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ISSUES

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Category: Disability Advice from the Disability Pros

This blog is about information that will help people navigate the disability community, benefit systems, and other fact related articles.

Colorado Voter Q & A from CCDC

As we get closer to the November election, questions about the process increase. We have a Q & A for you that may answer many of them.

Just a reminder: Colorado is a vote by mail state. This means you will receive your ballot in the mail and you can return it by mail, or drop your ballot off at a dropbox (secured and monitored by camera.)

You may have been hearing a lot in the media and from the White House about voter fraud surrounding mail-in ballots.  A study of the 2016 presidential election conducted by the Colorado secretary of state’s office uncovered 112 total instances of possible improper voting during the 2014 contest.  To put that in perspective, that is 112 out of 2.9 million voters or less than 0.004%!

You can ensure your vote counts but checking your voter registration status at the secretary of state website, and then return your ballot with enough time if you mail it or better still, drop it off at a voter dropbox. You can even check the status of the ballot you mailed in or dropped off. Just make sure your voice is heard.

Voting Q & A


All I am hearing about is the coming election. Does my vote even count?

Your vote does count! Recent elections across our country have been won or lost by a few hundred or thousand votes. Coloradoans will be voting for the President and who will represent us in the Senate. The President appoints and the Senate confirms judges that decide important civil rights cases and will determine the future of the ADA. They also decide who will run important agencies like Health and Human Services, Social Security, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that make rules that affect us. We will also be voting on important ballot measures that affect our daily life in Colorado.

I don’t know how to vote?

If you do not know how to vote the Secretary of State Website has a lot of great information including information for people with disabilities. If you cannot understand it call CCDC or any disability advocacy organization for assistance.

I do not know who to vote for?

As a non-profit organization, CCDC can not tell people to vote for or against candidates. One suggestion is to make a list of the services you use and then go to the candidate website and see if they are willing to fund the services. Do you use the Division of Rehabilitation (DVR), Medicaid (CDASS, Waivers, Homemaker Services), Special Education, public transportation? In early October, we will have a voter guide to explain ballot measures which will impact benefits and services for people with disabilities. We can suggest that people vote or against ballot measures. You make the final decision!

When will I receive my ballot?

Ballots will be mailed beginning October 9. It may take up to a week to receive your ballots.

I am nervous about mailing my ballot in. Are there other ways for me to vote or return my ballot?

In Colorado, we have several ways to vote. A person can vote in person at a voting service center, mail a ballot in, or drop their ballot off at a dropbox which all have cameras. CCDC is encouraging our members to vote early and drop them off at a drop box. If you are unable to drop your ballot off, you can have an aide or friend drop it off. Anyone can drop off 9 ballots and their own per election. You may be able to drop off another person’s ballot. There is a number on each ballot envelope that you can use to make sure your ballot is counted. Justvotecolorado.org will tell you where the nearest voter service center location is and dropbox. Remember each Coloradoan can vote only 1 time so make sure your voice is counted.

I do not know if I’m registered to vote.

You can find out here: Find my Registration and if you are not registered or your registration is not correct you can Register to Vote.

I have a guardian, can I vote?

Yes, Here in Colorado individuals who have a guardian can vote.

When is the last day I can register to vote?

People can register to vote and vote on election day until 7 pm (Tuesday, November 3rd) when the polls close.

I use special equipment to type or correspond.

Colorado law has provisions to help you vote in private if you want to. Go to Accessible Voting for information.

When are ballots due?

ALL ballots must be in by 7 pm on Tuesday, November 3. This means they must be in, not postmarked. So if you mail your ballot, mail it at least ten days before 11/3 (or on 10/24).

I have another question.

Call Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing, at 303-531-7333


 

Returning to Work

An Employee’s Guide from CCDC

  1. Questions to Ask
  2. Talk to Your Employer
  3. Reasonable Accommodations
  4. Other Options
  5. Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment
  6. Discrimination
  7. Resources

CCDC has received questions about returning to work as it relates to people with disabilities.   Our state has a return to work guidance that is relevant to unemployment.   The EEOC has also issued guidance about returning to work.  It is in Section G: Return to Work.

