Editor’s Column – June 2001

This month we report on two important ADA lawsuits.  The best known one is the Casey Martin decision sent down […]

This month we report on two important ADA lawsuits.  The best known one is the Casey Martin decision sent down by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 29th.  Attorney Kathy Hagen gives a clear and straightforward report on this landmark case for this issue.  Just five days earlier, on May 24th, a less well known lawsuit was initiated here in the Twin Cities, also having to do with access to sports for people with disabilities.  That one has to do with a mom in a wheelchair who is suing for the right to see her son play sports in the same way that most moms can.  Our first report on this case appears on page 12. We’ll be following this case as it proceeds through the courts, so stay tuned.

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Lots of opportunities in this month’s issue!  Learn how to volunteer for several state advisory committees for people with disabilities, and for information on volunteering to test new voice technology in motor vehicles.  See the “In Brief” section to find out about going to the zoo, going to the woods, and going to sign-language camp.  Get involved, and have some fun!

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Bob Brick illustrates the many ways that state government programs and services impact the lives of people with disabilities.  Although we seem to have averted a government shutdown for this year, Bob’s piece illustrates that we shouldn’t take these things for granted.

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Typically the June issue includes a “Legislative Wrap-up,” summarizing what went on during the legislative session that usually ends in May.  This year, the legislature has failed to get its work done on time, so our wrap-up will have to wait until July.  Advocates I have spoken with have been using words like “shameful” and “appalling” to describe the performance of the new” tri-partisan” experiment, which seems more interested in providing politically-popular refunds and rebates than it is in meeting the needs of our citizens.  It is truly an outrage that our state is looking at funding cuts in everything from education to transit to health care at a time of record budget surpluses.  How can we even call them “surpluses” when so many needs are going unmet?

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For the first time ever, a photo of someone other than Charlie Smith appears at the beginning of this column.  I imagine that this seems as strange to Access Press readers as it does to us!   Tim and I will do our best to continue the work that Charlie has carried on so well.  On June 3rd a wonderful public tribute to Charlie’s life and work was held in St. Paul.  A proclamation issued by the Governor on that day appears on this page, and our report on the event appears in this issue.