WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 08, 2016) - Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today issued the following statement, announcing its strong opposition to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's passage of the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 3765), as amended. This legislation would require a person with a disability to give notice to a public accommodation of an architectural barrier under the Americans with Disabilities Act prior to filing a lawsuit.
"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a crucial civil rights law that ensures equality of opportunity and access for veterans and all people with disabilities in daily life, including employment, transportation, and public accommodations," explained Paralyzed Veterans of America National President Al Kovach, Jr.
"Paralyzed Veterans is concerned this legislation, as amended, will result in decreased access for people with disabilities to gas stations, grocery stores, hotels, sports stadiums, and other places of public accommodation. Today's actions are not a step forward for access under the ADA. Instead, they are a step backwards."
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016, as amended, would require individuals with disabilities to notify a place of public accommodation about an architectural barrier before any enforcement action could be pursued, which is simply exercising their right to enforce Title III of the ADA in the courts. Currently, remedies under Title III are limited to injunctive relief and attorney's fees. Monetary damages are not available. This legislation would impose yet another barrier to full access for people with disabilities to public accommodations, and public accommodations will have little incentive to proactively address accessibility barriers.
"It's a shame that this legislation was advanced in the name of improving disability access for veterans and all people with disabilities. Veterans with catastrophic disabilities shouldn't be forced to wait in line for accessibility to the accommodations available to other Americans. Businesses must be as aggressive in complying with the ADA's accessibility mandates as they are in meeting all other business-related requirements," concluded Kovach.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For nearly 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (www.pva.org)