People with disabilities and those we live with have vastly different experiences and needs.  Therefore, this is not intended to be directive or legal guidance.  This document should help people think about what questions they need to ask of themselves and their employers.   


Questions to Ask

  • Do you have a disability?  
    • The ADA defines disability as a substantial impairment in a major life activity.  
    • People who are considered disabled or have a record or history of disability are also covered under anti-discrimination laws. 
  • If yes, does your particular disability make you vulnerable or at risk if you get COVID-19?  
    • Possible disabilities that put you at increased risk include respiratory disabilities, heart conditions, neurological impairments, and chronic illnesses.   
  • Do you live with someone with a disability? 
    • If yes, does that disability make the person vulnerable or at risk if they get COVID-19?
  • Are you over 60?
  • Do you live with someone over 60?

Answering “Yes” to any of these questions means you have additional things to think about with regard to returning to work.   


Talk to Your Employer

OSHA Guidance for Employers

Questions to ask yourself and your employer:

  • Can my job be done remotely?   
    • If you have a disability, you could request this as a reasonable accommodation.   
    • If you do not have a disability yourself, there is no requirement to allow work from home, but governments, including the state of Colorado, are strongly encouraging this practice. 
  • Is my employer following COVID guidance issued by OSHA?  
    • Check on your employer’s return to work policies and workplace safety policies.  
  • Do I need to interact with the public as part of my job?  
    • If yes, is my employer mandating mask use?  
  • Do I have a safe way to report violations of company policy (such as people not wearing masks)?

Reasonable Accommodations

If you ask for a reasonable accommodation, remember:

  • You need to ask –your employer cannot read minds.  
    • Make your request in writing and explain the connection between your disability and the requested change.  
    • For example, I have a neurological disability and weakened lung capacity and request to work at home. Working from home reduces my exposure to other people and reduces my risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Your employer may have a specific form they want you to use.  
    • Use their way unless you have a disability-related reason not to.  
    • There is no sense in arguing about that issue.
  • Your employer will engage in an interactive process.  
    • It may be give-and-take on both sides.   
    • Be solution-focused.
  • You still need to be able to do the essential functions of your job.  
    • For example: If you are a customer service representative and the system can’t forward calls to your home phone, then an essential function of your job requires you to be in the office.

Other Options

If there is no way to accommodate you in your position consider:

  • Asking if there are other positions for which you qualify.
    • If so, ask for a transfer when there is an opening.
  • Ask how much stored up sick or vacation time you have. 
    • Likely it will not be enough to get through the remainder of the pandemic, but you can use it while you figure out your other options.
  • You MAY be eligible for unemployment
    • To maintain your eligibility for benefits, you must complete regular work search activities that help you return to work.  

Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment

  • If you fear your workplace is not safe and your management has not addressed concerns, you can look into the recently signed  Whistleblower Protection Public Health Emergencies Act
    • This new law offers significant protections for workers (employees and independent contractors) from discrimination or retaliation by their employers. 
    • Workers are protected from discrimination or retaliation for raising concerns about workplace safety or health during a public health emergency.
    • Workers are also protected when wearing their PPE at work. 
    • The full text of the law and more information is here: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/HB20-1415.

Discrimination

If you feel you have faced discrimination, see what your employer’s internal grievance process is.  If you are a member of a union, they should be able to help you.  Otherwise, if you want to file a discrimination complaint you must submit an administrative complaint with a government agency.  

You can go to the EEOC or the state Civil Rights Division if you believe you have faced disability discrimination.


Resources

EEOC Pandemic Guidance

Sate of Colorado Guidance

Guidance for Employers and General Public

 

Transit Updates

 

by Jaime Lewis - CCDC Transit Advocate and Advisor

July 9, 2020

  • Invest in America Act

  • RTD Reimagine

  • Rural Transportation

  • COVID- 19

  • Summary


1. Invest in America Act

State and County governments have struggled for two decades to fund repairs for roads and bridges.  Rising costs and dwindling gas tax revenues have left most of the roads and bridges in our state at near or below standards.

