FREE OUR PEOPLE!
Over a quarter century after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is appalling that Disabled Americans who need long term services and supports continue to be forced into unwanted institutionalization where they are stripped of their personal liberties. To address this injustice, ADAPT and others in the Disability Community crafted the Disability Integration Act (S.910/HR.2472) which was originally introduced at the end of 2015 in the Senate.
For over two years, we have been trying to secure Senator Murray’s support for the bill. At best, her staff have been unresponsive; in some cases, they have been outright rude and disrespectful. In fact, during one round of Hill visits, the staff required an ADAPT activist to remain in the hall while they ignored her for hours. That activist, Janine Betram Kemp, is a constituent of Senator Murray, a highly respected member of the Disability Community in her own right, and the widow of Evan Kemp Jr. who introduced President George HW Bush on July 26, 1990, when the ADA was signed into law.
For the last six months, Ms. Bertram Kemp, Washington State ADAPTers, and other disabled constituents of Senator Murray’s have been engaged in a campaign to secure the Senator’s co-sponsorship of the DIA. Their efforts have included supportive calls-to-action from Indivisible as well repeated visits to Senator Murray’s state outreach staff who have never offered any meaningful explanation for her refusal to co-sponsor DIA. ADAPT has tried to address these concerns with Senator Murray’s Legislative Director and Chief of Staff who have also not responded to our communications.
ADAPT demands that HELP Committee Ranking Member, Senator Patty Murray:
- Agree to co-sponsor the Disability Integration Act (S.910), bipartisan/bicameral legislation that strengthens the ADA’s integration mandate and ensures no Disabled American is denied their Constitutional right to Life and Liberty by requiring they be provided a community-based alternative to institutional placement that allows them to lead an independent life; and
- Work with Chairman Alexander, the HELP Committee staff, ADAPT, and the National Council on Independent Living to hold a committee hearing on the Disability Integration Act addressing the fact that Disabled Americans are being denied their Constitutional rights to life, liberty and due process when they are forced into nursing facilities and other institutions.