Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Department of Justice Proposes Vast Changes in ADA Regulations

Via bfp


From the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and other disability rights attorneys and advocates

Please forward this alert widely
The deadline for comments is August 18, 2008.
TO SEE DRAFT COMMENTS, visit http://www.dredf.org/DOJ_NPRM

The Department of Justice recently issued major proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Some of DOJ’s changes are excellent, and urgently needed. It is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADAAG, stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual, and speech disabilities.
However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities. For example, DOJ proposes:

* A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
* A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
* An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules;
* and many others.

DOJ must receive a flood of comments from the disability community in favor of a strong, comprehensive ADA. Comments must defend the principle of individual, case-by-case assessment, which DOJ is largely abandoning in favor of many blanket reductions. We must remind DOJ that the ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities into account, and that reductions to our civil rights would be a devastating blow to our daily lives.
Extensive draft comments, by topic, are available on the DREDF website to help you write your own comments — click here. The list of topics is also below. The website also has information about how to file your comments, as well as tips on commenting and a link to the proposed regulations.

Important: Your comments will have the most impact if you revise our drafts to add your own thoughts, and especially your own personal experiences or those of friends, family, colleagues or clients with disabilities.


* Safe Harbor
* One-percent (1%) safe harbor for barrier removal in existing facilities for qualified small businesses
* “Reasonable number but at least one” in program access under Title II
* Exemption for facilities that allegedly comply with the 1991 ADAAG
* Path of travel
* Definition of “existing facility”
* Comments on the Regulatory Impact Analysis
* Title II Complaint Process
* Communications; auxiliary aids and services
* Service animals
* Hotel reservations policies
* Seating and ticketing in assembly areas
* Medical care facilities
* Wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices
* Prisons, jails and the Prison Litigation Reform Act
* Social service agencies, residential facilities, transient lodging, and dormitories
* Recreation facilities and Play areas (General Comments)
* Saunas and steam rooms
* Swimming pools
* Exercise equipment
* Team player and seating areas
* Areas of sport activity
* Boating and fishing
* Golf
* Miniature Golf
* Topics not addressed
* Questions concerning specific 2004 ADAAG Standards
* General comments
* Side reach
* Water closet clearances in single-user toilet rooms with in-swinging doors
* Elevators
* Stairs
* Accessible routes to stages
* Accessible attorney areas and witness stands
* Assistive listening system
* Accessible routes to golf tees and greens
* Work Areas
* Maintenance of accessible features
* ATMs
* Examinations and courses
* Triggering Date

The deadline for comments is August 18, 2008.
TO SEE DRAFT COMMENTS, visit http://www.dredf.org/DOJ_NPRM

1 comment:

  1. It's sad that disabled Americans have to mobilize to remind an institution like the Department of Justice to be considerate of the disabled. Justice is supposed to be blind, not ignorant or forgetful.


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