In a 225-192 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 15, approved legislation that would give businesses a chance to fix compliance issues with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), before federal lawsuits are filed against them.
The ADA Education and Reform Act, or H.R. 620, gives businesses 60 days to devise a compliance plan and another 120 days to implement the changes. Alabama co-sponsors are U.S. Reps. Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile; Martha Roby, R-Montgomery; Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville; and Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“All this bill does is require those unscrupulous trial lawyers to … give fair notice of a violation before thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees are racked up against a small business, diverting money from accessibility where it belongs,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told reporters.
Alabama retailers want customers with disabilities to be able to move freely within and outside their business. What they don’t want is to be harassed by a lawyer trying to extort huge legal fees from them based on minor or nonexistent infractions with no real interest in ensuring their store or restaurant is accessible.
In 2015, Alabama ranked fifth in the country in the number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access lawsuits filed.
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