New York Advocates Call to Action: Oppose H.R. 620 ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

H.R. 620 ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 undermines the landmark civil rights law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and harms people with disabilities. The “ADA Education and ReformAct” changes a key provision of the ADA by preventing people with disabilities from immediately going to court to enforce their rights and to press for timely removal of the barrier that impedes access to a business.

H.R. 620 the ADA Education and Reform Act, was recently voted out of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee. The bill now heads for a House vote. We are hoping with your help we can prevent this harmful bill from moving any further.

The disability voice needs to be heard. Representative Kathleen Rice (D-NY-4) signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 620. We are asking for your help as New York advocates to reach out to her office to ask that she remove her name as a co-sponsor of this bill.

H.R. 620 would weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a critical source of rights for people with disabilities to architectural access in public accommodations (Title III of the ADA) —that is, businesses such as stores, restaurants, hotels, etc.

You can contact Rep. Rice by calling (202) 224-3121 and ask that she REMOVE HER NAME AS A SPONSOR OF H.R. 620.

Why We Don’t Like HR 620

  • Removes any incentive for voluntary compliance from businesses.
  • Rewards non-compliance by allowing businesses generous additional timelines, even though the ADA’s very reasonable requirements are already over 27 years old!
  • Money damages requested from businesses are not part of the ADA. Actually, this part of the ADA doesn’t allow money damages, so changing the federal ADA will not affect any state law money damage provisions.
  • Ignores the extensive, free educational resources already available today to any business informing them of how to comply with the ADA. (ADA National Network: Information, Guidance and Training on the ADA)
  • Ignores the effective and extensive methods already available to courts and state bar associations to deal with a small number of frivolous lawsuits or unscrupulous attorneys. We should use those existing legal mechanisms when needed, rather than deny the civil rights established by the ADA that aid people with disabilities every day.
  • This bill would amend the ADA to require the individual with a disability to send a letter of notification to the business that was out of compliance with the law giving the business a grace period of 180 days in total before someone can file suit.
  • This bill is trying to protect businesses at the expense of people with disabilities and this is not the answer.
  • The vast majority of ADA attorneys and plaintiffs are seeking solutions to fix real denials of access. But the business community has pushed the media to portray “a few bad apples” as a landslide occurrence.