Committee Approves ADA Reform Bill
On Thursday, Sept. 7, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup of H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX). The Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) considered the legislation, which adds a "notice-and-cure" provision to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), giving businesses an opportunity to fix alleged violations before a suit can be filed against them. It also creates an education program between the Department of Justice, states/local governments, and businesses to raise awareness of ADA compliance issues.
The Committee approved the bill by a vote of 15-9 along party lines. It now awaits passage by the full House.
NAR sent a letter of support for H.R. 620 at the markup, and joined an industry coalition letter as well. In recent years, the practice of "drive-by-ADA suits," in which attorneys hit many businesses with demand letters for small, easily curable infractions of the ADA (sometimes multiple times), has risen. This disproportionately impacts small businesses and commercial properties, and they often end up spending time and resources settling the issue instead of on actually fixing the violation. H.R. 620 provides businesses with the time and incentives to quickly resolve ADA violations, furthering the purpose of the ADA: to ensure access for all individuals to public spaces.