ADA Notification Bills

 

These four bills were introduced to modify the Americans with Disabilities Act. All four deal with regulating the procedure to file a formal complaint against a business for being physically inaccessible. More in-depth descriptions of each bill are described below.

 

The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620)

Background:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) seeks to improve compliance with ADA regulations regarding building accessibility, but it would eliminate the responsibility of businesses to address their obligations under the ADA by significantly undermining the enforcement procedures of the Act. First, the bill creates strict requirements for individuals with disabilities filing for civil action lawsuits. The bill stipulates that in order for pre-suit notifications to be valid, they must contain the following:
  • Details of the circumstances under which an individual was actually denied access to a public accommodation;
  • The address of the property;
  • The specific ADA sections that have allegedly been violated;
  • Whether an initial request to remove the barrier was made; and,
  • Whether or not the barrier in question was permanent or temporary.
Additionally, this bill prevents lawsuits concerning architectural barriers from being commenced unless:
    • Within 60 days of receiving the notification, the owner or operator of the building fails to provide a written description outlining improvements that will be made to remove the barrier, OR
    • If after providing the written notice, the owner or operator fails to remove the barrier or make substantial progress towards its removal within 120 days of issuing the written notice to the complainant

Status:

This bill was introduced in the House by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) in January 2017, and has since been referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

 

Opposing Organizations:
American Association for Justice
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Association on Health and Disability
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
American Network of Community Options and Resources
American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
American Psychological Association
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Brain Injury Association of America
Center for Public Representation
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force
Council for Learning Disabilities
Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates (COPAA)
Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund (DREDF)
Disability Rights Pennsylvania
Disability Rights South Carolina
Easterseals
Epilepsy Foundation
Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Lutheran Services in America Disability Network
Mental Health America (MHA)
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
National Association of Council on Developmental Disabilities
(NACDD)
National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Council of Churches
National Council on Disability
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
National Disability Institute (NDI)
National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC)
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
Parent2Parent
SourceAmerica
The American Foundation for the Blind
The Arc of the United States
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
The Jewish Federations of North America
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
United Spinal Association

Materials and Resources:

Correcting Obstructions to Mediate, Prevent, and Limit Inaction (COMPLI) Act (H.R. 4719)

Background:  

 

The COMPLI Act outlines a series of regulations that would modify how and when an individual could file an inaccessibility lawsuit against a business owner. Before an individual can file suit, they must provide a written notice to the owner describing the specific barrier violation.

Following the complaint, the owner has 15 days to respond with a written plan to either a) accommodate the individual or b) remove the barrier in question. If the owner does provide a plan, they have 90 days to remove the barrier with the option of adding a 30 day extension if they have shown a good faith effort. If the owner does not provide a plan within the initial 15 days, the individual has the right to file for civil action.

 

Status:

 

This bill was introduced by Jerry McNerney (D-CA9) in March 2016 and given to the House Committee on the Judiciary. It was sent for further review by the Subcommittee on The Constitution and Civil Justice where it remains.

 

Key Terms:

Accessibility compliance – the Americans with Disabilities Acts requires buildings and offices to be accessible by all persons regardless of disability. This means walkways, bathrooms, counters, etc. must be accessible by wheelchair, walker, or other assistive device.

Civil action suit – Any lawsuit that is related to civil matters, protecting the rights of private litigation and not involving criminal prosecution.

ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3765)

Background:

 

In order to improve building accessibility compliance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3765) requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice to develop a program that teaches government and property owners about the accessibility standards stated in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). It is designed to teach owners how to mitigate ADA violations and how to resolve them.

The second portion of this bill provides strict specifications for individuals with disabilities filing for civil action lawsuits. Not only does this bill prohibit sending demand letters or pre-suit notifications to businesses without the listed components, but it could qualify an individual for a criminal fine. In order for a pre-suit notification to be valid, it must contain:

      • The address of the property
      • The specific ADA sections that have allegedly been violated
      • Whether an initial request to remove the barrier was made
      • Whether or the barrier in question was permanent or temporary

This bill also prevents any lawsuit concerning an architectural barrier from being viewed unless there is proof the owner had been notified and did not respond in a timely manner. An individual must write a formal complaint to the owners about the specific barrier and allow the owner 60 days to respond by either removing the barrier or showing proof of plans to remove the barrier.

