President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law on July 26, 1990. The ADA laid the foundation for an America "in which all the doors are open to equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for all for persons with disabilities."

President George H. W. Bush signing the ADA into law in 1990...and later as a wheelchair user

In the above photos, you see then-President Bush signing the ADA into law in 1990, and a more recent shot of the former president who now relies on a wheelchair to get around (and likes picking out cool socks). We are all seniors in training, if we're lucky.

Since that time, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has been charged with enforcing the ADA. For anyone covered under or affected by the ADA (pretty much anyone reading this) it is worth taking time to view the official ADA page to learn more about the law and associated regulations, enforcement, technical assistance, design standards, etc.

While Ramp Up Idaho members are focused on 'removing barriers to removing barriers,' the ADA is not an optional thing for those covered; it's the law. We can provide information on financial incentives, technical assistance and other resources to help small businesses overcome any real or perceived obstacles to creating access. But it's up to covered  public and private entities to ensure compliance with the ADA in the built environment, programs, activities and events.

And remember, the ADA is about so much more than wheelchair ramps, curb cuts and accessible bathrooms. Ramp Up Idaho members see this project as a 'gateway conversation' to help communities and businesses think more broadly about community access and what it means to everyone. We want to see compliance that makes things better, not complaints that cost you or taxpayers money.

So do some homework, conduct a self-evaluation and make a plan for creating better access. Because someday you or someone you care about will need it, and you'll be glad you were paying attention.

To explore the official site, visit

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