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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia


February 15, 2018
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chair, H.R. 620, the so-called ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, is an attack on the civil rights of Americans with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA, is a civil rights law passed in 1990 to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of society. 

   I recognize that the ADA falls within the committee jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee, and I am here as the ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce because, if H.R. 620 were to become law, it would have a profound effect on students and workers with disabilities who are trying to learn, work, or just generally access their community. 

   Mr. Chair, prior to the ADA, people with disabilities had no recourse if they faced discrimination in employment, housing, transportation, health services, or when accessing public schools. The ADA is nearly 28 years old, and yet we still have continued gross noncompliance with the law. 

   H.R. 620 specifically targets title III of the ADA regarding access to public accommodations. Title III prohibits discrimination in public accommodations such as restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels. By adding a notice and cure requirement, H.R. 620 shifts the compliance burden to the victims of discrimination. 

   H.R. 620 effectively provides that discrimination against people with disabilities can continue until somebody hires a lawyer to file a legal complaint of discrimination. Then the bill allows 6 more months to achieve some undefined substantial progress. So even when people know they are out of compliance with the ADA, they don't have to do anything under the bill until somebody files a formal legal complaint. 

   Mr. Chair, this bill does not help people with disabilities. This is an attack on civil rights. That is why the disability community and civil rights communities are unanimously opposed to H.R. 620. 

   There are 236 organizations that joined a letter, led by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, opposing the bill. More than 500 national and State organizations signed a letter, led by the National Council on Independent Living, urging Congress to reject the bill. More than 200 organizations signed a letter, led by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, urging Congress to reject the bill. 

   The ADA was enacted to eliminate barriers of discrimination against people with disabilities. And so I strongly urge each of my colleagues to stand with people with disabilities: protect civil rights by voting ``no'' on this bill.