WASHINGTON – Forty-three Democratic senators banded together to protest changes to the Americans With Disabilities Act approved by the House in February. The filibuster-proof bloc sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week that said the proposal “will never receive a vote in the United States Senate during the 115th Congress.”
The senators took exception to the House bill that would prohibit disabled individuals from filing lawsuits against businesses that have a physical barrier to access without providing written legal notice. Then retailers would be given 60 days to respond to the notice, plus another 120 days to address the complaint with substantial progress.
The senators labeled the proposal as “discriminatory,” saying it would “weaken federal protections for an entire class of Americans.” The House voted 225 to 192 on the bill, which disability rights groups disrupted. “[I] would destroy any incentive under the ADA for timely removal of architectural barriers in public accommodations,” the letter stated. “Simply put, we reject in the strongest terms the offensive suggestion by supporters of H.R. 620 that a civil rights violation denying access to a public space could ever be ‘minor.’”