Representatives Show Little Enthusiasm For ADA Notification
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 20, 2004
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA--According to a recent story in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, local Congressional representatives do not fully support a Constitutional amendment giving businesses 90 days notice before they can be sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
H.R. 728, the "ADA Notification Act", was introduced into the U.S. Congress by Florida Representative Mark Foley in February 2003. The amendment would make people with disabilities inform business owners how their buildings are not accessible before suing.
Some advocates argue that the ADA has already been in effect for 12 years, and that more notification would effectively endorse discrimination. Some point out that other minority groups are not required to give businesses 90 days notice before they can be forced to allow them in.
"It puts one more responsibility on the person with a disability when this is a law that's been in place since 1992," said Jo Black, executive director of Independent Living Resource Centers serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Representative Lois Capps, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, and Representative Bill Thomas, a Republican from Bakersfield, expressed little support for the amendment, the Tribune reported. They are concerned, however, about a series of lawsuits filed by people with disabilities against local businesses. One wheelchair user, for example, has sued more than 50 restaurants and wineries in the county, claiming they discriminated against him by not being accessible.
Capps said she plans to have a representative from the U.S. Department of Justice talk with Central Coast business owners about what they can do to comply with federal and state accessibility laws so they won't be sued.
The area she represents is just south of Carmel, where film actor/director Clint Eastwood was successfully sued four years ago this month for not making his resort accessible. Eastwood is a strong supporter of ADA notification.
"Support for disability lawsuit bill is limited" (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
Text of HR 728: ADA Notification Act
"How the ADA Notification Act Weakens the ADA" (Ohio State Independent Living Council)
"ADA Notification & Clint Eastwood" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)