The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued major proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some of DOJ’s changes are excellent, and urgently needed, according to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF). Fund leaders believe it is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual and speech disabilities. However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities. For example, DOJ proposes: a significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations, a significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities, an exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules.
DOJ must receive many comments from the disability community in favor of a strong, comprehensive ADA. Comments must defend the principle of individual, case-by-case assessment, which DOJ is largely abandoning in favor of many blanket reductions. Fund leaders must remind DOJ that the ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities into account, and those reductions to our civil rights would be a devastating blow to our daily lives.
Extensive draft comments, by topic, are available on the DREDF website to help you write your own comments. The list of topics is in the gray box at the right.
The website also has information about how to file your comments, as well as tips on commenting and a link to the proposed regulations.
Comments will have the most impact if writers revise the web site drafts to add their own thoughts, and especially their own personal experiences or those of friends, family, colleagues or clients with disabilities.