Congress is currently debating the Invest Act.  The Invest Act is a sub-portion of the larger act called the “Moving Forward Act” that will address housing, climate change, water, and land use.  Four highlights of the Invest Act are,

  • States would get more money to end traffic violence.  Thirty percent increase in road safety funding and sixty percent increase for bike lanes and sidewalks.  These percentages seem like a large increase but it must be noted that funding for these categories was small, to begin with.  It will be imperative to monitor and influence the way these funds will be spent.  Organizations like Mile High Connects, Denver Streets Partnership, Bicycle Colorado, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, and citizens like you will be essential to ensure monies are spent properly.
  • Departments of Transportation would have to fix existing roads before building new ones.  This issue may not appear to be a primary issue for someone who does not own a vehicle.  However, inter-connectivity across older roads, i.e. sidewalks, bicycle paths will help eliminate communities from being separated.
  • Congestion pricing is a tool that governments will be looking at closely.  Charging drivers during peak traffic periods may become a benefit to transit riders.  Some of the restrictions on using congestion pricing are that the jurisdiction cannot charge transit vehicles.  Roads designated for congestion pricing would also have to have a low-income alternative for the same route, i.e. bus, train.
  • The act will provide 8.3 billion dollars to lower the carbon footprint.  One of the efforts is to expand the use of E-Vehicles by building more infrastructure to support it.  Debates have already started whether this is a good investment.  Most planners who have been trying to lower the use of single-occupancy vehicles are against filling up our roads with E-vehicles.  In the advent that the population of E-vehicles increases our community must ensure that the product is accessible.

2. REIMAGINE

Two years ago, Dave Genova, former CEO of RTD had a vision.  He wanted to reimagine RTD.  In other words, what would people expect of RTD in 2050?

  • Meetings started shortly after his announcement.  There were an enthusiasm and large participation for the first two meetings.  Unfortunately, the pandemic, sliding economy, and civil unrest redirected the group to focus on service cuts to insure that RTD could survive financially.  The group is assisting RTD in dealing with financial realities, safety concerns, and unrealistic expectations that were placed on the organization two decades ago (trains, trains, trains).
  • No doubt, there will be service reductions for the district.  There will be an emphasis on maintaining and improving the remainder of the district after cuts to service.
  • One of the structures we are trying to maintain is the Access-a-Ride.  Under current policy RTD only provides service ¾ mile from fixed routes.  If routes are to be eliminated or shortened we must insist that AAR remain active in those areas.

3. RURAL TRANSPORTATION

The average length of a car trip is 2-4 miles.  Smaller communities provide little to no transportation for our elderly, disabled, and the general public.  A trip less than 4 miles could mean access to groceries, healthcare, recreation, and social interaction.

  • Rural communities must recognize the importance of keeping their citizens mobile.  Investing in local transportation helps maintain a healthy community and economy.  When local dollars are used to support transportation, those dollars stay in the community.
  • If you identify a small start-up carrier or a struggling transit system in your area start campaigning for local dollars to be invested into them.

4. COVID-19

  • Wear the damn mask!

That’s all I got to say about that.

5. Summary:

CCDC provides this information so you are informed of transit information.  We hope some of you will take this knowledge and use it to share with your local representatives.

  • Attend your local meetings if possible.
    • This includes City Council Meetings or County Commissioner meetings.
    • These government bodies are required to have virtual meetings so that you can participate.
  • Start a conversation.
    • You will be surprised how many elected officials are waiting for good input from you.

4 Things to Research Before Launching Your Political Career

Young professional woman speaking on the phone while looking at a laptop. Gives the impressions of someone doing research.

