Skip to content

Murray Statement Commemorating 25th Anniversary of Landmark Civil Rights Legislation for Americans with Disabilities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released the following statement commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law on July 26, 1990.


“In the 25 years that have passed since the ADA’s signing, doors to equality and inclusion have opened for Americans with disabilities, but while we celebrate this anniversary and the progress that we have made, we need to look to the future for ways we can build on the foundation of this historic civil rights law to create a better future for all Americans.


“Today, too many Americans with disabilities still face barriers to education, employment, living in our communities, and achieving the American dream, and that is unacceptable. One important step we can take to build a better future is setting high expectation for students with disabilities, and then ensuring that they have the resources, support, and opportunities they need to learn in the classroom and find a job. Though our work is not yet complete, I was proud the Senate passed my bipartisan bill to fix the broken No Child Left Behind law, which includes key provisions to set high expectations for students with disabilities. And, last year, Congress passed my bipartisan workforce investment bill, which took major steps to ensure that as young people with disabilities finish school, they are able to transition to good paying jobs in their communities. And it is time to finally ratify the long-overdue United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty so that our country can continue to be a world leader on disability rights and encourage other countries to make progress toward equal opportunity and access.  


“While we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this landmark civil rights legislation and celebrate the hard-won victories, we must also look to the future. I will continue to work to address the barriers that remain so that all people, including people with disabilities, can realize the American dream. We’re not there yet, and that is why it is vitally important that Congress continue to work in a bipartisan way to expand opportunity for people with disabilities.”


Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on July 13, 1990, and President George H. W. Bush signed the Act into law on July 26, 1990. On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. To overturn other judicial decisions that narrowed the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and to restore protections for people with disabilities, Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and President George W. Bush signed the Act into law in September of 2008. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, remains one of the most significant and effective civil rights laws passed by Congress. The United States Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Act in Olmstead v. L.C. has been a catalyst to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the United States.