In honor of the 25th anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Gov. Bruce Rauner this week signed a handful of laws regarding people with disabilities. Among them is House Bill 4049, which changes several subtly dehumanizing terms within existing state law. For example, references to “the disabled” and “the handicapped” now say “persons with disabilities,” reflecting that they are people who happen to have disabilities, rather being defined by their disabilities. It may seem like a distinction without a difference, but to people who have disabilities, it means being seen as a person instead of being pitied or seen as “the other.” Rauner signed this and four other bills into law on July 26, which is 25 years to the day after President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990, guaranteeing basic rights for people with disabilities. Also signed this week is Senate Bill 1383, which creates the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings fund to help individuals and families in Illinois save money to support persons with disabilities. The Illinois Statehouse may be mired in hostile budget squabbles, but at least something worthwhile is getting done.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment