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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

An Update from the NCIL ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee

During this quarter, NCIL’s ADA / Civil Rights Committee Subcommittee has been working on several projects and paying attention to bills in Congress that have the potential to affect the civil rights of persons with disabilities nationwide.

ADA Notification

H.R. 3765: filed by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX; 2nd Congressional District)

Titled the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015, H.R. 3765 was introduced and assigned to committee in October 2015. This bill contains language similar to that used in past pieces of legislation that would have limited the ADA. It is similar to the ADA Notification Act, but with a new twist: Section 3 of the bill creates a new crime for sending a demand letter… alleging a violation of section 302 or 303 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This in itself is damaging and unacceptable. Nowhere else in civil rights legislation is it a crime to file a complaint. You will notice below many of the co-sponsors are from states that have no other options for complaint resolution.

The bill also reintroduces a Notice & Cure Period. Businesses have already had over 25 years to comply with the ADA. If they have not done so by now, why should they need an additional 6 month barrier before actions can be taken?

Current co-sponsors: Rep. Doug Colling (R-GA), Rep David Jolly (R-FL), Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Rep Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Rep David Valado (R-CA), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Rep Scott Peters (D-CA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)

The Murphy Bill

H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, is progressing through committee. In addition to the ADR / Civil Rights Subcommittee, NCIL’s Mental Health Subcommittee is also monitoring both of these bills.

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 was introduced in June 2015 by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA). The bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. There are currently 179 Co-Sponsors. View progress of the bill. This bill contains damaging language that affects the rights of persons with disabilities and we are monitoring it closely.

We received word that on February 2nd Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) is filing a bill that is proposed as an answer to H.R. 2646 and is Bi-Partisan. We are reviewing it and intend provide comments.

NCIL Access Survey Academy Project

The Access Survey Academy Project held its inaugural training in November in Nitro, West Virginia titled NCIL “ASAP Survey Training”. This is the “foundation” training NCIL will be presenting at several locations across the country in 2016 to educate and develop a reliable network of accessibility surveyors at Centers for Independent Living and Disability Rights Centers. Stay tuned for more info on this and more exciting news coming about the NCIL Access Academy! The project was sponsored by the West Virginia SILC and WVDRS, and we extend our gratitude for their support!

The goal will be to expand the project in 2016, and to develop continuing education and networking opportunities in addition to holding several more “foundation” trainings nationwide. Each onsite training will last three days. Mark Derry leads the group through all phases of access surveys, and explains how to assess the built environment. The goal of this first-of-its-kind project is to form a nationwide network of certified access survey specialists. Raising awareness and understanding of access also grows the role of CILs in the communities we serve, especially when those seeking technical assistance come to the Center first as the experts in access.  There are also a multitude of directions Centers can take the formulas, methods, tips, and data from this training program and develop fee-for-service opportunities providing survey, plan review, or training services.

Parenting Task Force

The NCIL Board recently formed the Parenting Task Force as a part of the ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee. We are thrilled to be in the process of seeking members and launching this new Task Force! If you are interested in being part of the NCIL Parenting Task Force, please contact Mark Derry adamarkd@aol.com or Steve Higgins shiggins@iacil.org. We will be discussing the Task Force during the next ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee call. 

Committee Change

This fall we had a change in leadership on the ADA Civil Rights Subcommittee when Steve Higgins joined Mike Bachhuber as Co-Chair. Since then, Mike has taken on the role of chairing the Mental Health Subcommittee and will be dedicating much of his energy there.  Mark Derry is stepping back in to work with Steve on the ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee as we work our way to the NCIL Conference this year.

Monthly Call

The ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee is meeting monthly on the third Monday from 3:00 to 4:30 Eastern via conference call. (In the event the third Monday is a holiday we meet on the fourth Monday). If you are an individual NCIL member and interested in participating, please let us know and we will add you to the meeting contact list.

Comments

  1. Denise Myler says:

    I would like to know why two democrats have joined this legislative action. Could someone from NCIL get official statements from Rep. Scott Peters from California and Rep. Charles Rangel from New York. I see this legislation as hurting the ADA but also making the disabled or a disabled organization seeking changes as criminal to bring lawsuits or have discussion withregards to seeking changes for the company and disabled communities benefit. Please let us know if Reps. Peters and Rangel respond with statements concerning their co-sponsor status of the bill.

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