Washington, D.C. – On the eve of a planned vote by the House of Representatives on H.R. 620, the mis-named ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, U.S. Senator Bob Casey released the following statement:
“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 as the last of the major civil rights laws. The ADA changed the landscape of the country by ensuring that all parts of communities were accessible to Americans with disabilities. Prior to the passage of the ADA, people with disabilities were often denied access to grocery stores, movie theaters, ball parks, trains and buses. With the passage of the ADA, people with disabilities were assured the rights to access all businesses and services offered to the general public without discrimination.
Now, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a misguided, mean-spirited bill that will significantly limit the rights of people with disabilities by removing the teeth of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
H.R. 620 will make it more difficult for people with disabilities to gain entrance to local stores, attend a play, or use a web site. This bill removes the need for a business or any organization that offers its services to the public to make those services accessible until a complaint is filed. The bill makes it more difficult to file a complaint and would make a person with a disability wait up to 180 days or more to gain access to services. That’s a long time to wait for a meal in a restaurant, to fill a prescription or to get a haircut.
I urge my House colleagues to vote no on this bill and recognize that Congress should be protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities, not weakening and discarding those rights.
H.R. 620 would make the over 50 million Americans with disabilities second-class citizens. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed nearly 28 years ago, assuring the rights of people with disabilities to be treated as equals under the law. I will continue to fight to protect those rights and oppose any legislation that threatens those rights.”