OPPOSE INDUSTRY ATTACK ON THE ADA
Urgent: By April 4
Today, Hotels, What Else Tomorrow?
As we approached the final March 15 implementation date of the comprehensive new
Department of Justice (DOJ) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation
changes last week, the hotel industry vigorously pressured the White House and
on Capitol Hill to weaken new requirements for swimming pools. As a result, DOJ
proposed to delay the deadline for the rules, and Senator DeMint introduced a
bill to halt their enforcement. Please submit a comment to DOJ BY APRIL 4,
e-mail the White House, and call your US Senators to support full, timely
implementation of all ADA requirements.
What To Do
Take 3 actions ASAP:
- Submit a comment to the Department of Justice by April 4
Go to this link:
(OR go to www.regulations.gov and search for: 3327-2012; then find the Americans with Disabilities Act under Title, and hit "Submit a Comment" at the right)
Then provide the required information (such as your name) and your comment to DOJ.
Feel free to use the arguments below in your comment, rewording them if possible to make them your own. The best message is a true personal story, such as "I want to swim with my kids." Your comment doesn't need to be long.
- E-mail 2 White House officials
1. Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, at email@example.com
Your e-mail need not be long. See suggested messages below.
2. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call your US Senators
Call the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to ask for each of your senators
by name. Please call them both. Tell them to oppose Senate Bill 2186, and instead
support full, timely implementation of all ADA requirements.
This alert will be posted on the DREDF website at http://dredf.org/. Look there for possible updates.
You can find the names of your senators at http://www.senate.gov/states/
Why Do It
The ADA has been in effect for 21 years, and all the new ADA rules have undergone
extensive review for more than 10 years, with multiple comment periods and many
opportunities for hotels to learn about their responsibilities. The new requirements already had a generous phase-in period of 18 months. DOJ should not extend it further. And the Senate should not restrict enforcement of these, or any, ADA requirements.
Providing access to swimming pools is doable, not burdensome. The ADA's accessibility
requirements for barrier removal in existing facilities are very reasonable—they only require what is easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The rules are carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities like hotels into account. No extension or enforcement ban is needed.
Also, it is not acceptable for the Department of Justice to backtrack on ADA
requirements because an industry exerts pressure. To do so is an invitation to
other industries to say, "Roll back our requirements, too." Today it's the
hotel industry. What weakening changes will come tomorrow?
Moreover, providing access to swimming pools is very important. It is excellent that DOJ has finally added ADA requirements for recreation facilities, including
swimming pools, so that people with disabilities will have opportunities that
have been available to the general public all along. Disabled people should
have the same access to recreation and exercise as everyone else. In many
cases, this form of exercise is even more important for certain individuals
with disabilities. Exercise can be lifesaving, and recreation opportunities
should not be withheld on the basis of disability.
Furthermore, recreation facilities such as swimming pools are key features of the lodging industry. The ADA now rightly covers all aspects of hotels.
Senate Bill 2186 represents an extraordinarily bad precedent. This bill would deny any
federal official, which can include judges, US attorneys, and other enforcing
authorities, any power to administer or enforce the new DOJ ADA regulations regarding
pools. It is clearly a bid to undercut the strong federal enforcement role
urgently needed and sometimes reached under the ADA. Passage of this bill could
begin a trend to render civil rights laws completely toothless and ineffective,
even though they remain on the books. Congress should craft strong civil rights
protections to end discrimination, not remove the government's enforcing
Good sample messages for White House e-mails:
Don't backtrack on the ADA! Support full access.
Personal stories about you, such as: "I need an accessible pool in order to swim, like everyone else."
The ADA pool requirements are not burdensome! In an existing hotel, all that's required is what's readily achievable. Large hotels and big chains should provide full access. The ADA is already flexible—please do not weaken the enforcement we need.
DOJ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Swimming Pools
See the above NPRM for instructions on submitting comments by mail.
DOJs letter to the American Hotel and Lodging Association http://www.ada.gov/ahla_letter_2_21.htm
DOJ Technical Assistance on Accessible Pools—Means of Entry and Exit
DOJ ADA Standards for Accessible Design
If you have questions, you can contact DREDF.