Government, Health, Syracuse

Local Disability Advocate Speaks Out Against ADA Reform Act

The interior of Syracuse Universit's Disability Cultural Center.

The interior of Syracuse University’s Disability Cultural Center. (c) 2018 John Licinio

Click the Play button above to hear the Coordinator of Syracuse University’s Disability Cultural Center’s remarks on the ADA Education and Reform Act.

By John Licinio SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The upcoming ADA Education and Reform Act has come under fire recently from disability advocates, who allege that the bill will disadvantage disabled individuals and unfairly benefit businesses that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ADA Education and Reform Act is a proposed law that, if passed, would amend the existing Americans with Disabilities Act by providing for a “notice and cure period” before lawsuits can be brought against a business for potential ADA violations and by adding additional legal requirements to the process of filing a complaint.

Although the bill’s official House Judiciary Committee report claims that these provisions are necessary to allow businesses to identify violations and to prevent “drive-by” lawsuits from those who did not encounter legitimate barriers to access, some disability advocates say that the ADA Education and Reform Act would simply make it easier for businesses to ignore existing ADA regulations.

The coordinator of Syracuse University’s Disability Cultural Center, Kate Pollack, put it bluntly: “Giving people a longer time to neglect the law doesn’t make any sense, in my opinion.”

Pollack claims that, because the ADA has already been in effect for almost three decades, businesses that still do not comply with the ADA will likely not take action unless legal action is brought against them. She also criticized the idea of “drive-by” lawsuits, saying:

“The problem is that people think when disabled people are suing your business they’re just after your money. And that’s not true, they just really want access and that’s the only way that’s actually going to happen, because people aren’t always going to put a ramp or whatever it is in their business out of the kindness of their hearts. And that’s too bad, but it’s true.”

The ADA Education and Reform Act passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday, February  15th. It has yet to be voted on in the Senate.