Bill aimed to relieve "frivolous" ADA lawsuits defeated

Auburn businesses need relief, chamber says
By: Sara Seyydin Staff Writer
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A bill aimed at giving businesses relief from ?frivolous? Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuits failed Tuesday morning. Assembly Bill 1878, introduced by Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville), was voted down 3 to 7, according to Jenna Nielsen, communications/district director. The bill would have given businesses 120 days to come into compliance or the chance to create a plan with a certified access specialist after a written notification before they could be sued. Nielsen said over 40 businesses showed up to demonstrate their support for the ultimately defeated bills. ?That was a clean party-line vote,? Nielsen said. ?At the 11th hour the majority party chose a vehicle to deal with ADA lawsuit abuse and that is the Steinberg-Dutton Bill, Senate Bill 1186. Nielsen said Gaines is waiting to read the text of that bill before she decides if she will support it, but said the bottom line is businesses need relief from abusive ADA lawsuits. Richard Hall, president of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, said he testified on behalf of Auburn businesses in support of the bill. Hall said while the committee did say it would address the issue through another bill he doesn?t anticipate that happening in 2012. He shared with the committee the list of 64 Auburn businesses that had been sued for ADA compliance issues. ?It appeared the assembly committee was deaf to the community of business people,? Hall said. ?It?s a disappointment for the chamber and its members because we really need some relief from this type of monetary attack.? Hall said the chamber supports making every business accessible for disabled people, but doesn?t believe the lawsuits achieve that end. The chamber will continue to offer quarterly workshops for businesses to educate them about how to make their businesses compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. ?The only way to get out of it for most folks is to pay up,? Hall said. ?It doesn?t do anything to make access better.? A bill introduced by Gaines Assembly Bill 1879, which requires the state architect to create a list of federal and state regulations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and show conflicting regulations passed in the assembly. ~Sara Seyydin