Protect your rights. Fight for the ADA!

Posted by Reeve Foundation Staff in Daily Dose on July 26, 2016 # Advocacy and Policy

Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While signing the bill into law, then-President George H.W. Bush called on the nation to “let the shameful walls of exclusion come tumbling down.” There’s no question that the ADA has created incredible (if long overdue) opportunity for the disabled community. However, despite two and a half decades of success, Congress has repeatedly introduced legislation that would chip away at the rights afforded by the ADA.

This Congress is no different. The House of Representatives is considering three bills that could limit the power of the ADA and further erode compliance with the law, while at the same time limiting the ability of people with disabilities to assert their rights in court.

Many current members of Congress were not in office when the ADA passed in 1990; several of them were barely older than children. In fact, only 17 current Senators and 22 representatives were present for passage of the ADA. We need to re-educate Congress on how important the ADA – and its continued enforcement – is to the disability community.

What can you do? Take action now!

Write your Representative regarding these bills and tell them to protect the ADA.

These bills include:

  • The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015 (HR 3765) imposes paperwork requirements on people with disabilities who encounter accessibility barriers and would impose fines on those who incorrectly complete the new paperwork necessary to correct violations.
  • The Correcting Obstructions to Mediate, Prevent, and Limit Accessibility (COMPLI) Act of 2015 (HR 4719) would also impose additional steps on plaintiffs before they can file a civil action for an accessibility violation in a public accommodation case and forbid any form of contact beyond a narrowly prescribed set of communication between the business and a person with a disability.
  • The ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services Act of 2015 (HR 241) would force people with disabilities to wait as long as six months before a business is mandated to correct or address legal violations. As with all three of these bills, people with disabilities would no longer be able to seek immediate correction of the accessibility violation.

Placing such onerous restrictions on the ability of people to attempt to secure their basic rights are an insult to the spirit of the ADA, and fly in the face of the intent of civil rights statutes. The disability community must work together to not only ensure that these bills do not become law, but that their misguided attempts to chip away at our rights to do not resurface in the next Congress.

Please write your Representative on this issue; sending your letter will take just two minutes, but can make a world of difference.

Together, we achieve more.