July 26 marked the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Despite two and a half decades of success, Congress has repeatedly introduced legislation that would chip away at the rights afforded by the ADA.
In the current Congress, only 17 Senators and 22 representatives were present for passage of the ADA. Therefore, the time has come to re-educate Congress on how important the ADA – and its continued enforcement – is to the disability community.
The timing is especially important given that Congress has introduced three pieces of legislation that could limit the power of the ADA. While it’s unlikely that these bills will become law this year, they are indicative of a wider trend.
That is why you need to write to your Representative and tell them to protect and safeguard your rights under the ADA. To learn more, read on below.
These bills include:
- The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015 (HR 3765) imposes paperwork requirements on people with disabilities who encounter accessibility barriers and would impose fines on those who incorrectly complete the new paperwork necessary to correct violations.
- The Correcting Obstructions to Mediate, Prevent, and Limit Accessibility (COMPLI) Act of 2015 (HR 4719) would also impose additional steps on plaintiffs before they can file a civil action for an accessibility violation in a public accommodation case and limit communication between the business and a person with a disability.
- The ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services Act of 2015 (HR 241) would force people with disabilities to wait as long as six months before a business is mandated to correct or address legal violations. As with all three of these bills, people would no longer be able to seek immediate correction of the accessibility violation
The disability community must work together to not only ensure that these bills do not become law, but that their misguided attempts to chip away at our rights to do not resurface in the next Congress. Act now!