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Daily Action: Stop a GOP Assault on ADA Accessibility Rights

Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the congressperson to oppose H.R. 620, the so-called "ADA Education and Reform Act," and to convince other California House members to oppose it as well. This bill would undercut the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring people with disabilities to jump through numerous new procedural hoops in order to secure their accessibility rights. It also would remove any reason for businesses to comply with ADA standards on their own initiative. This bill is an attack on the civil rights of Americans with disabilities, and a sop to business that will harm millions of people. Thank you!

H.R. 620 is headed toward a floor vote in the House as soon as next week, and has the support of six California Democrats -- though Reps. Julia Brownley and Ted Lieu are not currently among them. Billed by Republicans as a way to reduce what they call "drive-by lawsuits," the measure would make the Americans with Disabilities Act harder to enforce, creating new procedural roadblocks for people pursuing claims against businesses that don't comply with its accessibility standards.

The 27-year-old ADA grants civil rights to persons with disabilities -- wheelchair ramps, space to maneuver in public bathrooms, accessible parking, etc. The "ADA Education and Reform Act" would shift the burdens of ensuring compliance with ADA standards from businesses, courts and bureaucrats to the disabled patrons themselves. A complainant would be required to notify a business owner of a lack of accessibility, then "educate" the business on the issue, rather than move immediately to a formal claim. Businesses then would be granted considerable leeway in addressing the situation: 60 days to respond with a written plan for improved access, then 120 days after that to "show substantial progress." In reality, a business could wait years without removing barriers to access, as long as it can continue showing "progress," and incentives for pro-active compliance would disappear.