Article by Ed Carter Ablefutures.org | ed.carter@ablefutures.org

Running for office takes courage and determination, but it can also require some research. If you are a person who is living with disabilities and is contemplating getting more involved in politics, completing this research can help you make a more informed decision. Here are some of the essential topics you will need to look into before starting your campaign.  Continue reading “4 Things to Research Before Launching Your Political Career”

A horse is a sevice animal, of course, of course…

Listen to Colorado Public Radio (“CPR”) this afternoon, 12/30/19, at 4:50 PM to hear an interview by  CPR’s Andrew  Kenney with CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director (“LPD”), Kevin Williams, discuss service animals and the addition of miniature horses to the definition. You can find CPR on your FM dial at 90.1 (wait we do it some other way now, don’t we — sorry your Legal Program Director has been around for a while). In any event, the brief interview will air again today at that time. CCDC’s LPD also apologizes for having lost his voice on the very day the interview occurred. His very strange sounding voice is not the fault of the great people at CPR, we assure you. Continue reading “A horse is a sevice animal, of course, of course…”

Guidelines for Creating Accessible Meetings and Events

4 different signs, the first one is for Access for Hearing Loss, the second sign is for Sign Language Interpretation, the third sign is the International Sign for Accessibility and the fouth sign is a Map Pin Point.

 

It is the policy of the State of Colorado that all public meetings and events hosted by or permitted through a State agency are physically and programmatically accessible for all. These guidelines provide organizers with a brief overview of how to plan and stage accessible, inclusive events.

People with disabilities include those with physical, sensory, intellectual, perceptual, and mental health conditions and may require special accommodations to fully participate in public events. People who are older, pregnant, ill, or fatigued may also have accessibility needs. As accommodations may include items not described in these guidelines, organizers may need to do additional research.

 

 

 

STEP 1: PLAN FOR ACCESSIBILITY

  • Designate one person as Disability Coordinator for the event.
  • Strive to include people with disabilities in logistical and program planning.
  • Budget for accommodations, such as certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, stage lifts or ramps, and signage and materials in alternative formats.

 

STEP 2: CHOOSE AN ACCESSIBLE LOCATION

    • Assess potential facilities in person and check all areas for accessibility—parking, pathways, entrances, elevators, registration areas, stages, seating, and restrooms.
    • Lifting and carrying any individual does not constitute accessibility!
    • Features of an accessible location include:
      • Stage or speaker’s platform at grade or accessible by elevator, ramp, or lift;
      • Public transportation to site within 200 yards;
      • One accessible parking space and one van accessible parking space per 25 participants;
      • sidewalks to facility at least 36” wide;
      • No routes or pathways with grass, gravel, or a rise more than ½”;
      • Passenger drop off and pick up at entrance;
      • Accessible building entrance, preferably main entrance used by everyone; and
      • Doors at least 32” wide and open to 90° angle.

       

     

    STEP 3: CREATE ACCESSIBLE ANNOUNCEMENTS

      • All notices and announcements for the event or meeting must include a contact person (name, phone number, and email) to request disability accommodations.
      • Include a paragraph detailing accessible meeting information as part of each notice, including meeting agendas, emails, and website postings.
      • Always include the physical address, as it is required by transportation providers.
      • If a map is included, indicate bus or transit stops (if applicable) and accessible parking, seating, toilets, etc.
      • If posted on a website or via email, notices must be screen reader compatible. When posting as an attachment, use a word document or “smart pdf” or include all pertinent information in the body of the email message.

     

     

    STEP 4: CREATE AN ACCESSIBLE EVENT SPACE

      • The stage or speaker’s platform must be at grade or accessible by elevator, ramp, or lift.
      • Use directional and reserved seating signage with international disability symbols.
      • Find temporary signage online by searching for “temporary accessibility signs.”
      • Cover any wires and cords that run along the floor with tape or ramps.
      • For large crowds, provide a quiet space for those who need it.
      • Provide printed programs and other materials in alternative formats, upon request.
      • Accommodations for people with mobility limitations include:
        • Accessible microphones for speakers or presenters;
        • Pathways of at least 36”;
        • Reserved/marked wheelchair and companion seating near front or interspersed in audience;
        • One empty wheelchair space plus one companion chair per 25 participants; and
        • reserved extra chairs for those who may require seating (e.g., those who cannot stand for long periods of time).
      • Accommodations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing include:
        • One or more ASL interpreters for every 100 participants or upon request;
        • Reserved seating or standing area with a direct sight line to interpreter;
        • Interpreter positioned near speaker with adequate lighting and in full view of camera; and
      • For large events, a dedicated camera may be needed to project the interpreter on screen.

