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White House Discredits the ADA on the Day of its Implementation
On a day that should have been a triumphant one for the disabled community, a blow was dealt to the validity of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by the Obama Administration.
For weeks, ridiculous complaints and letters have been sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ), by Hotel and Lodging Associations asking for changes to the rule requiring fixed pool lifts. The reasons cited for the complaints included the claim that the lifts were unnecessary, they could be a safety hazard and they were too expensive. DOJ stood firm in their decision that the lifts were necessary and lawful even after they continued to be bombarded with repeated letters from the American Housing and Lodging Association (AHLA). On March 14th the AHLA sent a request to DOJ requesting them to change the requirements for pool lifts and to grant an extension to the effective date of March 15, 2012. The DOJ responded with a resounding NO! In a final attempt to get their way the AHLA made phone calls to the White House and Congress asking them to postpone implementation of the rule.
On the very day that the ADA went into effect, the Obama Administration caved under the pressure from AHLA and forced DOJ to grant an extension for 60 days which will include a 15 day comment period to consider 'extending the extension' six more months. This decision made by the Obama Administration to interfere compromises the authority of the DOJ and in effect decreases the importance of the ADA.
The American Association of People with Disabilities expressed why this was not the right decision.
- People with disabilities should have the same access to recreational and exercise opportunities as everyone else.
- Backtracking on the ADA is never acceptable.
- The requirements of the ADA should not be postponed for one particular type of accommodation. It sets a bad precedent.
- The ADA was signed into law 22 years ago. Swimming pool owners have had decades to come into compliance.
- The Title III regulations have been going through the regulatory process since 2004.
- The final regulation language and the accessibility standards have been out since September 2010, so the pool owners have had 18 months to comply with those specific standards.
- The regulations are subject to an "undue burden" defense, so any hotel or pool owner that cannot afford to come into compliance need not do so immediately.
Join the White House on a call this morning to discuss this issue. Help Us fight for our rights.Call-in info.
New Graduate School for Global Inclusion and Social Development of Persons with Disabilities - UMass