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Disability Network Southwest Michigan

The ADA is being threatened by H.R. 620

What You Need to Know about H.R. 620

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is under serious threat by a Bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The Bill is titled “The ADA Education and Reform Act of 201 (H.R. 620).” The ADA is the cornerstone of civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. Specifically, Title III of the ADA requires businesses to pro-actively provide barrier-free access to their establishments. Since it’s passing, the business community has been reluctant to comply with ADA requirements.

If passed, H.R. 620 would significantly reduce the effectiveness of Title III requirements. Instead of automatically requiring businesses to be barrier-free, the bill would only require businesses to provide accessibility when/if a person with a disability is denied access and files a complaint. At that point, the business would have six months to make “substantial progress” toward providing access before a court order could be sought. This could allow businesses to remain out of compliance for years while they slowly make minor changes, claiming to be making “substantial progress.”

The National Council on Independent Living recently stated, “H.R. 620 is a terrible bill that would be a major step backwards for people with disabilities. Twenty seven years after the passage of the ADA, the fact that Congress is working to make it easier to discriminate against people with disabilities is shameful.”

H.R. 620 gained some momentum recently as it passed through the House Judiciary Committee. You can take action by contacting your U.S. Representative. If you are unsure who your Representative is or how to contact them, you can find the information at www.CommonCause.org. Tell your Representative that H.R. 620 is harmful to people with disabilities and they must vote No!