The Government Services program works to ensure that Massachusetts' policies and practices are consistent with state and federal laws. This unit works with other facets of state government on behalf of the needs of people with disabilities to resolve problems before they turn to crisis. Some of the activities are described below.
Inter-Agency Disability Services Coordinating Council (David D'Arcangelo, Chair): This Council was created by Executive Order 352. It has met since late 1994. Heads of agencies providing disability or disability related services comprise this body. The Council serves to:
- Improve the accessibility and delivery of services;
- Evaluate and monitor the system by which services are delivered and coordinate and develop recommendations for streamlining;
- Identify functions which would be more efficient if consolidated or eliminated;
- Make recommendations and reports to the Governor from time to time;
- Coordinate with the Governors Special Commission on Disability Policy.
Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator: MOD coordinates the Executive Department of the Commonwealth's efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is the touchstone within Massachusetts government for technical assistance, trouble-shooting and advice on all disability related issues. All entities of state government are required to comply with the provisions of the ADA. Under the ADA, entities of state and local governments are required to make all of their programs, activities and services accessible. This includes both physical access for people who have mobility impairments and communication access for people with vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities. MOD maintains list of individuals assigned to be ADA Coordinators in state agencies and each municipality.
MOD offers training and technical assistance to colleagues across state government, intervening as necessary to ensure the Commonwealth complies with its obligations under the myriad of federal and state laws regarding disability discrimination; these laws include:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — The primary federal civil rights law designed to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination and clear, strong, consistent, and enforceable standards for addressing discrimination of persons with disabilities. The ADA has 5 jurisdictional titles: Title I: Employment, Title II: State and Local Governments, Title III: Public Accommodations, Title IV: Telecommunications, Title V: Miscellaneous. For more information on the ADA, you may visit the U.S. Government’s website at: http://www.ada.gov
- Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973 - a federal law which protects individuals with disabilities from being excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by entities that receives federal funds. Federal agencies that provide funding typically have their own regulations that specifically describe how the entities they fund must ensure non-discrimination. For additional information on Section 504, please visit either http://www.ada.gov or the federal agency applicable to your concern.
- Mass. General Law Chp. 151b - State law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in matters of employment or housing.
- Mass General Law Chp 272 - Several sections of this chapter of state law prohibit discrimination against individuals in places of public accommodation. Section 92A prohibits discrimination through any advertisement, notice, or signage. Section 98 prohibits discrimination in the admission of any person to, or his/her treatment in any place of public accommodation. Section 98A permits service dogs in places of public accommodation.
- Executive Orders 351, 352 & 526
- Executive Order 351 established the Governor's Special Advisory Commission on Disability Policy, a body comprised of twenty four people primary responsibility is to advise the director of MOD on concerning policy, planning, and needs in the Commonwealth for programs and services for persons with disabilities; and, to advise the Governor and senior policy managers, including executive secretaries, on issues affecting people with disabilities.
- Executive Order 352 established An Inter-Agency Disability Services Coordinating Council comprised of no more than 15 people who shall strive to improve the accessibility and delivery of disability services in the Commonwealth by evaluating and monitoring the system by which disability services are delivered and coordinate and develop recommendations for streamlining the system.
- Executive Order 526 affirmed the Commonwealth’s commitment to Non-discrimination, diversity, and equal opportunity in all aspects of state employment, programs, services, activities, and decisions; and, it established specific policies and procedures to ensure that this goal is achieved.
FHA, Fair Housing – Federal law that protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. For additional information on the Fair Housing Act, please visit: U.S. HUD Fair Housing Information
Other Key Boards and Commissions:
- Access Advisory Committee of the MBTA
- Architectural Access Board
- Department of Corrections - ADA Task Force
- Department of Education's Special Education Advisory Council
- Department of Transportation ADA Task Force
- Developmental Disabilities Council
- E911 Board
- E911 Equipment Distribution Program
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency - Shelter Project Management Team
- Mass. Enterprise Security Board, the Information and Technology Division
- Model Employer Taskforce
- New England ADA Technical Assistance Center
- Rehabilitation Council of Mass Commission for the Blind
- Rehabilitation Council of Mass Rehab Commission
- Statewide Independent Living Council
- Statewide Personal Care Attendant Coalition
- Universal Access Committee
Cooperative on-going efforts with other agencies:
- Administrative Office of the Trial Courts
- Department of Capital Asset Management
- Mass Commission for the Blind - Rehabilitation Council
- Mass Rehabilitation Commission - Rehabilitation Council
- Office of the Attorney General - Disability Rights Project
- Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth - Voting Access