House Judiciary Committee Approves ADA Notification Bill

The House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 3765, the "ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016," as amended

On July 7, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 3765, the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016,” as amended. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) would require a person with a disability to give notice to a public accommodation of an architectural barrier under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prior to filing a lawsuit. During the committee markup, its supporters portrayed the legislation as necessary to protect the ADA and ensure access.

Notification laws put the onus on the person with a disability to find ADA violations and notify a public accommodation of those violations. Instead of protecting and promoting the ADA, this legislation would actually force veterans and all people with disabilities to wait in line for access to restaurants, grocery stores, and other places of public accommodation. Covered entities should continuously evaluate their businesses for appropriate access under the ADA and not wait to receive a notification before acting to make them fully accessible.

Prior to passage, the legislation was amended to remove penalties for individuals who send a demand letter or other pre-suit notification that fails to include specific information as enumerated by the legislation as introduced.  However, the notification requirement itself would still impose yet another barrier to full access for people with disabilities.  PVA is on the record as being strongly opposed to this legislation.  National Advocacy staff previously met with the International Council of Shopping Centers, a key supporter of H.R. 3765, to express our concerns.  Unfortunately, those concerns were not heeded by many of the members of the House Judiciary Committee.  

 

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