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ADA Education and Reform Act Passes House – Controversial Bill Could Delay Accessibility Fixes

Information courtesy of National Council on Independent Living, the National Disability Rights Network, the Autism Society

The ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620) has passed the House and moved on to the Senate. The Senate has not as yet written its own version of the bill.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed nearly thirty years ago, people with disabilities still encounter stores and restaurants that are not accessible. Sometimes a simple email or phone call informing the store of the issue will get it fixed, but in some cases, an ADA lawsuit has to be filed.

This bill would amend the ADA to add requirements for filing ADA civil actions. As passed in the House, the bill would require people with disabilities who encounter accessibility barriers at public businesses to provide written notice to the owner or operator. The owner or operator would then have sixty days to respond with “a written description outlining improvements that will be made to remove the barrier”, and then an additional sixty days to actually begin making the improvements. All together, people with disabilities would have to wait a hundred and twenty days before filing an ADA civil action.

You can read the full text of the bill as passed in the House here. If this issue is important to you, you may wish to contact your representatives in the Senate with your opinion. You can find contact information at http://fifthfreedom.org/findreps.

Doug Schmidt
Director of Communications
The Fifth Freedom Network