Monthly Archives: July 2015

National Council on Disability Progress Report Celebrates 25 Years of ADA, Envisions Next 25

The 2015 edition of this report, which fulfills NCD’s statutory mandate to annually report and make recommendations concerning the state of disability policy in the United States, holds special significance as the nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In recognition of this landmark legislation, NCD has dedicated this report to exploring how the ADA and other federal legislation has been put into practice by five specific state and local agencie including Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity; Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicaid; and the Disability Policy Consortium

The report focuses on employment, education, health care, transportation, and housing, and demonstrates the impact of federal legislation and the critical role that disability advocates and state and local officials have played who translate the spirit and letter of the ADA and other federal legislation into practice. It also lays out NCD’s vision for the next 25 years of the ADA with specific policy recommendations.

Thanks to the Unsung Heroes for Keeping us Safe

By Michael A. Cohen   July 04, 2015

As Americans celebrate America’s 239th birthday Saturday, we should pause to thank those who defend and uphold our freedoms every day.

No, I don’t mean the armed forces. They certainly do their part — and their courage and service to the nation is unquestioned. But what about the unsung protectors of freedom? Like, for example, public defenders.

The right to counsel is a fundamental constitutional protection. For those who are arrested and can’t afford a lawyer — as we’ve all heard on countless episodes of “Law & Order’’ — “one will be appointed for you.” More often than not, the lawyer that Americans receive is an underpaid, understaffed defense attorney whose job it is to protect you from the awesome power of the state to take away your liberty. It doesn’t matter if one is guilty or innocent; the right to counsel is sacrosanct and so too is the responsibility of that lawyer to provide the best possible defense. None of this is meant to slight prosecutors, who have the duty of upholding the rule of law, or judges, whose job it is to ensure that the receipt of justice is swift, fair, and without prejudice. But when it comes to defending Americans’ most basic freedom from the state, it’s hard to think of a purer example than public defenders. Continue reading

Distraught People, Deadly Results

According to a report in the Washington Post, police in the US have shot and killed 124 people this year who were in the throes of mental or emotional crisis, . The dead account for a quarter of the 462 people shot to death by police in the first six months of 2015. Read the article here.

MHLD Changes

The MHLD has instituted several changes for FY 2016. They are detailed in the attached memos and notice. Here is the CPCS Mental Health Registration and Court Preferences form for panel members to select which subpanel or panels they want to join, their court preferences and confirmation that they do not represent institutional petitioners in guardianship or civil commitment. Memo to Panel Members July 1, 2015Memo to Panel Limiting Panel Membership 06.23.15