       

       

      STEP 5 : ASK FOR HELP

      • If you have questions, you can reach out to your agency’s ADA Coordinator, the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, or the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

       

       

      CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE COLORADO CROSS-DISABILITY COALITION AND THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Colorado Medical Exemption Program Updates

There are now two programs in CO one for Xcel consumers which provides relief on summer pricing; and the Black Hills program which is year-round reduced rate.   

The Chronic Care Collaborative is the administrator that processes the applications and confirms usage with Xcel or Black Hills to qualify a residential customer.  Sabrina is the staff person who can assist your staff or constituents. She can be reached at 303-993-5056. Or sabrina.padilla@ccc-co.org

What follows is the updated links with the application and information for 2019.  Feel free to post this on your website or include in newsletters with your constituents, members or participants. 

Xcel customers

https://www.xcelenergy.com/billing_and_payment/understanding_your_bill/energy_assistance_options/colorado_medical_exemption_program

The direct link to the info sheet PDF: https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe-responsive/Billing%20&%20Payment/Energy%20Assistance/CO-medical-exemption-program-info-sheet.pdf

Direct link to the application PDF: https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe/Corporate/CO%20Medical%20Excemption%20Program%20App.pdf

Black Hills 

https://www.blackhillsenergy.com/products-services-programs/colorado-medical-exemption-program

Chronic Care Collaborative web page

https://www.chroniccarecollaborative.org/cmep/

Update on DOJ Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement, Denver Curb Ramps and Denver Sidewalks

One year ago today, the Department of Justice reached an agreement with the City and County of Denver (“City”) under Project Civic Access (“PCA”), the Department’s initiative to ensure that cities, towns, and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). That agreement covers accessibility to numerous programs, services, activities and facilities throughout Denver. The agreement specifically addresses Law Enforcement and Effective Communication, Polling Places, Emergency Management Procedures and Policies, Physical Changes to Emergency Shelters, Web-Based Services and Programs, New Construction, Alterations and Physical Changes to Facilities, Programs for Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse. Many of the deadlines for compliance occurred today, one year after the effective date of the agreement. Click on these links to review the DOJ Press Release and for the DOJ Settlement Agreement. Also, attached is a PDF version of the Agreement with all of the one-year deadlines highlighted.

The Settlement Agreement contains one error in that it states that “On January 20, 2016, Denver and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center [“CREEC”] reached a separate agreement addressing accessible sidewalks and curb ramps in Denver.” It is correct that CREEC with the assistance of CCDC reached a class action settlement agreement with the City regarding curb ramps, but sidewalks were not addressed. Click on the link to review the Curb Ramp Settlement Agreement. Click on the link here to see CREEC’s Website. This Settlement Agreement provides for comprehensive curb ramp replacement throughout the City. CCDC is unaware of why the issue of sidewalks was excluded from the DOJ Settlement Agreement with the City because the case involving curb ramps was never intended to address sidewalks and was approved by the court as a class-action settlement on September 9, 2016 before the DOJ Settlement Agreement. Click the link here to review the Order Granting Final Approval of Settlement. The rules and regulations that apply to curb ramps are different from those that apply to sidewalks.

With respect to sidewalks, according to a recent article published in the Denverite, the City has launched a project to install sidewalks where they don’t exist and make additional sidewalk repairs. At this time, CCDC does not have additional information regarding the sidewalk project. Click on the link here to see the Denverite article regarding sidewalks.

