Last updated on March 23, 2018.
A recent congressional bill poses a giant threat to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). If passed, the proposed ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (HR 620) would roll back significant progress made by the 27 year old law that prohibits discrimination toward disabled individuals.
Currently, if a disabled person cannot access a business or facility due to inaccessibility they can file complaints with the Department of Justice or file a formal lawsuit in court. The proposed bill would effectively make it much harder for people will disabilities to challenge violations.
The bill would make it much more difficult for a person with a disability to file a complaint against a business that is not in compliance with the ADA. If turned into law, a person with a disability would be obliged to provide written notice to a business owner who has violated the ADA. The business owner would then have 60 days to acknowledge there is a problem and another 120 days to make progress toward correcting the violation.
The House version of bill is sponsored by U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX-2) and ended up with 108 cosponsors from both sides of the political aisle, including 97 Republicans and 11 Democrats. You can see all 108 sponsors (including two members who later withdrew their support) by visiting congress.gov.
ADA as we currently know it may be on the chopping block, and FMs should monitor the situation closely. The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 will now move to the Senate, where yeas and nays will determine its fate.
To learn more, you can read ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (HR 620) at the official website of U.S. Congress.