Trends in rehabilitation legislation are of great importance for nurses as healthcare providers. To a great extent, much of what can be accomplished on behalf of the disabled depends on the laws that contain provisions for them. This article discusses federal rehabilitation legislation of the 1980s. The significance of the legislation is put in perspective by comparing it with the legislative accomplishments of the 1970s. Attention is directed to the current status of rehabilitation in the United States as governed by statute. Predictions regarding future legislation are put forth. Emphasis is placed on the role nurses should assume in influencing rehabilitation legislation in the United States. The article proposes that nurses should establish a position regarding appropriate directions for rehabilitation legislation. Nurses should then seek to influence the legislative process in a manner that will result in the most advantageous healthcare outcomes for disabled people and their families.