Action Alert! Tell Congress Not to Weaken the ADA!
Update – September 8, 2017
Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance H.R. 620, The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. The bill was passed 15-9 on a party-line vote with no Democrats voting to support the bill. H.R. 620 has not been scheduled for a full House vote at this time, but we must continue contacting our Representatives to tell them to VOTE NO on this bill.
H.R. 620 would create significant obstacles for people with disabilities to enforce their right to access public accommodations and impede their ability to participate fully in society.
April 25, 2017
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) 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 give businesses with accessibility barriers 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!
HR 620 currently has 14 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and waits for markup from the Judiciary Committee. Now is the time to contact those Representatives and tell them to VOTE NO on this bill!
Message: Vote NO on HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act.
Contacting Congress allows you to easily search for you Member of Congress and access multiple methods to contact them (phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Despite multiple methods of communications, congressional offices respond best to in-person meetings and phone calls.
All Members of the House of Representatives need to hear from the disability community, but it is especially important if your Representative serves on the Judiciary Committee (see the list below).
- The ADA Education and Reform Act would seriously weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act and would turn people with disabilities into second-class citizens.
- The ADA is already very carefully crafted to take the needs of business owners into account. Compliance is simply not burdensome. 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.
- 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.
- Title III of the ADA was implemented in 1992 to provide regulations on the accessibility of 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. But there are already extensive federal efforts to educate business owners about their ADA obligations, including the in-depth DOJ ADA website (http://ada.gov), the DOJ ADA hotline, extensive DOJ technical assistance materials, etc., and by the 10 federally-funded regional ADA Centers (www.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, because 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?
Members of the House Judiciary Committee
- Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)
- Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI-05)
- Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21)
- Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)
- Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49)
- Rep. Steve King (IA-04)
- Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08)
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
- Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04)
- Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02)
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03)
- Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
- Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)
- Rep. Raúl Labrador (ID-01)
- Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
- Rep. Doug Collins (GA-09)
- Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06)
- Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04)
- Rep. John Ratcliffe (TX-04)
- Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02)
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01)
- Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04)
- Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05)
- Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13)
- Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
- Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
- Rep. Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA-04)
- Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22)
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
- Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)
- Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
- Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)
- Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01)
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
- Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33)
- Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
- Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)
- Resources to Combat ADA Notification Bills – Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities
- Letter of Opposition for The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 – Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities and allies
- Overview of concerns with H.R. 620 – Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
- H.R. 620 – Congress.gov
- Save the ADA web page – National Disability Rights Network
Webinar: Risk of major ADA amendments soon by the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017
May 1, 2017 | 2pm ET
H.R. 620 and similar ADA notification bills are gaining more steam in Congress than ever before. If any passes, it will have a devastating impact on the ADA by denying people with disabilities the power to enforce some of its requirements. Join this webinar to learn more about what is happening with this quickly-moving bill, and how you and others can get involved.
We cannot allow Congress to chip away at the ADA and deny the civil rights of people with disabilities – tell your Representative and those on the Judiciary Committee to vote NO on HR 620. Nothing about us, without us!