With this era of hyper-partisanship, we sometimes forget that this country has a rich history of bipartisan cooperation between liberals and conservatives on important bills. One of the greatest collaborations between a liberal and a conservative legislator is the bipartisan legislation championed by liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy and conservative Republican Orrin Hatch. During their time in the Senate, Kennedy and Hatch became close friends and the collaborate on several important laws, among them the Orphan Drug Act, the Ryan White AIDs Act, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Mammography Standards Act, and the Serve America Act. All of these laws greatly benefited average Americans.
One of the most important pieces of legislation that Kennedy and Hatch collaborated on was the American With Disabilities Act. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Here is an interview with Ted Kennedy where he talks about the legislative process that led to the passage of the American With Disabilities Act of 1990.