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Background on Today's Presidential Action

On February 1, 2001, President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative -- a comprehensive program to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society by increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and promoting increased access into daily community life.

The Administration is committed to the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in:

  • Places of public accommodation, including all hotels, restaurants, retail stores, theaters, health care facilities, convention centers, parks, and places of recreation;
  • Activities of state and local governments, including public transportation and employment; and
  • Employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees.

The New Freedom Initiative also increases technical assistance to help small businesses comply with the ADA. The President believes that the most efficient way to promote compliance with the Act is to give businesses and local governments the information they need to better understand their obligations. Examples of the Administration's innovative efforts to promote compliance with the ADA include the Department of Justice's "ADA Business Connection," which is increasing compliance by fostering an ADA dialogue within the business community and increasing the flow of ADA information to business decision makers. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is providing ADA training to small businesses throughout the country.

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