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Burton Blatt Institute & the ADA Live! Podcast Host Hon. Tom Harkin

Posted on Friday 7/5/2019
Hon. Tom Harkin

The Hon. Tom Harkin—former Senator, Congressman, veteran, author, attorney, and chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)—was the featured guest on the July 3, 2019 broadcast of the ADA Live!, a podcast produced by the Syracuse University Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and Southeast ADA Center. 

University Professor Peter Blanck, Chairman of BBI, interviewed Sen. Harkin in celebration of the 29th anniversary of this historic civil rights legislation.

Considered the "Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities," the ADA changed the landscape of America by prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of public life, including employment, schools, transportation, local government programs, and places of public accommodation. 

To preserve the intent of the ADA after court rulings weakened its standards, Harkin and former Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the ADA Amendments Act to ensure continuing protections from discrimination for all Americans with disabilities. It was signed into law in 2008.

Harkin discussed how the ADA legislation came about, its impact over the last 29 years, and the future of civil rights protections for the more than 60 million people with disabilities living in the United States.

Listen to the podcast.