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Reports, Committee Opinions on Service Dog Issues

American Constitution Society (ACS)
For Law and Policy

The ADA Amendments Act:
An Overview of Recent Changes to the
Americans with Disabilities Act

By Emily A. Benfer
September 2009

The American Constitution Society takes no position on particular legal or policy initiatives. All expressions of opinion are those of the author or authors. ACS encourages its members to express their views and make their voices heard in order to further a rigorous discussion of important issues.

When President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) into law in 1990, he enacted a “historic new civil rights Act . . . the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities.”1 Through a series of decisions, the United States Supreme Court narrowed the ADA’s scope of protection and excluded individuals the Act was originally designed to protect, including people with epilepsy, diabetes and muscular dystrophy. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Tom Harkin and Senator Orrin Hatch led a bipartisan effort to reinvigorate the original intent of the ADA through the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), which went into effect on January 1, 2009.
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