May 16, 2016
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


We had our first taste of summer this week.  Wow it was nice.  Hope you got a chance to spend a couple of hours out of doors.

We have a long newsletter for you this week.   we start with a reminder that the DPC Annual Meeting is coming up.  We are going with a picnic themed food to celebrate the arrival of summer.  Join us!  We are also recruiting potential Board members.  

We have an important (and lengthy) alert about three bills in Congress that would seriously damage the ADA and our ability to defend our civil rights.  Share it.

We also have a good story from the New York Times of the many people with disabilities still imprisoned in nursing homes in this country.

Have a good week and a s always, happy  reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Invitation: DPC Annual Meeting

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) I am pleased to invite you to our Annual Meeting.

When:  Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 5:30 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Where:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, One Enterprise Drive, Quincy, MA  02171

We will have shuttle service available from the North Quincy Station on the Red Line.

Dinner will be served.  

Keynote Remarks by Mr. Andrew Veith, President
Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf and
Co-Organizer Deaf Grassroots Movement Massachusetts

To register or request reasonable accommodations please contact  Amy at

Requests for Reasonable Accommodations and registrations must be received by June 1, 2016.
DPC Board: Applicants Wanted  

The DPC has several openings on our Board of Directors for both this year and next year.  We are seeking qualified individuals to join our Board and contribute to the continued growth of our cross-disability advocacy agenda.

Do you have skills which you could bring to our organization?  Can you help expand our diversity and understanding of underrepresented communities?  Do you have experience with fundraising, business, or accounting?

We require our Board Members to:

1.  Attend six Board Meetings per year.
2.  Serve on at least one committee. (Committees meet monthly)
3.  Donate financially to the organization (at a level determined personally).
4.  A commitment to to the civil rights of all persons with disabilities.

If you are interested please send a one page letter outlining the skills and talents you can bring the DPC, along with a copy of your resume.  Send the information to  We look forward to hearing from you.
Study Opportunity: Website Accessibility Users of Screen Readers Needed

 About the study

Ascensus College Savings Inc. is a leading administrator of college savings plans, otherwise known as 529 plans, in the United States. On May 24th, 2016, Ascensus College Savings Inc. will be conducting usability testing on their website in order to discover how easily people with visual disabilities can use their website. They will incorporate that feedback into improving future designs and implementations. Ascensus College Savings Inc. will prepare specific tasks for the participants using desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Along with other accessibility tools and resources, usability testing at the Carroll Center will act as an important check to ensure Ascensus' website is making accessibility accommodations to enable consumers with disabilities to independently access these services.

Who we need

We are seeking a total of five participants for this study. You must be at least 18 years of age, and be available for a 60 minute testing session on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. We are looking for blind or visually impaired participants who are screen reader users for this study - either JAWS or VoiceOver. Ascensus will supply the devices you will use on the day of the study.

Compensation & Release

Each selected participant will receive $80.00 upon completion of the 60 minute testing session. All participants will sign a Release form prior to their session, which will also be provided electronically in advance of the study for your review.

When & Where

Each selected participant will be scheduled for a 60 minute session throughout the day on Tuesday, May 24 between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Testing will take place in the Rachel Rosenbaum Technology Center on the campus of the Carroll Center for the Blind, 770 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02458

How to respond

Please send an email with the following information:

Your name
Your phone number
Your age
Which of these devices do you use -
Windows computer (desktop or laptop)
Apple iPad
Apple iPhone
How do you rate your skill level with your screen reader?

To be considered for this study, please send your email with all requested information to
Advocacy Needed:  Please Sir Can I Have My Civil Rights in 90 Days?  

Hi All,
Just wanted to keep you updated on this work! We were told about this hearing earlier this week and it is now public. I am not sure this will be a live webcast on the 19th but if so we will get the link out to all. 
Please see the attached document that is a summary of the three bills that are in Congress right now - H.R. 241, H.R. 3765 & H.R. 4719. (Updated with new sponsors) 
If your organization can - please get letters of opposition to the Sponsors of these bills and to the House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Justice  ASAP! 
The National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDRN) has started a working group to create a strategy plan on this - we had our first meeting Friday, May 6, 2016. We look forward to working with many in the disability rights as well as the civil and human rights groups on this important work. We will keep all updated. 

