Take Action to Save the ADA!
Oppose HR 3765 – The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016
September 7, 2016
Recently, a series of “notification” bills have been targeting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in an attempt to erect more barriers to enforcing the rights of people with disabilities. The latest “notification” act is HR 3765, also known as the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016. It is possible that HR 3765 will come up for a vote in the House of Representatives this month so we need your help and immediate action to block this harmful legislation. If this bill is allowed to pass the House it could serve as a starting point for future negative legislation next year and beyond.
HR 3765, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016, would eliminate the responsibility of businesses to address their obligations under the ADA. This bill would treat people with disabilities as second-class citizens. A summary of the bill can be found here.
The National Disability Rights Network has launched a website that will be continuously updated. The site includes information about the ADA, the notification bill H.R. 3765, and letters of opposition from a plethora of disability organizations. Visit the Protect The ADA website.
Why is this legislation harmful to people with disabilities?
This proposed legislation chips away at the power of the ADA and is particularly harmful because:
- The bill’s proponents have forgotten the everyday experiences of millions of ordinary people with disabilities who cannot shop, enjoy recreation, or transact personal business like most Americans take for granted. For example, why should a wheelchair user be unable to join her family at a restaurant, just because the owner has resisted installing a ramp for the past 26 years? Such things happen to many people with disabilities every day.
- When business owners have resisted the ADA for over 26 years, sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to make the ADA’s promise of equal participation real. Even so, if you examine the court records, there really are very few ADA cases.
- The ADA is carefully crafted to take the needs of business owners into account. Compliance is simply not exorbitantly expensive. But this bill would remove any reason for a business to make their business accessible. Instead, they can take a “wait and see” attitude, and do nothing until they happen to be sued. This legislation would eliminate any reason for businesses to make their business accessible as is required by the ADA before receiving notification.
- HR 3765 requires a person with a disability to give a business owner who has access barriers a written notice, 60 days to acknowledge that there is a problem, and then another 120 days to begin to fix it. No other constitutionally protected group of people is forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights. People with Disabilities Should Not Be Forced to Wait for Months to Enforce their Civil Rights under ADA.
- HR 3765 calls for education by the Department of Justice. But there are already extensive efforts, including by DOJ and the ADA Centers, to educate business owners about their ADA obligations. Businesses that violate the ADA should be held accountable.
- Proponents of this legislation raise concerns about monetary awards through damages in ADA suits. However, this has nothing to do with the ADA because Title III of the ADA does not allow monetary damages. Such damages are only available under a handful of state laws. This bill will do nothing to prevent damage awards under state laws.
- Accessibility standards, such as those the ADA includes, are extremely important. They are not minor details, but rather, are essential to ensure true accessibility.
- Proponents of this legislation have also raised concerns about serial litigants. However, courts already have the power to deal with frivolous litigants and their attorneys.
- It is troubling how this bill blames people with disabilities for public accommodations’ failure to comply with the ADA. Why should people with disabilities pay the price of an inaccessible environment? The true blame belongs with business owners who have delayed complying with the ADA for over 26 years.
Take action to block this harmful legislation
Call your Representative
Please contact your House of Representative member today and tell them to oppose HR 3765, The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016! Click here to find your Representative. Remember, this bill is currently in the House of Representatives, so please contact your House Representative, not your Senator.
You can also contact the Washington, DC office of your House of Representatives Member. To do so, call the U.S. House of Representatives switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative. Tell them your name, address, and a brief message: “Please oppose HR 3765, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016.”
Tweet your Representative
You can tweet at your Representative to tell them to oppose this legislation. You can find your Representative’s Twitter handle here. A sample tweet is below:
@[Insert your Representative’s Twitter handle] Oppose #HR3765, the ADA Education and Reform Act. Protect the #ADA and the rights of people with disabilities.
Mobilize your Friends and Family
Post a message to Facebook and Twitter encouraging your friends and family to contact their Representative and share their opposition to HR 3765, The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016. Sample Facebook and Twitter posts are below.
HR 3765, The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016, may come to a vote in the House of Representatives this month. This harmful legislation chips away at the Americans with Disabilities Act and will erect more barriers to enforcing the rights of people with disabilities. Tell your Representative to protect the rights of people with disabilities and oppose HR 3765! https://www.aapd.com/take-action-save-ada
Protect the rights of people with disabilities! Tell Congress to oppose #HR3765, the #ADA Education and Reform Act. https://www.aapd.com/take-action-save-ada
# # #
This overview of HR 3765 and it’s detriment to people with disabilities was compiled with information provided by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Rights Task Force.
 Monetary damages are not allowed under Title III of the ADA, which applies to privately operated public accommodations, commercial facilities, and private entities offering certain examinations and courses. See 42 U.S.C. § 12188; 42 U.S.C §§ 12182 and 12181(7); 42 U.S.C. §§ 12183 and 12181(2); and 42 U.S.C. § 12189.
Updated September 28, 2016