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

Update: Legislative Attack on the ADA

Rally at the AHLA 2012Earlier this year, NCIL embarked on an advocacy campaign to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act in the 112th Congress. In March, the United States Department of Justice delayed the compliance deadline for certain requirements of the regulations implementing Titles II and III of the ADA. DOJ extended the deadline for implementation of accessible pools for hotels across the country. At the same time, multiple Congressional leaders, such as Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Representatives Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and David Schweikert (R-AZ), introduced legislation in the Senate and House that would weaken the ADA in the area of implementation of accessibility. 

NCIL, along with some of our partners, created an advocacy outreach plan that included meetings on the Hill with congressional staff and leadership. ADAPT and NCIL members packed the room during the hearing on this legislation; made this a priority talking point for advocates on their 2012 NCIL Day on the Hill; and a held a protest in front of the American Hotel Association’s DC offices during the 2012 NCIL Conference.

We remain committed to the advocacy campaign to diffuse work to undermine the ADA. Unfortunately, the bills created by the leaders listed above continued to receive congressional sponsors until the end of the year. Bills set forth to weaken the ADA in other areas include Representative Dan Lungren’s (R-CA) bill regarding notification and Representative Barney Frank’s (D-MA) bill regarding lawsuits.

What’s happening in DC?

We are sending a letter to DOJ informing them that we expect the pool regulation deadline of January 31, 2013 to be implemented with no delays. Representative Dan Lungren (R-CA) was defeated in his re-election campaign and will not return to Congress for the 113th, so his notification bill will go away. We have not heard any reports of another legislator taking this up in the House, but unfortunately, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) continues her push in the Senate. We just received word that Representative Barney Frank’s bill, H.R. 2032, will not move any further in the 112th. We hope that this will be the final congressional session to see this legislation.

We believe that we must educate new legislators and their staffs before they begin working on legislation. Our goal for the 113th Congressional session is to have an ADA Briefing quarterly on the Hill, each covering different aspects of the law. NCIL will lead this charge and work closely with our partners and coalitions here in DC. You can help by encouraging your congressional leaders and their staff members to attend the briefings. Our plan is to have the first briefing for the 113th Congress in February.

Thank you for your outreach and advocacy on this work. For more information, please contact Dara Baldwin, Policy Analyst, at dara@ncil.org.

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