Subject:  Notice of Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing

Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on The Constitution and Civil Justice

Notice of Subcommittee Hearing

When:  Thursday, May 19, 2016 , 9:00 A.M.

Where:  2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

 ADA Notification Bills in the 114th Congress

There are now three ADA Notification bills introduced in the 114th Congress. 

The latest introduced on Monday, March 7, 2016 by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA); 

H.R. 4719 COMLI Act, with no Co-sponsors as of 5/1/2016

H.R. 241 Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) with 19 Co-sponsors - as of 5/1/2016- 1 Democrat

H.R. 3765 by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) with 31 Co-sponsors as of 5/12/16 - 4 Democrats

These bills are not expected to move in the 114th and this gives us time to create a plan that we can implement later in the year.


HR 4719 - Introduced in House (03/07/2016)

Correcting Obstructions to Mediate, Prevent, and Limit Inaccessibility Act or the COMPLI Act

This bill amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to prohibit persons aggrieved by certain public accommodation violations from commencing a civil action for discrimination unless they: (1) provide the owner or operator of the accommodation with a written notice that is specific enough to identify the violation; (2) specify in the notice that the owner or operator has 90 days to remove or correct the violation before an action will be brought; and (3) refrain from sending demand letters, requests for settlement, or other communications to the owner or operator during such 90-day period.

An owner or operator of a public accommodation who is provided such a notice must notify the public of the alleged violation and the steps being taken to remedy it.
Owners or operators are entitled to an additional 30 days to comply if they make a good faith effort but are unable to correct the violation within the original 90-day period.

A civil action for discrimination based on such a 
violation may not be commenced while a civil action relating to the same violation is pending.

HR 241 - Introduced in House (01/09/2015)

ACCESS (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores  and Services) Act of 2015

Amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to prohibit an aggrieved person from commencing a civil action for discrimination based on the failure to remove a structural barrier to entry into an existing public accommodation unless the owner or operator of such accommodation: (1) is provided a written notice specific enough to identify such barrier; and (2) has, within specified time periods, either failed to provide the aggrieved person with a written description outlining improvements that will be made to remove such barrier or provided such description and failed to remove such barrier.

HR 3765 - Introduced in House (10/20/2015)

ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015
This bill requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice to develop a program to educate state and local governments and property owners on strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability. The program may include training for professionals to provide a guidance of remediation for potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The bill prohibits persons from, and subjects violators to a criminal fine for, sending demand letters or other pre-suit notifications alleging a violation of ADA public accommodation requirements if the notification does not specify the circumstances under which an individual was actually denied access. The notification must specify: (1) the address of property, (2) the specific ADA sections alleged to have been violated, (3) whether a request for assistance in removing an architectural barrier was made, and (4) whether the barrier was permanent or temporary.

The bill also prohibits commencement of civil action based on the failure to remove an architectural barrier to access into an existing public accommodation unless: (1) the aggrieved person has provided to the owners or operators a written notice specific enough to identify the barrier, and (2) the owners or operators fail to provide the person with a written description outlining improvements that will be made to improve the barrier or they fail to remove the barrier or make substantial progress after providing such a description.

The Judicial Conference of the United States must develop a model program to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve such claims. The model program should include an expedited method for determining relevant facts related to such barriers and steps to resolve accessibility issues before litigation.

