Why I wrote the Americans with Disabilities Act

The bill, a model for bipartisanship, addressed hideous discrimination faced by people with disabilities.

In January 1987, I sat down at a word processor in my small office at the National Council on Disability and began writing the first draft of a bill. NCD published my draft of the Americans with Disabilities Act bill in 1988; it was introduced in Congress with a few changes that same year, and provided the basis for the revised version that was signed into law July 26, 1990. On the ADA’s 25th anniversary, I want to tell the unlikely story of how this historic federal law came to be, and to reflect on what the law has accomplished.

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