An attack on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an attack on disability rights – and that’s exactly what’s happening in Congress right now. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. Don’t let the name fool you; this bill puts new restrictions on the ADA and the rights of people with disabilities. We need to push back now: contact your Representatives and let them know that our civil rights don’t come with a waiting period.
Under H.R. 620, before we can exercise our ADA rights, a new bureaucratic process would have to take place every time a business is inaccessible.
- First, you would have to send a formal letter to the business describing the problem.
- If your letter doesn’t include all the technical legal language the law requires, it won’t count, and the business can ignore it.
- After receiving your letter, the business can put off fixing the illegal barriers that exclude disabled people for up to four months before you can sue for your rights.
Businesses have had 27 years to come into compliance with the ADA. Some of them still want a pass on excluding disabled people – but we don’t have to give them one. Contact your Representative and tell them to vote NO on delaying our rights.
You can find contact information for your Congressional Representative at contactingcongress.org. Here’s a script you can use to call, write, or email:
My name is [Name], and I live in [your town]. I’m [calling/writing] to ask Representative [Name] to vote NO on H.R. 620. People with disabilities need to be able to shop for groceries, stay at hotels, and use other public accommodations. It has been 27 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disabled people in our district have waited too long for access – and businesses have had plenty of time to provide it. Please protect the ADA and vote NO on H.R. 620.
After you’ve called or emailed, check out our civic engagement toolkit for more ways to engage with your elected officials. When Congress is debating disability policy, they need to be listening to disabled people – so speak up, and be a voice they can’t ignore. Make sure your Representative gets the message: Nothing about us, without us!