 

Status:

 

This bill was sent to the House of the Judiciary in October of 2015 by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX2) before it was referred to the Subcommittee on The Constitution and Civil Justice. In July 2016, it was ordered to be reported (amended) by the Yeas and Nays, which were 15 – 6, respectively.

 

Cosponsors:
Aderholt, Robert [R-AL4]
Amodei, Mark [R-NV2]
Ashford, Brad [D-NE2]
Babin, Brian [R-TX36]
Buck, Ken [R-CO4]
Burgess, Michael [R-TX26]
Byrne, Bradley [R-AL1]
Carter, Buddy [R-GA1]
Coffman, Mike [R-CO6]
Cole, Tom [R-OK4]
Collins, Doug [R-GA9]
Conaway, Michael [R-TX11]
Denham, Jeff [R-CA10]
Emmer, Tom [R-MN6]
Fitzpatrick, Michael [R-PA8]
Gohmert, Louie [R-TX1]
Granger, Kay [R-TX12]
Graves, Sam [R-MO6]
Grothman, Glenn [R-WI6]
Hensarling, Jeb [R-TX5]
Holding, George [R-NC13]
Issa, Darrell [R-CA49]
Johnson, Sam [R-TX3]
Lucas, Frank [R-OK3]
Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO3]
MacArthur, Tom [R-NJ3]
Marchant, Kenny [R-TX24]
McClintock, Tom [R-CA4]
Mulvaney, Mick [R-SC5]
Nunes, Devin [R-CA22]
Olson, Pete [R-TX22]
Peters, Scott [D-CA52]
Rangel, Charles “Charlie” [D-NY13]
Rogers, Mike [R-AL3]
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL27]
Russell, Steve [R-OK5]
Schweikert, David [R-AZ6]
Sessions, Pete [R-TX32]
Smith, Lamar [R-TX21]
Speier, Jackie [D-CA14]
Valadao, David [R-CA21]
Walden, Greg [R-OR2]
Walters, Mimi [R-CA45]
Williams, Roger [R-TX25]

 

H.R. 241: ACCESS (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services) Act of 2015

Background:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 established standards that required all public accommodation areas to be accessible to those with a disability. This required property owners to take down any architectural barriers or find ways to accommodate individuals to have equal access to their facilities. Some of the most common problems with physical accessibility have to do with parking or pathways, all barriers that are relatively easy to fix.

On January 9, 2015 an amendment to the ADA was introduced, proposing that individuals file a direct complaint against a business for being inaccessible before they can file a lawsuit. Following the complaint, there is a specified time window that the owner must respond by. Only if the owner does not respond with a written description of the improvements that have been or will be made can the individual can file a discrimination lawsuit.

 

Status:

Since being introduced in January 2015 by Ken Calvert (R-FL42), this bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and then further referred to the Subcommittee on The Constitution and Civil Justice.

 

Cosponsors:
Ashford, Brad [D-NE2]
Brat, David “Dave” [R-VA7]
Burgess, Michael [R-TX26]
Coffman, Mike [R-CO6]
Conaway, Michael [R-TX11]
Cook, Paul [R-CA8]
Denham, Jeff [R-CA10]
Harris, Andy [R-MD1]
Hunter, Duncan [R-CA50]
Issa, Darrell [R-CA49]
Jenkins, Lynn [R-KS2]
LaMalfa, Doug [R-CA1]
McClintock, Tom [R-CA4]
Nunes, Devin [R-CA22]
Rohrabacher, Dana [R-CA48]
Royce, Edward “Ed” [R-CA39]
Simpson, Michael “Mike” [R-ID2]
Valadao, David [R-CA21]
Walters, Mimi [R-CA45]
Westmoreland, Lynn [R-GA3]