Prepared by: L. Dara Baldwin, MPA
Senior Public Policy Analyst
National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

Done: April 2016
Updated: May 13, 2016 - ldb

The National Disability Leadership Alliance(NDLA) is a national cross-disability coalition that represents the authentic voice of people with disabilities. To subscribe to the list, send a request to
Net News: Confined to a Nursing Homes, But Longing (and Ready) for Home  

This week the New York Times had an excellent story about the failure of states across the country to fully implement the Olmstead ruling by the United States Supreme Court.  We need more stories like this, so we can set our people free.  No one should be imprisoned in a nursing home simply because their state government cannot get it's act together.  You can read the article here.
Community News:  Rapid WheelchaIr Repair 

MassHealth is exploring new ways to get wheelchairs repaired quickly.  A pilot wheelchair repair clinic is being planned for the central part of the state in the early fall.  MassHealth is interested in recruiting participants for this important project.  

Ideal participants would live in the Worcester or surrounding areas and either have their own transportation or a willingness to use PT-1 transportation to travel to a state assistive technology center.  In addition to wheelchair repair and cleaning, participants will have an opportunity to learn basic wheelchair Do-It-Yourself repair skills and have access to a wheelchair scale to get a current weight.  

Please sign up as an alternate participant if project spots are filled, as the project may be expanded if there is sufficient demand.

This project is a collaborative effort with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC).  

Questions about the project can be directed to Jean Batty, MassHealth Disability Ombudsman, at 617-847-1256.

Jean Z. Batty, MPA
Disability Accommodation Ombudsman
100 Hancock St.
Quincy, MA  02171
Voice (617) 847-3468
Fax (617) 847-1272
TTY (617) 847-3788
Calendar:  Mass Advocates Standing Strong  
When:  Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Where:  85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472

We are self-advocates in Massachusetts working together to empower ourselves through education, so we can make choices and improve and enrich our lives.  
"Nothing About Us Without US."

Basic Self Advocacy training
Starting and Maintaining a Self-Advocacy Group
Self-Advocacy Leadership Training (MDDC)
Awareness and Action: Educating Persons with Disabilities to Recognize, Report and respond to Abuse (with BPI)
Legislative Advocacy
Explore, Prepare, Act Basic skills to get a job.

Any questions please send to Keith Miller at
Calendar: Assistance with Completion of Universal Housing Application

When:  Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Where:  ILCNSCA, 27 Congress Street, Suite 107, Salem, MA 01970 

Peer Guides are available to assist you with completion of the Universal Housing application for subsidized housing across Massachusetts. ILCNSCA will have peer guides available to guide you in a group setting to assist you in completing your housing application. 

Contact ILCNSCA at 978-741-0077 v, 888-751-0077 toll free, 978-745-1735 TTY, or via e-mail to:  with "Housing Application Assistance Appointment" in the subject line to RSVP.
Calendar:  Training on Housing Laws for People with Disabilities  

When:  Friday, June 10, 10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Where: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA  02138

View the flyer and transit options for this event online at

10 am - 12:30 pm: Training on Housing Laws

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Light Lunch Provided

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Input from the Community

** RSVP Required **

This Event Is Free And Open To The Public - Space Is Limited

RSVP & request accommodations by June 3rd to or 617-723-8455 x 123

Join us for a training on housing laws in Massachusetts and the rights of tenants with disabilities. A Community Feedback Forum will follow this training. We are looking for your input on the issues you are facing as a person or family member of a person with a disability

Michael Muehe, Executive Director, Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities

Tom Murphy, Staff Attorney, Disability Law Center
Caitlyn Byers, Staff Attorney - Pike Fellow, Disability Law Center

Rick Glassman, Director of Advocacy, Disability Law Center

Christine Griffin, Executive Director, Disability Law Center

Out of consideration for people with environmental illness and/or multiple chemical sensitivity, please refrain from using perfume or other scented products.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided.

Hosted by the Disability Law Center and the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities  
In This Issue
DPC Needs your Help!!! 
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The DPC uses the PayPal PayFast system for your tax deductible charitable donations. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this system because credit card payments are also accepted.

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The DPC also uses the Causes program for recurring donations (as well as one time donations).  This is a great way to make a smaller monthly donation.
Donate by Mail
Make check or money order payable to:

Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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