George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues
Governor Bush believes that all
Americans should have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage
in productive work, choose where to live, and participate in community
life. Although progress has been made over the last two decades
–most prominently with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities
Act in 1990 – Governor Bush believes that much more needs to be done.
Governor Bush has proposed a “New Freedom Initiative,” $1.025
billion over 5 years to expand access to assistive technology, to further
integrate Americans with disabilities into the workforce, and to remove
barriers to full participation in community life for all Americans.
Governor Bush’s Approach
Independent Living: Assistive and universally designed
technology can significantly enhance the independence and quality of life
for people with disabilities. Governor Bush will remove the federal
barriers to assistive technology by increasing funding for research,
improving federal coordination, and improving access to assistive
technology. Education and homeownership are other keys to independent
living, and Governor Bush will expand access to quality education and
Expand Work Opportunity: As President, Governor Bush will
work to ensure that Americans with disabilities can claim their rightful
place in the workforce. Under the ADA, workplaces are less
forbidding that they once were. But many still find it difficult or
impossible to get to the workplace. Therefore, Governor Bush will
pass measures to make transportation more accessible and affordable and to
aggressively promote telework. In addition, Governor Bush will
ensure that Americans with disabilities do not lose their disabilities
benefits once they take a job.
Access to Community Life: Governor Bush believes that we
should work together to eliminate barriers to full participation in civic
life. Americans with disabilities should have full access to
community-based care, quality mental health services, access to the
political process, and access to ADA-exempt organizations such as
religious organizations and clubs.
Governor Bush’s “New Freedom Initiative”
Governor Bush has proposed a comprehensive “New Freedom Initiative”
to help ensure that all Americans with disabilities have every chance to
use their own skills and make more of their own choices to pursue the
To increase access to technology for Americans with disabilities and
expand opportunities to function, learn, and live independently, as
President, Governor Bush will:
- Triple the Rehabilitative Engineering Research Centers’ budget for
- Create a new fund to help bring assistive technologies to market.
- Increase tenfold the funding for low-interest loan programs to
purchase assistive technologies.
In addition, Governor Bush will:
- Work with Congress to increase funding for special education with
the goal of meeting the federal obligation under the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act.
- Focus Title I funds on earlier grades to identify children with
disabilities, and invest $5 billion over five years to establish the
“Reading First” program.
- Reform HUD’s Section 8 rental voucher program for people with
disabilities to permit recipients to use up to a year’s worth of
vouchers to finance the down payment on a home.
To further integrate Americans with disabilities into the
workforce, Governor Bush will:
- Provide $20 million in federal matching funds to states to guarantee
low-interest loans for individuals with disabilities to purchase
computers and other equipment necessary to telework from home.
- Support legislation to make a company’s contribution of computer
and Internet access for home use by employees with disabilities a
- Promote innovative transportation solutions for people with
disabilities by providing $45 million in funding for 10 pilot programs
run by state or local governments in regional, urban, and rural areas.
- Establish a competitive, $100 million matching grant program to
promote access to community-based alternative methods of
- Sign an Executive Order to support effective and swift
implementation of the “Ticket-to-Work and Work Incentives
Improvement Act” that gives Americans with disabilities the ability
to choose their own support services and maintain their health
benefits when they return to work.
- Support full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and
provide $25 million in technical assistance to help small businesses
comply with the Act.
To increase access for Americans with disabilities into community
life, Governor Bush will:
- Sign an Executive Order supporting the most integrated
community-based setting for individuals with disabilities, pursuant to
the Supreme Court decision in Olmstead.
- Create a National Commission to recommend reforms of the mental
health service delivery system and support improving access to the
polls and ballot secrecy for people with disabilities.
- Provide $10 million in matching funds annually to increase the
accessibility of organizations that are currently exempt from Title
III of the ADA, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and civic
Governor Bush’s Record
As Governor of Texas, Governor Bush has increased opportunities for
individuals with disabilities, ranging from committing additional
resources for community-based services and encouraging employment, to
increasing access to public facilities and making appointments to
state boards, commissions, and the Texas Supreme Court. Specifically,
Governor Bush has:
Increased Access to Services
- Worked with the Legislature to increase funding for community-based
services by more than $1.7 billion, a 72 percent increase since taking
- In September 1999, Directed the Texas Health and Human Services
Commission (HHSC) to conduct a comprehensive review of all services
and support systems available to people with disabilities in Texas and
make recommendations on how Texas can improve its programs for people
- Signed legislation creating a pilot voucher program for personal
- Promoted and signed legislation that created the Children's Health
Insurance Program providing access to health care for every child up
to 200% of the poverty level, including children with disabilities.
- Signed legislation that requires that at least one member of the
board of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
be a consumer of MHMR services, or a family member of a consumer of
Increased Access to Employment
- Released first-ever Texas data about state employees showing that
professional level employment of persons with disabilities in state
government is increasing.
- Encouraged state agency directors to increase employment of persons
with disabilities and to use the Job Accommodation Network to make
- Employed college students with disabilities in the “Governor's
- Signed legislation that strengthened non-discrimination based on
Increased Access through Appointments
- Appointed an accomplished attorney with a disability to the Texas
- Appointed many Texans with disabilities to serve on state boards and
commissions such as the Science and Technology Council, the Board of
Architectural Examiners, the Board for Nursing Facility
Administrators, and many disability-related boards.
Increased Education Access
- Promoted and signed legislation that provided for increased local
control of education, including increased district and campus
accountability for performance of students with disabilities.
- Signed revisions to the Texas Education Code allowing assistive
technology devices to follow students to new school districts or to
adult service providers.
- Required the Texas Education Agency to provide parents of special
education students a comprehensive, easily understood document setting
forth their legal rights and responsibilities.
- Signed legislation that increased the use of Spanish in the
development of individualized special education plans as necessary.
Increased Technology Access
- Created a Governor's Office website that includes disability
- Signed legislation that requires state agency websites to be
accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Signed legislation that ensured accessible telecommunications
services to Texans with disabilities.
- Signed legislation creating and expanding a specialized
telecommunications device assistance program for people with
Increased Access to Communities, Public Facilities and Homes
- Signed legislation that improved accessible parking for persons with
disabilities, including increased fines for violators.
- Signed legislation that strengthened the state architectural
barriers act which includes a system of building plan reviews and
- Promoted and signed legislation creating funding for preservation of
historic Texas county courthouses, that can include ADA renovations.
- One of fewer than five states, whose accessibility standards have
been certified by the U.S. Department of Justice as equivalent to the
ADA accessibility guidelines.
- Signed legislation that requires “visitability,” basic access,
in publicly funded, single family homes.
- Signed legislation that defined assistance dogs to include guide and
support dogs and increased penalties for non-admittance to public
facilities by persons using such dogs.
- Signed legislation that requires reasonable accommodations for
jurors who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Provided training for Governor's Office employees on the
requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Completed renovation of the Governor’s Mansion and office building
to increase accessibility for people with disabilities.
In addition, Governor Bush’s Presidential Campaign Is Accessible
to People with Disabilities:
- Campaign office is accessible to individuals using wheelchairs.
- Campaign events are translated into sign language.
- Campaign phones are accessible to hearing impaired individuals
through a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD).
- Campaign Website accessible to individuals with disabilities and
- Campaign materials are accessible for individuals with visual
impairments and are available in Braille and large print from the
Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site
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