DAC Opposes HR 620

Today, Wednesday, February 14 or Thursday, February 15, the House of Representatives is likely to vote on H.R. 620, a dangerous bill that seeks to reverse nearly three decades of civil rights protections for people with disabilities. H.R. 620 not only allows equal access violators to keep breaking the law, it rewards them for it!

The misleadingly titled “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017” rewards law-breakers by letting them continue to deny access to disabled customers—without any consequences—and punishes the person being discriminated against by forcing them to detail all the ways that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is being violated.

It gives law-breakers six months or longer to make “substantial progress”—without defining what that is—in fixing the problem before the person being discriminated against can see their doctor, buy a cake, eat at a restaurant, or go to the movies with friends or family members.

Help Stop H.R. 620: Take ACTION

  • Send EMAILS urging members of the House to VOTE NO on H.R. 620. Contacting Congress provides links to email your Representative directly;
  • Pick up the phone and call your representative! Tell them to VOTE NO on H.R. 620;
  • Post your opposition to HR 620. See Contacting Congress for how. On Twitter, the hashtags we’re using are: #HandsOffMyADA, #StopHR620, and #CripTheVote.
  • Write a letter AT ANY TIME opposing H.R. 620 to all House offices (see how to send below);
  • On the day of the vote (likely Wednesday or Thursday), please CALL and TWEET all day and tell members of the House to VOTE NO and Stop H.R. 620!

To write your representative online, go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and enter your zip code. From there, click on the envelope under your representative’s photo.

For a list of additional resources including Talking Points, sample tweets, action alert templates, phone scripts, graphics for social media, etc. go tohttp://dredf.org/hr620/ or download the CCD Toolkit.

Also see DREDF’s earlier alert, “Thirty Years of Holding It Is Long Enough.”

The following letter thanks our Executive Director for writing a letter of opposition.  We urge you to do the same. Instructions follow.

Whether you represent an organization, a consumer or just yourself, please modify the model letter here to make the maximum impact in order to tell your story.

Dear Evan,
Thanks again for signing on to the May 24, 2017 letters to California members of Congress and H.R. 620 cosponsors! You joined 110 disability and civil rights organizations from across California to oppose the so-called “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.” Our letter reached our entire Congressional delegation and has been a model for similar letters in other states. 
We’re reaching out today to a few of the organizations that signed the previous letter to ask that you contact Senator Feinstein’s office in writing to oppose the Senate version of H.R. 620, which is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon. 
The D.C. team has been working with Senator Feinstein’s staff to oppose these legislative efforts and has learned that Senator Feinstein wants to hear from more California organizations. Letters are needed from California disability and civil rights organizations about why you oppose ADA notification legislation. 
We’re writing to ask you to please write to Senator Dianne Feinstein, c/o her D.C. staff person Phillip Brest. State your opposition to these bills, and why. Please do this in the next few days.
To assist in these efforts, you can, if you wish, use the resources below, including a letter/email outline with key points for Senator Feinstein to hear from California organizations. If you prefer, just write a note stating your reason(s) for opposing H.R. 620.
Letter/email outline and key points:
1.    Organization intro – a brief description of your organization and the work it does on behalf of the California communities you represent.
2.    Thank Senator Feinstein for her longtime support of the disability community. 
3.    Briefly state your organization’s (or your own) opposition to any legislation amending the ADA to add a “notice” requirement , and state your reasons.
  • Resource: Letter to California Delegation
  • State that your organization opposes amending the ADA and risking it being opened to other harmful changes
  • State that your organization opposes any bill that includes notification language – 
  • So-called “notice” legislation removes any incentive for businesses to comply proactively with the ADA. This change in the law would be a boon for businesses at the expense of people with disabilities.
  • Requiring “notice” makes it far more advantageous for a business to delay doing anything to ensure access for all until it receives a notice that someone was not able to access their public accommodation. 
  • In practice, the proposed requirements of these laws mean the continued exclusion of individuals with disabilities from the basic public accommodations of daily life – for weeks, months, and even years.
4.    Give an example of someone who would be harmed – 
  • Our organization (or you) represents (or are yourself an) individual(s) who would be harmed by this legislation [State example]
5.    Conclusion – we look forward to working with Senator Feinstein in opposing this legislation and working to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.
See additional resources for writing your letters at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) website.