Presidential Candidates and Campaigns

 

George W. Bush On The Issues 2000

George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues

Disabilities

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 homeownership.  

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 American dream.

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 assistive technologies.
  • 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 tax-free benefit.  
  • 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 transportation.
  • 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 organizations.


    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 office.

  • 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 with disabilities.

  • Signed legislation creating a pilot voucher program for personal assistance services.

  • 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 those services.

    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 reasonable accommodations.

  • Employed college students with disabilities in the “Governor's Fellowship Program.”

  • Signed legislation that strengthened non-discrimination based on genetic testing.

    Increased Access through Appointments

  • Appointed an accomplished attorney with a disability to the Texas Supreme Court.

  • 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 information.

  • 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 disabilities.

    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 inspections.

  • 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 Bobby compliant.

  • Campaign materials are accessible for individuals with visual impairments and are available in Braille and large print from the campaign.  


    Position Proposals

Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site

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