Disability rights activists are very concerned after the U.S. House approved legislation that makes a major modification to the Americans with Disabilities Act. House Bill 620 would require people facing accessibility barriers at public businesses to provide written notice of their concerns. The publication Disability Scoop says concerns could include a lack of wheelchair ramps, special parking or bathroom facilities. Businesses would have up to 60 days to respond and then an additional 60 days to begin improvements.
Supporters of the legislation say they are trying to address frivolous lawsuits around ADA compliance.
But advocates for people with disabilities say businesses could ignore accessibility issues unless there is a complaint. That would be akin to erasing gains achieved in the 27 years since the ADA was written into law.
The Amalgamated Transit Union, in a letter to Congress, said “the legislation would subject people with disabilities, and only people with disabilities, to a burdensome bureaucratic procedure to gain access to certain public accommodations.
“Human dignity and civil rights do not allow us to single out and subject people with disabilities to waiting periods and red tape to gain entrance to stores, restaurants, schools, theaters, night clubs, hospitals and offices that are open and accessible to all others without delay or hindrance.”