC

Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, a provider of housekeeping, food and facilities support based in Texas, will pay $520,000 as part of the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit. According to the suit, the company required employees to take the Essential Functions Test (EFT) at hire, annually, and upon return from medical leave, even when portions of the test were not job-related. The employer also fired employees who failed the test even if they could successfully perform their essential job functions.

EEOC v. Atlantic Property Management Corporation

Atlantic Properties Management Corporation and its affiliate, Diversified Funding, Inc., property management companies in Boston, allegedly violated federal law by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a new hire with breast cancer and subsequently withdrawing her job offer.

EEOC v. Voyant Beauty, LLC

Voyant is charged with terminating an employee on her first day of work at their Countryside, Illinois location after learning that she is deaf. The company terminated the employee even though she was qualified for the job and could have performed its essential functions with or without accommodation.

EEOC v. ADT Pizza, Doing Business As "Pizza Hut"

The EEOC investigation found that ADT Pizza discriminated against an employee by subjecting her to unwelcome and derogatory comments by a member of management based on her disability and that she was discharged because of the harassment. They have agreed to pay $13,083.75 in damages and $1,916.25 in backpay to resolve the charge.

Title II - State and Local Government

Department of Justice Seal

DOJ v. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania (UJS)

The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania (UJS) to resolve allegations that UJS courts violated the ADA by preventing individuals under court supervision from taking lawfully prescribed medication to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). Under the agreement, UJS courts will pay $100,000 to victims, and encourage all its component courts to adopt new policies and train personnel on the ADA’s anti-discrimination requirements regarding OUD.

DOJ v. Lincoln Public Schools (LPS)

The Nebraska school district, Lincoln Public Schools (LPS), violated the ADA by denying some deaf and hard of hearing students an equal opportunity to attend their neighborhood schools. Following a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, the department found that when LPS believes that a student needs American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, they require the student to attend a cluster school serving deaf and hard of hearing students. Watch this ASL video describing the DOJ findings.

DOJ v. The State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit after notifying Tennessee and the TBI that they violated the ADA by enforcing the state’s aggravated prostitution statute against people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The department’s investigation found that the state and TBI subject people living with HIV to harsher criminal penalties solely because of their HIV status, violating Title II of the ADA.

Title III - Places of Public Accommodation

Department of Justice Seal

DOJ v. MedStar Health, Inc.

A complaint against MedStar, a leading health care provider in Maryland and Washington, D.C., alleges that they violated the ADA by excluding necessary support persons from attending appointments with patients who have disabilities. Under the proposed consent decree, MedStar Health has agreed to pay a total of $440,000 to compensate multiple affected individuals.

Statements of Interest

Voting Sticker

DOJ Files Statement in Case Alleging that Georgia Voting Law Discriminates Against Voters with Disabilities

The Justice Department has filed a statement of interest explaining how the ADA’s equal opportunity and reasonable modification requirements apply in the voting context. The statement of interest was filed in a consolidated lawsuit challenging restrictions on absentee and in-person voting under Georgia Senate Bill SB 202. To learn more about protecting the right to vote under the ADA, please refer to the DOJ webpage on Voting and Polling Places.

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Check out this research brief on Race, Disability and Employment. This brief was released in 2021 from researchers at the Department of Disability and Human Development in the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Research Brief:

#Employment #Research #Race #Disability

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

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Las contribuciones que los afrolatinos han hecho en la comunidad son muchas como, las artes, entretenimiento, políticas, justicia social, deportes, y más. 1 en cada 4 personas en los estados unidos tiene una discapacidad física o mental, y los latinos somos diversos. Un informe del Centro de Investigaciones Pew encontró más de 6 millones de personas se consideran Afrolatino. Para aprender más sobre los latinos y discapacidades visite, Smithsonian, y puede leer más sobre los afrolatinos en los estados unidos en el siguiente LA Times, Si tiene más preguntas acerca de la ADA contáctenos gratis al 800-949-4232.

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