The University of Alabama Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program School of Law Clinical Program 2003 Alabama Disability Summit On August 14, 2003 the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program hosted its third annual Disability Summit. Disability rights activists, advocates, consumers, family members, and others gathered at the historic Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church for a morning session that featured Mr. Nick Dupree, Secretary of State Nancy Worley, Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Commissioner Kathy Sawyer, and Governor Bob Riley. Mr. Dupree led off the session discussing the Supreme Court's Olmstead v. L.C. decision in relation to Brown v. Board of Education, comparing the racial desegregation of schools in Brown to desegregation of persons with disabilities under Olmsted through deinstitutionalization and community placement. Nick Dupree is a veteran disability rights activist at the age of twenty-one. His efforts, along with ADAP, and “Nick's Crusade" (www.nickscrusade.com) led to the development of a new Technology Assistance Waiver approved by Medicaid in February 2003. This waiver allows qualified Alabamians with disabilities over the age of twenty-one to receive services at home, thereby limiting the need to place these young adults in institutions. Following Mr. Dupree, Secretary of State Nancy Worley addressed accessible voting for persons with disabilities and Alabama. Secretary Worley expressed her commitment to ensuring accessible voting and explained the provisions of the recently enacted Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that apply to persons with disabilities. Secretary Worley encouraged people to contact her office (www.sos.state.al.us) with any questions or comments about the new HAVA requirements. Any problems with voting for persons with disabilities should be reported to her office. Kathy Sawyer presented an overview of the Wyatt Settlement. Commissioner Sawyer praised the progress the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation has made under Wyatt. The Commissioner also urged the audience to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming tax referendum on September 9. Gov. Riley concluded the morning session by outlining his proposed tax package. The Governor emphasized that the package will both increase tax revenue for the state and relieve the tax burden of those least able to pay. Warning that misinformation about the tax package is being circulated, Governor Riley asked voters to educate themselves about details of the program. At the close of the Governor's address, ADAP staff and guests marched from the Church to the State Capitol Building for lunch and the afternoon session.
Posted by– January 17, 2011