Groups lobby on disabled law

Jewish groups lobbied Congress to tighten laws banning discrimination against the disabled.

A coalition of 20 Jewish groups called the Jewish Disability Network met Wednesday with members of four committees of the U.S. House of Representatives considering a bill that would expand the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

The network, co-founded by the Reform movement and United Jewish Communities, the federations’ umbrella, backs the bill introduced last year because courts have tended to narrowly interpret the law. A statement said that 97 percent of challenges have been lost.

“This legislation takes a crucial step in raising the bar for protection from discrimination of persons with disabilities and in fulfilling the intention of the original legislation,” said William Daroff, UJC’s Washington director.

The expanded legislation is sponsored in the House by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the majority leader, and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and in the Senate by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)

A letter from 60 national, state and local Jewish groups to all Congress members accompanied Wednesday’s lobbying effort.

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