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Release: Dec. 18, 2000

Iowa Law Review publishes special ADA-related issue

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The current special issue of the "Iowa Law Review" examines the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and includes an introduction by Gov. Tom Vilsack and Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson commemorating the 10th anniversary of the passage of the law. Vilsack and Pederson describe how the ADA has created economic and social opportunities for persons with disabilities and how Americans of all abilities may continue to expand their opportunities to change our world.

The August 2000 issue also contains comments by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and the findings of a new study "The Emerging Workforce of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities: Preliminary Study of Entrepreneurship in Iowa." That piece is one of few studies that have examined self-employment as an option for persons with disabilities and is co-authored with law professors Peter Blanck and Leonard Sandler, and by two other ADA specialists, James Schmeling and Helen Schartz, of Iowa's Law, Health Policy & Disability Center (LHPDC).

The study explores the composition, quality, and competitiveness of the emerging workforce of persons with disabilities. The study supports other government studies showing that entrepreneurship is vital to the U.S. economy, and, importantly, continues to promote economic growth and attitudinal change for disabled persons. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are part of a nationwide strategy to help disabled people transition from unemployment, underemployment, or entitlement-based programs to gainful employment and self-sufficiency.

Blanck says their research may help others in making assessments in health care reform, welfare reform, technological reform, and attitudinal change. The group's investigation also looks at how self-employment expands employment opportunities and improves the quality of life for people with disabilities in Iowa.

Blanck and his colleagues note that despite encouraging trends, further research must examine the causes of high unemployment levels facing persons with disabilities.

"Policymakers, employers, and members of the disability community must discuss labor force strategies in ways that articulate the values and goal of the nation's policies affecting persons with disabilities," Blanck says.

Michael Stein, assistant professor, College of William & Mary School of Law; Robert Silverstein, director of the Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy; Bruce G. Flynn, former director of the disability management for the Washington Business Group on Health; and David Ricksecker, UI law student, also provided articles for the special ADA issue.

Blanck and Walter Olson, senior fellow, The Manhattan Institute, debated in a final piece called, "The Unintended Consequences of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

To obtain copies of the ADA issue, contact the "Iowa Law Review" staff at (319) 335-9132 or e-mail

For more information about the Law, Health Policy & Disability Research, or accessible version of research reports, contact the Disability Center at (319) 335-8458 or on-line at