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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Congressional Lawmakers Want Civil Rights Laws Strengthened
February 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC--The Associated Press distributed a brief item Thursday, reporting that Congressional Democrats have presented legislation to strengthen civil rights laws they claim have been eroded by the courts.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said that the courts have interpreted anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, in ways that limit protections and financial settlements.

Kennedy said the measure would strengthen existing laws where "courts have let us down by unacceptably narrow constructions of existing law or where Congress has unfortunately been less than clear."

The bill, which was not named in the article, addresses situations in which the courts have refused to allow financial damages where the ADA was deliberately violated, along with cases of discrimination based on gender or age. Discrimination and unfair labor practices against undocumented workers would also be covered.

The report said that the bill does not address hate crimes or discrimination based on sexual orientation, nor does it attempt to make gender pay equity a civil right. Those issues have been repeatedly blocked in the Congress.

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