#HandsOffMyADA – A Member of the ADA Generation’s Take on ADA Notification Bills

November 30, 2018 | Ellie Stitzer, 2018 AAPD Summer Intern

My mentor at my university has a sticker in her office that says “The Americans with Disabilities Act – to boldly go where everyone else has gone before.” This really is what the ADA did: when it passed in 1990, it gave Americans with disabilities protection in their employment, public spaces, and public entities, which are the same protections that everyone else already had. I was born with a disability in 1996, six years after the passage of this historic civil rights legislation, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use a wheelchair accessible entrance, accessible parking space, a curb cut, or a number of other accommodations provided to me because of the ADA. I can remember learning about the disability rights movement (on my own time, of course, since in my experience schools don’t talk about it) and realizing that I had really lucked out having been born after all that had happened. At the very least, I am thankful that I can say that my expectations and standards for accessibility are a lot higher than they were for people who lived in a pre-ADA America.

But even though the ADA was passed 28 years ago, not everyone has chosen to comply. Just a few days ago, my group of friends wanted to go out to a restaurant they’d heard about online, but when we showed up on the scene the building had a step to get in just BARELY high enough that my wheelchair couldn’t get over it. I run into these kind of access barriers constantly, and whenever it happens my friends and I are forced to be flexible and take our business to the nearest accessible alternative. But hey, at least there’s (usually) an alternative, right?

That’s why when I learned that there were multiple “ADA notification bills” floating around Congress this session, I felt like I had suddenly been time-warped back to before 1990, when people were still trying to prove that disability rights were civil rights. These bills, such as H.R. 620, which actually passed in the House of Representatives, would eliminate incentives for businesses, including large chain corporations, to proactively comply with the ADA and be accessible to those with disabilities. While H.R. 620 seems to have been stopped in the Senate for now, the fact that this bill was even introduced shows that, unfortunately, we are still at a place where we are having to fight to protect these very basic rights that businesses have now had, let me say it again, 28 years to comply with. The ADA laid the groundwork to make sure that my generation was able to grow up with the expectations we did. We need to focus on working towards complete access and strengthening the law, not weakening it like the congressmen and women who supported H.R. 620 seem to prefer.


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Ellie Stitzer is a 2018 AAPD Summer Intern. She interned at the Administration for Community Living in the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services.

Congress just voted – now it’s OUR TURN to vote!

February 15, 2018

Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620) by a 225-192 vote. We are extremely disappointed and downright angry to see this blatant attack on the civil rights of people with disabilities to access places of public accommodation and now look to our allies in the Senate to prevent a companion bill from passing.

We are grateful to all of you who called, tweeted, emailed, and met with your Members of Congress over the past few weeks to advocate against this bill and hope we can count on you again when this fight moves to the Senate. AAPD will continue our advocacy alongside you and our allies to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act and the rights of people with disabilities.

The surest way to protect our rights is to vote! With the 2018 midterm election coming up on November 6, now is the time to make sure that every candidate is concerned about the rights of people with disabilities. Join AAPD’s REV UP Campaign to get more people with disabilities registered to vote, educated, and engaged in the political process.

Visit www.aapd.com/REVUP for voter registration, education, and engagement resources. We’re organizing a network of REV UP State Disability Voting Coalitions – contact programs@www.aapd.com to launch a coalition in your state or get connected with advocates already organizing in your state.

Let’s make the disability vote count in 2018!


Photo of Justin Dart with text: "VOTE as if your life depends on it - Because it DOES!

“VOTE as if your life depends on it – Because it DOES!”

URGENT ACTION! Don’t Let Congress Chip Away at the ADA!

[UPDATE: February 15, 2018]

H.R. 620 will be voted on this morning somewhere between 11:30am and 12:30pm ET (House Majority Leader schedule). Until then, please continue to contact your Representative and the Congressional Targets listed below.

The message for contacting offices is as follows:

We urge you to vote “no” on H.R. 620. We support the Langevin/Harper amendment to eliminate the “notice and cure” provisions from the bill. We do not support any of the other amendments, as none address the fundamental problem with the bill.