According to the Denver Office of Disability Rights’ (“DODR”) website, “The Denver Office of Disability Rights coordinates the City and County of Denver’s efforts to ensure compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Our role is to ensure that all City services and programs are accessible to people with disabilities.” Information is provided on the DODR website regarding curb ramp renovations and installation and the City’s plan for sidewalks and transportation. The  DODR is also listed as the agency to which all notifications or communications under the DOJ Settlement Agreement are to be made. Click here for the link for the Denver Office of Disability Rights. The address and other contact information for the DODR is:

Denver Office of Disability Rights
201 W Colfax, Dept 1102
Denver, CO 80202
Fax: 720-913-8470
E-mail: disabilityaccess@denvergov.org

Kevin Williams
Legal Program Director
CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program
kwilliams@ccdconline.org

CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program will not be taking any new cases until February 1, 2019

As of November 26, 2018, until February 1, 2019, the CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program will not be taking any new cases or intakes. We do not receive funding to provide referrals. Therefore, if you have a legal problem that you think we can assist with, you will need to contact another attorney until January 1, 2018. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will not be returning calls or other intake emails, including social media or by any other method.

No room for those in wheelchairs to wait at RTD bus stops

See article: 9 News Steve Staeger and 9 News Anchor Kyle Clark cover the terrible lapse in disability discrimination statutes: as Julie Reiskin describes during the interview along with others, there are bus stops that do not have sidewalks leading to the bus stop.  Cities claim they have no obligation to create a sidewalk where one does not exist. RTD makes the same claim with respect to its bus stops. It is difficult to find any language in the ADA or its implementing regulations that apply to government entities and RTD (or any other disability rights law) that require the creation or alteration of sidewalks, bus stops or bus shelters or anything new. These laws simply say that when you do build something new or make an alteration to it, it must comply with the ADA and the Standards for Accessible Design. This may be something that state law should cover. Otherwise, advocates would have to work on this issue on a city by city basis, or sometimes deal with unincorporated counties. Julie Reiskin points out that the major wheelchair repair shop NuMotion in Denver chose to locate its Denver facility in a place on Smith Road that does not provide for easy RTD access to the shop where wheelchair repairs are conducted routinely. NuMotion’s response is that bus riders should simply take the bus to the next accessible stop and cross the street and take the bus that goes in the other direction back to NuMotion. As 9 News points out, this could add an extra 20 to 30 minutes to any trip for someone who uses a wheelchair and has only RTD as a transportation option (many CCDC members and many people use wheelchairs and other mobility devices in the Denver Metropolitan area). It is ridiculous to have a bus stop that is completely unusable. CCDC members complain about this all over the Denver Metropolitan area. One other issue this story raises that is important to understand is that when cities make certain changes to the roadway, they are required to install ADA-compliant curb ramps. This is true even if there are no sidewalks. Although many try to refer to these as “curb ramps or bus stops to nowhere,” this is simply not true. It is possible that a sidewalk may be installed in the future, and it is also possible that a person in a wheelchair can use the curb ramp, cross the grass, or whatever surface exists other than a sidewalk and still get to the bus stop. There is no such thing as a “curb ramp or bus stop to nowhere.” All curb ramps provide, at least, the opportunity to get to bus stops, businesses, government buildings, etc. There are actually many bus stops that are completely inaccessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. For example, South Colorado Boulevard near Hamden Avenue on the east side has bus stops that require an individual who uses a wheelchair to go from the sidewalk down a completely inaccessible grass hill to access the bus stop. The other option would be to ride in the street on Colorado Boulevard. All of these options are very dangerous and time-consuming, but obviously, people use wheelchairs need to access bus stops just like everyone else. Julie Reiskin who is the executive director of CCDC, as part of her job and for all of her personal transportation needs, uses RTD buses and other RTD services approximately 5 to 6 times a day, often changing buses throughout the day. those of us who use wheelchairs will continue riding down the street in our wheelchairs if that is the only way we can get to a bus stop. As CCDC attorneys, Kevin Williams and Andrew Montoya, will tell you, disability rights laws are very limited in what they cover, and we certainly do not need to impose additional barriers and restrictions on bringing claims. What do we want to do to solve this problem? Do you want your friends, family and others who use wheelchairs riding in the street or on dangerous shoulders of the road to get to a bus stop?


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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