Like reproductive health care access, the environment, and immigrants’ rights, disability protections are at risk under the Trump administration. Almost 27 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush, a new law has been proposed that threatens to limit the protections provided by the ADA.
Under the ADA, a person with a disability currently has two choices if they encounter a barrier to accessibility at a business. They can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, or they can file a lawsuit in court. If they choose to follow the DOJ path, the DOJ would investigate the potential ADA violation and possibly pursue mediation procedures with the business and the person making the complaint until a low-cost solution is found. In either case, the ADA makes it much more likely that barriers to accessibility are quickly resolved.
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 also known as H.R. 620 would change that, according to Rewire’s Robyn Powell. According to the text of the proposed act which was introduced back in January by the GOP a person with a disability would have to provide a business owner with a written notice if they encountered a barrier to accessibility. This notice would have to be “specific enough to identify the barrier.” After that, the business owner has up to 180 days to resolve the problem: 60 to acknowledge that the problem even exists, and a further 120 to progress toward its resolution.
H.R. 620 which has 18 co-sponsors, according to Powell is currently sitting in the House Judiciary Committee. If this bill is successfully passed, it would essentially transfer the burden of correcting accessibility violations from businesses to people with disabilities.
The Administration's budget devastates those w/ disabilities in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest. It's wrong & I'll oppose it. https://t.co/gzKRhi8FVY
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) June 1, 2017
The Trump administration is skilled in the art of distraction, with the most recent one being the “covfefe” debacle. But when millions of people find their civil rights at risk, it is important to stay focused on what really matters.
This story originally appeared on Bustleand has been republished with permission.
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