Controversial legislation that could change the ADA passed in the House of Representatives today in a 225-to-192 vote . Click here to read the Washington Post’s full coverage.
Disability rights activists were arrested by Capitol Hill police on Tuesday during a House Rules Committee hearing on H.R. 620. The protesters oppose policy reforms that would change ADA regulations regarding complaint waiting periods. Click here to read Cristina Marcos’s full report on TheHill.com.
Numerous disability rights advocates are livid over proposed congressional legislation aiming to change enforcement timelines for ADA compliance. The bill is titled “H.R. 620 – ADA Education and Reform Act 2017” and sponsored by Texas Representative Ted Poe. The House Judiciary Committee approved the amended version of the bill earlier this month. The legislation currently has 108 bipartisan co-sponsors and is predicted to come to a vote in the House of Representatives this week.
In October 2017 Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth wrote an opinion column for the Chicago Tribune condemning H.R. 620. She accused the retail and hospitality industries of shifting the burden of ADA compliance to individuals with disabilities.
Members of the Judiciary Committee who dissented from the majority opinion stated, “Both individually and cumulatively, H.R. 620’s notice and cure provisions will have the effect of inappropriately shifting the burden of enforcing compliance with a federal civil rights statute from the alleged wrongdoer onto the discrimination victim. Moreover, it would undermine the carefully calibrated voluntary compliance regime that is one of the hallmarks of the ADA, a regime formed through negotiations between the disability rights community and the business community when the ADA was drafted 28 years ago.”
Disability rights activist S.E. Smith also wrote a column for Teen Vogue outlining the key points of the legislation’s proposed changes to ADA and why they are unnecessary. Smith argues that the businesses concerned about “bogus lawsuits” are underestimating how expensive legal action is for the complainant.
A step at the front door of a business can send the signal to customers with disabilities that the inside is also not accessible. In a story for Public Source online magazine journalist Stephen J. Caruso reports how the city of Pittsburgh is helping local business owners prevent this barrier to customer access and reconcile the problematic irregularities between state and city ADA compliance codes.
“One complaint we got from developers and architects was that most expensive part of the process was coming down to the city offices and paying for parking and waiting in line,” Meritzer said. By making a one-size-fits-all application, they could send in an application with a single email.
The 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI) reports U.S. businesses are increasing efforts to recruit employees with disabilities. Click here to read the full article by Kellie Ell in USA Today. An excerpt: “With the help of the Index, more companies are integrating online chat features for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, guide dogs for blind workers, internal company affinity groups, external recruitment efforts, hiring goals and retention and advancement policies for people with disabilities into the work place.”
A 14-year-old girl who uses a wheelchair was denied a trip to Disneyland through a school field trip. After the news broke, the park offered the teen and her family free passes. Read more
Protesters with disabilities across the country converged in D.C. to oppose Medicaid cuts and are now facing in-person fines from the U.S. Capitol Police. Read more
Disability Scoop reports that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is accusing retail giant Walmart of Americans with Disabilities Act violations after a woman with Down Syndrome was fired from a store in Wisconsin. Read more
While 31 percent of inmates in state prisons across the country report having a physical or cognitive disability, a Vice News report finds that accommodations for these prisoners are rare. Read more
New data from the FBI shows that the number of hate crimes against Americans with disabilities have declined. Read more