Title II calls for all branches and agencies of state and local governments, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and any commuter authorities, to take adequate steps to ensure that people with disabilities have the highest level of accessibility to the same services, programs and activities that people without disabilities enjoy.
To deliver this objective of total accessibility and integration, the covered entities are charged with supplying “…the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.” These requirements include providing: auxiliary communication aids and services; accessible restrooms and parking spaces; admittance for individually trained and appropriately controlled service animals; and accessible seating for ticketed events and activities.
In 1999, two women in Georgia brought suit against that state’s segregationist policies against people with disabilities. This suit brought about the landmark Olmstead decision, wherein the Supreme Court ruled (6-3), that under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the “unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination,” and held that states’ services must be provided in integrated, community-based settings when possible. The U.S. solicitor general also declared, “The unjustified segregation of people in institutions, when community placement is appropriate, constitutes a form of discrimination prohibited by Title II [of the ADA].”
Additionally, Title II provides anti-discriminatory rules applicable to Public Transportation, particularly with regard to wheelchair accessibility. Except for historic vehicles, any public transportation that “provides the general public with general or special service on a regular and continuing basis,” must provide accessible, securable spots inside the vehicles for passengers who use wheelchairs, and storage for foldable wheelchairs for those who choose to transfer to seats.
Title II defends the rights of people with disabilities to live life on their own terms and with all the public benefits afforded to every American citizen.