Monday, September 22, 2008

Congress Expands Protections for Disabled

In an effort to undo recent Supreme Court decisions involving Americans with disabilities, Congress as approved legislation that expands protections for the disabled.

The New York Times reports:

The bill expands the definition of disability and makes it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It explicitly rejects the strict standards used by the Supreme Court to determine who is disabled.

The bill declares that the court went wrong by “eliminating protection for many individuals whom Congress intended to protect” under the 1990 law.

“The Supreme Court misconstrued our intent,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic leader. “Our intent was to be inclusive.”

In an effort to clarify the intent of Congress, the bill says, “The definition of disability in this act shall be construed in favor of broad coverage.”

Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, the principal Republican sponsor in the House, said, “Courts have focused too heavily on whether individuals are covered by the law, rather than on whether discrimination occurred.”

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Palin Avoids Subpoena, For Now

Alaska governor and Republican candidate for vice president Sarah Palin will not be subpoenaed by a bi-partisan legislative committee investigating the so-called Trooper-Gate Scandal - just yet that is.

The bipartisan committee overseeing the investigation announced today in a press release that they're moving up the date that they release the results of their investigation by three weeks, meaning it should come out in early October. The commitee, led by Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat also announced that it would meet on September 12 to issue subpoenas in the case.

But according to the release, Palin herself will not be subpoenaed. The committee still holds out hope that she will talk to indepedendent investigator Steven Branchflower voluntarily.

The committee's decision was based on Palin's avowal that she will cooperate fully with the investigation.

French had initially indicated that subpoenas likely wouldn't be necessary, since Palin had pledged her full cooperation. But earlier this week, Palin's lawyer warned that unless the case were handed over to the state personnel board -- whose three members are appointed by the governor -- Palin would not be made available to testify. And according to the release: This week, seven key witnesses informed Mr. Branchflower through their attorneys that they would not provide depositions. Their depositions, which had been agreed to and scheduled earlier with Mr. Branchflower, were cancelled within the last 72 hours."