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– Disability Community Holding Members of Congress Accountable –

Media Contact: David Perry & Associates, Inc. / (415) 676-7007/

12 February, 2018 – San Francisco, CA:  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is under attack in Congress, threatening the hard fought gains of the last 27 years which ushered in a new era of accessibility and participation for Americans with disabilities. 

H.R.  620, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and co-sponsored by some Democrats, including Rep. Jackie Speier, eliminates incentives for business compliance with the landmark civil rights law for disabled Americans.

The bill, misnamed the “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education and Reform Act,” would in actuality, remove consequences for businesses that don’t comply with the ADA.  Today, businesses have an obligation to make themselves accessible and there is a consequence if they don’t do so.  Under H.R. 620, the heaviest burden on ending discrimination is placed upon those whom the ADA was created to protect.  Individuals who encounter an access barrier would have to send a written notice of the ADA provisions being violated to the business in question.

“Congress is again favoring the powerful at the expense of the vulnerable by turning back the clock on the ADA,” said Jessie Lorenz, Executive Director of the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco (ILRCSF).  “Pulling the teeth out of ADA’s compliance enforcement would give a pass to businesses from Wal-Mart to Starbucks, effectively closing the door on continued possibility, integration and the significant economic gains and contributions of Americans with disabilities.”

Disability Action for America is calling upon people with disabilities to hold their members of Congress accountable for threatening the rights of disabled Americans. The National Council on Independent Living and ILRCSF fully support this call to action and will continue to fight with our community against the unjust treatment of Americans with Disabilities.

Locally, Representative Jackie Speier is supporting this blatant attempt by Congress to turn back the clock on years of opportunity expansion and contributions, which has changed the societal landscape for the better.  ILRCSF urges all disabled people in this district to contact Representative Speier to clearly express that the disability community will hold those who vote in support of H.R. 620 accountable.

“Members of the House will apparently have the opportunity to vote on this destructive bill, but we will have the opportunity to vote in November,” said Jessie Lorenz. “We won’t forget and will urge people with disabilities in our community to vote for the Congressional candidate who supports their rights.”

Disability Action for America (Full Statement):

ILRCSF, staffed almost entirely by people with disabilities, offers support, advocacy, and information regarding the rights of people with disabilities to individuals, educational institutions, and the small business community.
Programs at ILRCSF include everything from peer counseling and help with assistive technologies, to economic empowerment workshops and accessible housing advocacy. In recent years, the agency has expanded outreach to include a program geared towards youth empowerment and has now become home to a number of peer support groups including a Veterans’ Art Guild, in which military veterans living with service-related disabilities work on creative projects ranging from photography and sculpture to creative writing.

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