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

Congressional Recess: Contact Your Representatives in Their Home Districts This Week!

Nothing About Us Without Us 2010 protest signWe must keep fighting the attack on the ADA. This week, your members of the House of Representatives are in their home offices. The attack on the ADA continues and is in fact one step closer to becoming law.

On Thursday, April 26, Representative John Carter (R-TX), member of the House Committee on Appropriations, submitted an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill. The amendment seeks “to bar the use of Justice Department funds under the bill to require public and commercial facilities to provide a permanent means of access to pools and spas to individuals with disabilities. Requirements for existing swimming pools are slated to take effect in May”.

The amendment passed by a voice vote. Rep. Carter argued that it was not “common sense” to require permanent lifts for each swimming pool, which he contended would be costly for hotels, when the issue could be addressed through portable lifts. He also said he wanted to delay implementation to give Congress a chance to act.

This issue is about disability rights, not economics! This would seriously undermine the core ADA principle of “readily achievable barrier removal” for existing structures, which has been the key to fairness in updating older buildings to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities for nearly 22 years!

This week, seek out your Representatives while they are in your district by going to their district offices, calling them, and attending their town hall meetings. Tell them: Stop the Attack on the ADA Now!

On March 16, Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 4200, “To Amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990”. On March 26, Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) introduced H.R. 4256, “The Pool Safety and Accessibility for Everyone (pool SAFE) Act”.

Representative John Carter (R-TX) is a co-sponsor of both bills, which continue to gain co-sponsors daily. We must stop this momentum because these bills will set dangerous precedent by weakening the ADA. It is not acceptable for Congress to backtrack on ADA requirements because an industry exerts pressure. To do so is an invitation to other industries to ask that their responsibilities be rolled back, too.

Today it’s the hotel industry. What devastating changes will come tomorrow? What other human and civil rights laws will be adjusted?

Take Action:

  • Call and visit them at their district offices: If your representative is a co-sponsor on either of these bills call them today and tell them to remove their name as a co-sponsor! Find out if your representative is a co-sponsor of H.R. 4200 and H.R. 4256.
  • Go to the Town Hall meetings: If your representative is having a town hall meeting to talk with their constituents, attend in person and bring your family, friends and other community members with you.
  • Tell them: Stop supporting H.R. 4200 and / or H.R. 4256. These bills would start the destruction of the ADA as we know it!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates. Contact Dara Baldwin, Policy Analyst, at dara@ncil.org for more information.

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