To: The United States House of Representatives
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017
The ADA Is Under Serious Attack!
URGENT ACTION NEEDED:
Tell the House of Representatives to OPPOSE H.R. 620
"The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017"
Why is this important?
H.R. 620 and similar ADA notification bills are gaining more steam in Congress than ever before. As a person with a disability and one who advocates for the rights of others with disabilities, I see businesses conveniently ignoring their legal obligations to undertake readily achievable barrier removal at facilities existing before passage of the 1990 ADA.
This bill and others similar will force a person with a disability to write a complaint letter to the business with detailed analyses of the issues, which section of the code is violated and the correct citations, wait 30 days for a response and give a business 60 days to correct an issue before a suit can be filed. A person with a disability can also be countersued for enforcing their civil rights if they don't follow the prescribed protocols.
Businesses and public accommodations have had 27 years to come in to compliance with federal law. The ADA has provided for free public education and technical assistance through the U.S. Dept of Justice Office of Civil Rights and 10 federally funded regional ADA centers since its passage.
There is nothing in the proposed legislation that recognizes what is currently available to help businesses. Nor is more funding being allocated for such outreach to be improved upon. As such, the "Education" part of this bill's title is totally bogus.
Please counter the business lobby, which wants to make it much more difficult to attain accessibility when businesses such as stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. disregard their ADA responsibilities.
Highlights of H.R. 620:
Removes any incentive for voluntary compliance.
Requires a person with a disability who encounters an access barrier to send a letter detailing the exact ADA provisions that are being violated.
Rewards non-compliance by allowing businesses generous additional timelines, even though the ADA's reasonable requirements are already over 25 years old!
Perpetuates the myth that the ADA benefits unscrupulous lawyers rather than the truth: that the ADA is the most important civil rights law for people with disabilities.
Ignores the extensive, free educational resources already available today to any business on how to comply with the law.
Tell your Congressional Representative to OPPOSE H.R. 620, and any other bill to weaken the ADA! Express the concerns listed above. See the Additional Resources for more information.
Congress Members are on recess this week, but many of their staff are still in D.C. to get your messages. Let's all contact them this week, so when the Members return, their staff will tell them they've heard from hundreds of people!
Also, the House Judiciary Committee could consider this bill as soon as the last week of April. If it passes, it may go very quickly to the full House for a vote—so the entire House needs to hear from us, starting immediately and for the next few weeks!
What to do:
Go to contactingcongress.org and insert your zip code to find many simple methods for contacting your House representative: via e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, fax, etc.
Call your House of Representatives Member using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. They will help you find your Representative's name if you don't know it, and switch you to your Representative's office. If you know your Representative's name, here is the House of Representatives phone list.
Extra urgent, if your Representative is on the Judiciary Committee:
If your Congressional representative, or any Representative from your state, serves on the House Judiciary Committee, it is especially important to contact them ASAP, because this Committee will vote on the bill first. See a full list of Committee members.
Town Halls this week:
Members of Congress are in their home districts this week. Many will be at Town Halls or other public events where you can ask them to oppose H.R. 620, and say why. To find local events, try townhallproject.com. Or, check your Representative's website or call their local district office; see contactingcongress.org.
Overview of concerns with H.R. 620
H.R. 620 website with summary, bill text, etc.
Save the ADA web page, National Disability Rights Network
Additional questions? E-mail [email protected]