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An Update from the NCIL ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee

The 113th Congress is coming to a close. The final weeks of 2014 are also the final weeks of this Congressional session. NCIL’s ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee is preparing for this upcoming change by reviewing bills on ADA compliance introduced during the past two years. There were a few bills introduced in early 2013 that continue to be presented in each Congressional session. 

In the 113th Congress, three such bills were introduced in the House:

  • H.R. 203, the Pool Safety and Accessibility for Everyone Act (Pool SAFE Act), introduced by Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC);
  • H.R. 777, the ADA Notification Act of 2013, introduced by Representative Duncan Hunter (R- CA), amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to deny jurisdiction to a state or federal court in a civil action a plaintiff commences for remedies for disability discrimination; and
  • H.R. 994, the ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services Act (ACCESS Act) of 2013, introduced by Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA), amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to prohibit an aggrieved person from commencing a civil action for discrimination based on the failure to remove a structural barrier to entry.

NCIL’s ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee and our allies were able to stop momentum of co-sponsors to all of the bills in 2013 and no comparative bills were introduced in the Senate. NCIL provided education and advocacy to Congressional Representatives about the serious implications these bills have on the implementation of a 24 year old law. The Subcommittee is preparing for outreach in the 114th Congress because, unfortunately, these bills continue to be introduced each session. 

The ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee is currently working on its advocacy strategy plan for the next two years. We will use information from the bi-annual Survey of NCIL members (once it is available) to set our agenda. But until that survey is done, we are preparing to outreach in multiple ways. On November 4, 2014 the country voted in many new members of Congress and we are assessing the election results. The Subcommittee will reach out to these new members with invitations to our Congressional Briefing & Reception, taking place in February 2015. We have decided to create an advocacy plan for getting federal law introduced on the rights of parents with disabilities.

This is an important issue for NCIL members, parents with disabilities, and their children. NCIL has been at the forefront on gathering information and data for this work. Kelly Buckland and NCIL staff assisted with the National Council on Disability’s (NCD) 2012 report titled Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children. NCIL members and staff have actively contributed to this work by providing information and participating as panelists in every NCD Policy Briefing held on this issue. Over the next year, the ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee will use the recommendations provided in the NCD report on policy suggestions and bring forth information to the membership.

In 2015, NCIL and the world will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. The ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee will be a part of this work in multiple ways. Members of the Subcommittee have and will continue to participate at some of the stops that the ADA Legacy Tour Bus makes this upcoming year. Make sure you get your ADA Legacy t-shirt and calendar, and follow the tour on Twitter at @ADALegacyTour. We will also be at NCIL’s 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living and hope to have an exciting session to discuss the anniversary.

It has been an exciting year and we look forward to more great work in the coming year and new Congress. Please join our work by becoming an individual member of NCIL and joining the Subcommittee.

Thank you to all of our great Subcommittee members, wonderful Task Force leaders, and NCIL members for all you do.

Dara Baldwin & Mike Bachhuber
Co-Chairs, NCIL ADA / Civil Rights Subcommittee

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