The US House of Representatives is set to vote tomorrow on HR 620. We believe this proposed bill would greatly reduce the power of the ADA.
The ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620) was put forward by Representative Ted Poe (R-Tex.). It has been cosponsored by 40 House Republicans and 11 Democrats. This legislation would amend the ADA to add a 120 day waiting period between when a business is notified of an ADA violation and when the person reporting can take the case to court. During that 120 days, businesses would be expected to fix or “make substantial progress” towards fixing a reported accessibility problem.
What precisely “make substantial progress” means isn’t clear. Representative John Conyers (D-MI), one of the most vocal critics during markup, noted that since “substantial progress” isn’t defined in the bill, what it means would be left to the courts. This could lead to significant expenses for disabled people who wish to have accessibility barriers corrected so they can use a place of business. In other words, the burden of proof is placed on the person with a disability instead of on the company or person committing a civil rights violation.
Businesses have had 27 and a half years to comply with ADA regulations. Allowing for further delays in addressing civil rights complaints would not be tolerated or allowed with any other protected group or class.
Summary of Talking Points:
H.R. 620 removes the civil rights of all citizens with disabilities; it causes people with disabilities to wait for their right to access and services that all citizens have access to immediately. H.R. 620 asks people with disabilities to wait months, and in some cases, years, to be able to enter a restaurant, hotel, store, or theater. This would never be asked of any other group.
If businesses are concerned about bad actor lawyers, then stop the bad behavior of the lawyers; don't eliminate the rights of 57 million Americans because there are a handful of despicable attorneys.
Amendments to HR 620 will not fix the problems with this bill, it must be stopped outright to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities.
If the civil rights of 57 million Americans can be eliminated, then the civil rights of other groups can as well.
What Can You Do?
Contact your Congressman and let them know what the ADA has done for you, your family, your friends, and your colleagues.
Click here to contact your Congressman. Just enter your zip code and you'll be linked to your Representative and Senator.
Twitter has become a powerful tool to communicate with elected officials directly. Find your Representative on Twitter and tell them to oppose this bill. Use the hashtags #StopHR620 and #HandsOffMyADA.
For more information:
View and share this video produced by "Rooted In Rights."