The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to hold a full floor vote on the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620) on Thursday morning. Despite the bill's positive name, ANCOR finds it to be problematic because it weakens the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in practice. ANCOR expressed its concerns in two action alerts last week, but we have included a synopsis here for our members’ convenience:
The ADA Education and Reform Act weakens the ADA by curtailing people with disabilities’ access to civil action (litigation) if a business does not comply with physical access requirements in the ADA, for example by not providing access ramps or lifts. Whereas currently a business is responsible for making sure it is compliant with the ADA, with the incentive of facing litigation if it does not, the bill would absolve businesses from that responsibility and shift it to people with disabilities. Before taking civil action, a person with a disability would now have to formerly write to the business, identify the barrier to access and identify which sections of the ADA are being violated, and then give the business up to 180 days to respond, and further time to make changes. During that time, the person would still not have access to the business. This would seriously affect the spirit in which the ADA is enforced.
ANCOR urges its members to call their U.S. Representatives all of this week to ask Congress to oppose this this bill – please find a short script below. If you do not know who your U.S Representative is, please dial the Congressional Switchboard at 202 224 3121 and tell the operators your state and zip code. They will be able to identify the Member of Congress for you and transfer you to their office. Here is the script:
“Hello, I am a constituent who cares deeply about people with disabilities. I am calling to ask the U.S. Representative to oppose H.R. 620 – the ADA Education and Reform Act, because it removes incentives for businesses to comply with the ADA. This weakens the ADA and people with disabilities’ civil rights because it puts the weight of enforcing the ADA on their shoulders. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.”
Your action is particularly important if you are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon or Texas, because members of both parties in those entire Congressional delegations are viewed as key votes on this issue. Please call them TODAY.