Update Feb 12, 2018: Congress could vote on HR 620 this week. If you haven’t yet called to oppose it, please do.
This OTYCD post originally appeared in October 2017.
Call your house rep to oppose HR 620, which would alter the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and undermine the rights of the disabled.
The ADA was passed in 1990, under President George H. W. Bush. It required businesses to make accommodations for disabled people, including adding wheelchair ramps and bathroom facilities that can accommodate wheelchairs.
HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, would change the ADA to no longer require businesses to proactively comply with the law. It shifts the burden to disabled customers, who are required to inform the business owner how their rights were violated. Then the wronged disabled people have to wait six months to see if the owner does anything to fix the problems before they can go to court to get them to comply.
You might have noticed that, hey, the law is 27 years old. Shouldn’t pretty much every business that faces the public have brought itself into compliance or sought the necessary waivers? Why yes, yes, they should have. Ages ago. The current law allows businesses to stave off lawsuits if they claim they are making substantial progress toward complying with the ADA. And as you have probably guessed, the government doesn’t generally devote the time or resources needed to nudge businesses to get right with the law.
As of September 7, HR 620 has been reported out of committee. The next step, if it advances, would be a full floor vote in the House. Skopos gives the bill a 17 percent chance of becoming law. Because of where it is in the legislative cycle, we at OTYCD thought the time was right to for an anti-HR 620 action.
As always, before you call, please check the web site and social media accounts of your House rep to see if he or she has said anything about HR 620, and prepare to give thanks or heap scorn. (Politely.)
Sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zip code). I am calling you to oppose HR 620, which, if passed, would undermine the civil rights of disabled people. Businesses have had 27 years to bring themselves into compliance with the ADA or pursue waivers. Weakening the ADA, which HR 620 would do, would lower the quality of life of millions of aging and disabled Americans. Please oppose this bill and ensure that it does not leave the House of Representatives. Thank you.”
See GovTrack’s page on HR 620:
Read a piece from the ACLU on the likely effects of HR 620:
Follow the Twitter account of ADAPT, which is all over HR 620-related news and activism: