Proclamation - ADA Awareness Day
Fifteen years ago, on July 26, 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The ADA provides an estimated 54 million Americans with disabilities, including 4 million Texans, protection from discrimination in employment, access to goods and services, and communications.
In meeting the requirements and spirit of the ADA, Texas employers accommodate employees with disabilities through various measures, among them, the provision of accessible web sites, implementation of flexible work hours, and the use of sign language interpreters and adaptive technology. Another effort is Relay Texas, a service through which people with disabilities can communicate by telephone more efficiently and effectively. Since 1990, Relay Texas has translated more than 57 million calls.
In addition to program and service related accommodations, thousands of private businesses and government facilities have expeditiously complied with state and federal physical accessibility requirements. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, since April of 1994, 29,336 building projects have been certified as compliant with Texas Accessibility Standards. Of these, 19,188 received an Access for All decal for achieving such compliance.
ADA requires that people with disabilities be offered services in the most appropriate integrated setting. To this end, Texas implemented an initiative resulting in more than 8,488 individuals with disabilities moving from nursing facilities into less restrictive community settings. This "money follows the person" approach has received national acclaim. Additionally, more than 1,300 individuals with mental retardation or a related condition have moved from large state institutions to community settings. To further facilitate, Texas' Department of Aging and Disability Services created a new Internet registry, for four cities, to help Texans find personal care attendants.
Texans receive information and technical assistance about disabilities through the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities' web site; this site averages 9,000 unique hits per month. Beyond online assistance, in 2004, an additional 86,114 more individuals received information and assistance from the Committee through presentations, phone inquiries and the media. The Texas Legislature passed, and I was pleased to sign, legislation that improves access to electronic information and technology, increases funding for people with disabilities to live in the community, and improves employment options by beginning a Medicaid Buy-in program.
At this time, I urge all Texans to continue working toward meeting the spirit of the ADA - equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. All Texans benefit when Texans with disabilities can fully participate in our great state.
Therefore, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2005,
ADA Awareness Day
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this 19th day of July, 2005.
Governor of Texas