[UPDATE: February 12, 2018]

HR 620 is expected to come to a vote on the House floor this Thursday (2/15)! We need all hands on deck to educate Members of Congress on why this bill will harm people with disabilities. If you haven’t called, tweeted, or emailed your Representative yet, please take a few minutes to do so NOW! If you have already reached out, thank you – please reach out again.

Please join us in participating in the following days of action:

Monday, February 12

  • Email Representatives urging them to VOTE NO on HR 620
  • Save the ADA Call-In Day – Call your Representative

Tuesday, February 13

  • Social media opposition to HR 620 – #StopHR620 #HandsOffMyADA
  • Continue calling and emailing Members to urge them to vote no

Wednesday, February 14

  • Call your Representatives
  • Tweet your Representatives
  • Attend rallies and protests (if you are in the DC area)

Thursday, February 15 (HR 620 scheduled for a vote)

  • Call your Representatives
  • Tweet your Representatives


Messages and counter messages:

  • 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 dispicable 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. Only except the Langevin Amendment, which entirely removes the notice and cure provisions from the bill, is acceptable. Removing notice and cure provisions means removing the requirement that a person who claims discrimination must first provide written notice that allows 60 days for an owner to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and 120 days to demonstrate substantial progress in removing the barrier before legal action may be pursued.
  • If the civil rights of 57 million Americans can be eliminated, then the civil rights of other groups can as well.
  • Vote NO on H.R. 620.


CCD HR 620 Toolkit

In addition to the resources listed in the full alert below, you can utilize this HR 620 Toolkit developed by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). In this Toolkit, you will find:Sample email/letter template

  • Sample call script
  • Sample social media posts


Thank you for your efforts to PROTECT the ADA and the RIGHTS of people with disabilities!


February 8, 2018

The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last year, clearing the way for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, which is expected sometime next week (February 12-16, 2018). This bill would seriously weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by delaying requirements that businesses be accessible to people with disabilities.

The proposed legislation requires a person with a disability to provide inaccessible businesses with a written notice of the barrier, after which the business has 60 days to even acknowledge there is a problem, and then another 120 days to begin to fix it. No other civil rights group is forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights!

This bill has bipartisan support with 108 co-sponsors (97 Republicans and 12 Democrats).

The House Rules Committee is likely to set the process for consideration of the bill on Tuesday, February 13th. This means a vote on the full House floor is possible by Wednesday (2/14) or Thursday (2/15). The time to act is now!


We urge you to contact your Representatives and tell them to vote no on H.R. 620!

Don’t let this bill weaken the ADA and the rights of people with disabilities!


Take Action

All Members of the House of Representatives need to hear from the disability community. Make them aware of this ill-advised and damaging bill.

Congressional Target List

The Members below could be particularly influential on whether this bill passes or not (updated 2/14/18):


  • Rep. Bill Foster — 202-225-3515
  • Rep. Kathleen Rice — 202-225-5516
  • Rep. Jim Costa — 202-225-3341
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar — 202-225-1640
  • Rep. Krysten Sinema — 202-225-9888
  • Rep. Luis Correa — 202-225-2965
  • Rep. Jackie Speier — 202-225-3531
  • Rep. Scott Peters — 202-225-0508
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar — 202-225-3201
  • Rep. Ami Bera — 202-225-5716



  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren — 202-225-3072
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez — 202-225-8203



  • Rep. Jacky Rosen — 202-225-3252
  • Rep. Ruben Kihuen — 202-225-9894


  • Rep. Kurt Schrader — 202-225-5711


  • Rep. Ro Khanna — 202-225-2631
  • Rep. Mike Thompson — 202-225-3311
  • Rep. Judy Chu — 202-225-5464
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney — 202-225-1947
  • Rep. Adam Schiff — 202-225-4176
  • Rep. Juan Vargas — 202-225-8045
  • Rep. Jimmy Panetta — 202-225-2861
  • Rep. Raul Ruiz — 202-225-5330
  • Rep. Nanette Barragan — 202-225-8220
  • Rep. Doug LaMalfa — 202-225-3076


