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Chapter 3. Accessibility in Law and Poli... > The Evolution of Law in Changing Soc...

The Evolution of Law in Changing Society

The Rehabilitation Act was landmark legislation in which, for the first time, Congress declared that it is of critical importance to the nation that the equality of opportunity and equal rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution are provided to all individuals, including those with disabilities. This was a commitment to the essential fact that the complete integration of all individuals with disabilities into normal community living, working, and service patterns was to be held as a final objective, and in making that commitment the federal government established principles of access that have been adopted by society as a whole.

The Rehabilitation Act has been amended several times over the years to address the experiences of implementation and the enormous changes in society and technology. The amendments most relevant to the subject of this book are those made to Section 508. The 1998 amendments to Section 508 mandate that information technology, like other public facilities, must be made accessible to everyone, regardless of disability. We will examine Section 508 in greater detail later in the chapter. First, let’s become familiar with the laws that preceded and informed the amendments to Section 508.


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