Federal Laws Supporting the Independent Living Movement

  • 1968 Architectural Barriers Act (designed to eliminate architectural barriers in all federally owned or leased buildings)
  • 1970 Urban Mass Transit Act (required that all new purchases of mass transit vehicles be life equipped; APTA sought and won a court injunction barring implementation of the proposed regulations)
  • 1973 Rehabilitation Act (Section 504 and related non-discrimination provisions in programs receiving federal funds)
  • 1975 Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights Act (Protection & Advocacy or P&A agencies in each state established)
  • 1975 P.L. 94-142, Education of All Handicapped Children Act (written to require a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment; mainstreaming children with disabilities into regular classrooms)
  • 1978 Rehabilitation Act Amendments (Title VII, Comprehensive Services for Independent Living, was created; Part B funded creation and operation of “centers”)
  • 1983 Rehabilitation Act Amendments (mandated that each state operate a Client Assistance Project or CAP; Title VII Part A funded by services for IL clients – a concept parallel to the basic VR program)
  • 1985 Mental Illness Bill of Rights Act (Expanded P&As to cover mental illness) 1985 Rehabilitation Act Amendments (advocates fought for and won consumer control” for Title VII Part B center boards; supported work programs created and funded)
  • Federal Laws Supporting Independent Living Movement 1988 Air Carrier Access Act (designed to provide for equal access on private airlines)
  • 1988 Civil Rights Restoration Act (clarified that any organization or corporation receiving federal funds may not discriminate in any of their programs)
  • 1988 Fair Housing Act Amendments (prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in housing and creates universal design in new construction provisions)
  • 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (creates broad civil rights protections for people with disabilities modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

* Maggie Shreve is a consultant to ILCs. This paper was written under a federal grant for an ILC Training Module, around 1982.