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ADA for Title II Entries Workshop
Thursday, June 4, 2013
8:00am - 5:00pm
SMU Campus in Plano
Cost: $199 (includes lunch)
Department of Justice
Justice Department’s 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design Go into Effect
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced that the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design go into effect today. On July 26, 2010, the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), President Obama announced newly revised ADA regulations. These regulations reflect the fundamental principle that all Americans with disabilities should have equal access and an equal right to participate fully in our society.
“People with disabilities should have the opportunity to participate in American society as fully and equally as those without disabilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The department encourages businesses and governments around the country to help break down barriers for people with disabilities so that we give every individual access to equal opportunity and equal justice.”
These standards were adopted as part of the revised regulations for Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and will make buildings and facilities accessible to more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. The standards can be found at www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm.
The 2010 Standards will set new requirements for fixed or built-in elements in facilities such as detention facilities and courtrooms, amusement rides, boating facilities, golf and miniature golf facilities, swimming pools and play areas. These rules also clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years, including reach ranges, toilet room dimensions and accessible routes. The 2010 Standards provide clarified requirements for dispersal and lines of sight for accessible seating and companion seating in assembly areas such as stadiums. The 2010 Standards also address dispersion of accessible hotel rooms among the different classes of rooms provided, as well as the overlap between wheelchair accessible rooms and rooms with communication features.
The final regulations were published in the Federal Register on Sept. 15, 2010. The 2010 Standards, which were adopted as part of the revised regulations, consist of regulatory text and the 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines, originally published in the Federal Register as 36 CFR Part 1191, Appendices B and D.
Title II of the ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs and activities provided by state and local government entities.
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreational facilities and doctors’ offices).
Newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation, commercial facilities and state and local government facilities are required to comply with the ADA Standards. Places of public accommodation in existing facilities are required to remove accessibility barriers to the extent it is readily achievable – meaning easy to accomplish without much difficulty or expense. State and local governments using existing facilities are required to ensure their programs, services and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible.
Requirements for existing swimming pools will be extended for 60 days. The department will also publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with a 15-day comment period on a possible six-month extension in order to allow additional time to address misunderstandings regarding compliance with these ADA requirements. More information on pool requirements can be found at http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm.
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Arlington ADA case
By Elizabeth Campbell
lizcampbell at star-telegram.com
In what could be a major financial blow to the nation’s cities, the U.S. Supreme Court today declined Tuesday to hear an appeal by the city of Arlington asking the court to clarify whether sidewalks are programs or facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city appealed to the Supreme Court after a 2005 lawsuit by a quadriplegic suing over the lack of accessible sidewalks and curb cuts.
Richard Frame, a quadriplegic for 12 years, sued the city of Arlington alleging that when it built or altered sidewalks and curbs in some areas, it did not make them accessible, violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Other plaintiffs from Arlington joined the suit, alleging problems such as missing or badly sloped curb ramps; impassable, noncontiguous, broken or nonexistent sidewalks; and inadequate handicapped parking that made it difficult for them to go about their everyday lives.
"The court's decision was right for the city, for Texas and for the country," said David Ferleger, the attorney from Philadelphia who was representing Frame before the court. "Keeping people with disabilities off sidewalks is immoral, bad public policy and harmful to the national economy."
But city officials dealing with tight budgets say they are concerned about the costs of making the necessary repairs and changes to thousands of miles of sidewalks and other public structures.
The National League of Cities argues that local officials should be able to determine when to make repairs, such as when to make sidewalks accessible, without federal mandates.
Lars Etzkorn, who works on federal relations for the league, was disappointed that the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Earlier, Etzkorn said it was impossible to estimate the ultimate cost to cities, but he said it would be in the millions of dollars at a time when essential services, such as police and fire protection and libraries, are being cut in many places.
"Certainly, accessibility is important and the ability for all citizens to use resources of a city is important. But how a city chooses to spend its scarce funding should be left up to those accountable to their citizens instead of being forced upon by a federal court interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act," he said.
Etzkorn said it's possible that the Supreme Court could choose to hear sidewalk accessibility cases in the future if there is a split in how circuit courts rule.
For instance, plaintiffs in Los Angeles recently filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles similar to the Arlington case in which they asked the city to to invest in making the sidewalks accessible, he said.
Now the case returns to district court where it would be determined which sidewalks are accessible and which are not, Ferleger said.
Frame, who became a quadriplegic after a 1999 car wreck, sued Arlington, claiming that the city violated the federal law by continuing to build inaccessible sidewalks. His original lawsuit concerned better access around two downtown hospitals.
A federal district court dismissed the case, saying Frame had waited too long after the work had been completed to sue, and initially a panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans agreed. But a rehearing of the case by the full court, vacated that decision.
The majority opinion by the 5th Circuit stated that cities are to use "any and all means" to make sidewalks accessible. Though the court wrote that a city's obligation is not "boundless" and that a city should not be forced to take on undue financial burden, it can "avoid liability whenever it chooses simply by building sidewalks right the first time or by fixing its original unlawful construction."