HR 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

This bill would devastate the civil rights of disabled Americans and you need to know about it.

A bill which just passed the House would update the law for disabled Americans for modern times, say Republicans. Democrats say it would set disabled Americans’ civil rights back decades. Here's what you need to know. 

What does HR 620 do?

The ADA Education and Reform Act aims to crack down on frivolous lawsuits, by amending the existing 1990 law to require a “notice and cure” period.

The legislation would require that any person claiming discrimination must first provide written notice, allowing 60 days for an owner to acknowledge receipt of the complaint, plus an additional 120 days before legal action can be initiated. No other civil rights legislation currently on the books contains such a provision, though, some states have enacted legislature to crack down on the frivolous suits themselves. 

What do Supporters say?

Supporters say that the bill will crack down on frivolous lawsuits that benefit lawyers more than disabled Americans. 

"The goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to provide access for the disabled – it’s not to give unscrupulous trial lawyers the opportunity to abuse small businesses,” said Rep. Calvert (R-CA)

 “Predatory attorneys who often times don’t even live in the same state are using Google Earth to find minor ADA violations, and slapping devastating lawsuits on local small businesses who thought they were in compliance with the law without giving them an opportunity to fix the infraction..." Congressman Mike Conway (R-TX)

What do the Opponents say?

Opponents believe that the bill would significantly impede disabled Americans’ abilities to remedy ADA violations in a timely fashion.

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and the first quadriplegic elected to Congress, voted today against H.R. 620, saying "For the past 27 years, the ADA has significantly improved the quality of life for me and millions of people with disabilities by protecting us from discrimination. This bill reverses decades of progress by undercutting our ability to assert our rights under the law through the use of a ‘notice and cure’ provision. But justice delayed is justice denied. Businesses should not be encouraged to ignore the law until someone complains, which is exactly what this legislation does. I’m deeply concerned that this bill will bring our country back to the days when discrimination was commonplace, and I am saddened that Congress sent a message to people with disabilities that we are not equal, or worthy of the same civil rights protections as others.”

H.R. 620 was opposed by over 200 civil rights, disability rights, and other organizations.

Tell us and your legislators how you feel about HR 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017


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