  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy — 202-225-4035
  • Rep. Charlie Crist — 202-225-5961
  • Rep. Kathy Castor — 202-225-3376
  • Rep. Val Demings — 202-225-2176


  • Rep. Collin Peterson — 202-225-2165

New Jersey

  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer — 202-225-4465


  • Rep. Jim Cooper — 202-225-4311


  • Rep. Anthony Brown — 202-225-8699

New Mexico

  • Rep. Ben Ray Lujan — 202-225-6190


  • Rep. Dwight Evans — 202-225-4001
  • Rep. Mike Doyle — 202-225-2135


Message / Talking Points

  • Vote “NO” on H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.
  • The ADA Education and Reform Act would seriously weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act and would turn people with disabilities into second-class citizens.
  • H.R. 620 would require a person with a disability who encounters an access barrier to send an exactly written notice and gives the business owner 60 days to even acknowledge that there is a problem – and then another 120 days to begin to fix it. No other civil rights group is forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights.
  • The ADA is already very carefully crafted to take the needs of business owners into account. Compliance is simply not burdensome – existing businesses are only required to provide access when doing so is readily achievable. But this bill would remove any reason for businesses to comply. Instead, they can take a “wait and see” attitude, and do nothing until they happen to be sued or sent a notice letter. This shifts the burden of enforcing the ADA onto individuals with disabilities.
  • Title III regulations of the ADA went into effect in 1992, providing accessibility standards for private businesses (also known as public accommodations). Businesses have had over 25 years to comply with these regulations.
  • H.R. 620 calls for education by the Department of Justice (DOJ). But there are already extensive federal efforts to educate business owners about their ADA obligations, including the in-depth DOJ ADA website (ADA.gov), which received 30 million visits in 2016 and 2017, the DOJ ADA hotline, which received over 97,000 calls, extensive DOJ technical assistance materials, etc., and by the 10 federally-funded regional ADA Centers (ADATA.org) that provide in-depth resources and training in every state.
  • Proponents of this bill have raised concerns about monetary damage awards. But that has nothing to do with the ADA, since the ADA does not allow money damages. Such damages are only available under a handful of state laws. This bill will do nothing to prevent damage awards under state laws.
  • It is troubling that this bill blames people with disabilities for public accommodations’ failure to comply with the ADA. Why should disabled people pay the price of an inaccessible environment, where we cannot live our lives like everyone else?


Meet with your Representatives

You can arrange a meeting in Washington, DC or in your home state, depending on when Congress is in session. Contacting Congress allows you to request a meeting with your Member of Congress. You can also check the Town Hall Project for congressional events in your area.


Call your Representatives

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Representative.


Email your Representatives

Contacting Congress provides unique links to email your Representative directly.


Tweet your Representatives

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. Some sample tweets are included below:

  • Tell Congress to stop chipping away at the #ADA – Vote “NO” on #HR620. #StopHR620 #HandsOffMyADA https://goo.gl/3SdLHc
  • #HR620 would force people w/ disabilities to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights – Vote “NO” on H.R. 620. #StopHR620 #HandsOffMyADA https://goo.gl/3SdLHc
  • Businesses have had nearly 3 decades to comply with the #ADA – no more excuses! Vote “NO” on #HR620. #StopHR620 #HandsOffMyADA https://goo.gl/3SdLHc
  • #HR620 won’t stop “drive by” #ADA lawsuits, but it will strip civil rights from people with disabilities. #StopHR620 #HandsOffMyADA https://goo.gl/3SdLHc
  • [insert Representative handle] protect the #ADA and the rights of people with disabilities – Vote “NO” on #HR620! #StopHR620 #HandsOffMyADA https://goo.gl/3SdLHc


Additional Resources


We cannot allow Congress to chip away at the ADA and deny the civil rights of people with disabilities – tell your Representative to vote NO on HR 620.

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