Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Proposed Bill Is an Attack on Disability Rights, Groups Say

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 12:34 PM

click to enlarge MIKEMOZART/FLICKR
  • MikeMozart/Flickr

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A bill aimed at strengthening the Americans with Disabilities Act may not be what it seems. The U.S. House could vote this week on The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620). The bill would give businesses accused of not complying with the law a grace period to fix alleged infractions on their properties before they are subject to litigation.

The executive director of Disability Rights Ohio, Michael Kirkman, contends it would complicate the complaint process and greatly lengthen the time it takes to bring a business into compliance. And he adds it creates the notion that disability rights are less important than other rights.



"They wouldn't attempt to pass a bill like this around race or gender or other protected classes," he says. "So the disability community is pretty unified in its outrage about this."

Kirkman says businesses would have no incentive to comply with the law. Proponents claim the bill will curb frivolous lawsuits. The House could vote on the legislation as early as Wednesday.

Marilyn Golden, the senior policy analyst with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, says claims that unscrupulous lawyers are using the ADA to extort business for payback are false.

"The vast majority of lawsuits under the ADA are well-intentioned efforts to change the structure of the building to make it accessible, not an attempt to get money," she explains.

The ADA has been a law for nearly three decades, which Kirkman says means businesses have had ample time to understand the law's requirements and comply.

"Someone who's in a restaurant who needs to use an accessible restroom, that restroom should have been made accessible when they remodeled the restaurant but in many cases, it's not so they're forced to go through this process," Kirkman adds. "And in the meantime, they still can't use the restroom 30 years after the ADA was passed."

Opponents also note the bill was not crafted with the consultation of the disability-rights community.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation