Friday, October 30, 2015

Action Alert: Stop Another Attack on the ADA!

Federal Legislation to limit Americans with Disabilities Act Enforcement

By: Mike Bachhuber and Steve Higgins
NCIL ADA, Civil Rights Subcommittee Co-Chairs 

ADA Leagcy Tour Bus
They couldn't wait for the banners to be taken down from 25th Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25th Anniversary celebrations. Adding insult to injury, Representative Poe (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3765, the ADA Education & Reform Act, on October 20, 2015. The bill has already garnered support from others, including Representatives Collins (R-GA), Jolly (R-FL), Marchant (R-TX), and Lamar Smith (R-TX). Please reach out to your Representatives and ask them not to support this piece of legislation.  

The bill is being touted as an education bill, which is a new approach by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and others supporting it. You may remember when NCIL members held a “pool party” at their office (located just a few blocks from the 2012 NCIL Annual Conference) after they supported similar legislation to damage the ADA.  

ADA Notification Act with a Twist 

Evan Kemp watches as George H.W. Bush signs the ADA

H.R. 3765 contains language similar to that used in past proposed legislation that would have limited the ADA. Section 3 of the bill creates a new crime for sending "a demand letter… alleging a violation of [Title III] of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990…" that does not meet certain requirements. This in itself is damaging and unacceptable. In no other civil rights legislation is it a crime to file a complaint. 

Should this legislation pass, it would become effective 30 days after enactment. Now is the time to reach out to your legislators and ask them not to support H.R. 3765, which would create additional barriers to our civil rights as persons with disabilities. If enacted, this bill could set damaging precedence potentially affecting other civil rights legislation by making notification a crime.  

NCIL will be working with other disability rights organizations to stop this bill. Should additional actions be required, we will reach out to the membership. We must ensure that the ADA stays strong by stopping proposals like this before they gain traction.