Historical Highlights

The Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A former House staffer, Representative Tony Coelho of California eventually served six terms in the House.
On this date, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (S. 933) into law. The ground breaking legislation strengthened the 1964 Civil Rights Bill to permit compensatory and punitive damages for discriminatory practices against persons with disabilities. Among its impacts were the implementation of telephone relay services for the hearing impaired and building adaption requirements for other disabilities. On May 9, 1989, Representative Tony Coelho of California introduced H. R. 2273 to the House where it passed later that month. The Senate also introduced S. 933 on May 9, 1989, and it passed that summer. More than a year later, the Senate version arrived in the House out of conference committee for a final vote where it was approved 377 to 28 with 27 not voting. In the months before the final vote more than 100 demonstrators were arrested in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol after their meeting with top lawmakers to demand the bill’s passage. Representative Romano Mazzoli of Kentucky declared after the signing, “Mr. Speaker, today is a day to rejoice both for the millions of disabled Americans who, because of ADA, will enter a new era and for the Congress of the United States and the President whose collaborative efforts led to the passage of this milestone law.”

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