The Department of Justice (DOJ) extended the date for compliance with accessibility requirements for existing swimming pools and spas for 60 days due to misunderstandings among a substantial number of pool owners. The original compliance date was March 15, 2012. DOJ has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to grant an additional extension of six months and is seeking comments on its proposal. The Arc plans to submit comments urging DOJ not to further delay compliance with its accessibility rules. These rules were made final in September 2010 and were based on standards developed by the US Access Board in 2004. The Arc is concerned that by delaying implementation of the access rule for one industry, other businesses might believe that they too can avoid making their businesses accessible if they do not like the rule. Comments are due on or before April 4 and may be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOJ-CRT-2012-0006-0001.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that all of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design became effective on March 15 with one exception. DOJ has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (the details had not been published in the Federal Register at the time of this Capitol Insider) asking for comments about extending the timeline for compliance with the portion of the standards that pertain to existing swimming pools. The Administration indicated that there were “misunderstandings” by the hotel and lodging industry about the portion of the standards dealing with swimming pools, lifts, and access. The standards are part of the revised regulations for Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The new standards will make buildings and facilities accessible to more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. The accessibility requirements apply to many kinds of facilities, including sports stadiums, court rooms, amusement rides, and play areas.
The Access Board is looking for a cross section of stakeholders, including medical device manufacturers, health care providers, disability groups, and standard-setting organizations to participate on an advisory committee to assist in finalizing standards for diagnostic equipment that were released in February. The proposed standards, which remain available for comment until June 8, include design criteria for independent access to diagnostic equipment, including types that require transfer from wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
A notice published by the Board provides further details, including application instructions. The deadline for applications is April 27. The committee is expected to meet at least four times over the course of two months beginning in September. Participation will be voluntary and members will not be reimbursed for their services.
The House and Senate are moving forward on bills to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation law. A series of short term extensions have kept the highway and transit programs going while Congress debates a longer reauthorization. The House and Senate proposals differ in scope and costs, and have significant policy differences, making it unlikely that the bills could both be passed and reconciled before the short term extension expires at the end of the month.
After a very contentious mark up last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a 5 year, $260 billion bill that consolidates a number of programs, including the small disability programs that support nonprofits which provide transportation and the programs to improve accessibility. The House approach also makes financing changes that will de-link mass transit from a guaranteed funding stream, which is of great concern to people who use public transportation. The Senate is expected to consider its bipartisan, two year, $109 billion proposal this week. The full House of Representatives may also consider its proposal, though it faces opposition from the Democrats and conservatives in the Republican Party who oppose the spending level.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) settled a Fair Housing Act lawsuit against the owners, developers, architect and civil engineers of a 276-unit apartment complex in Louisville, KY. The defendants will make the complex accessible to people with disabilities and pay $275,000 to 29 individuals who were discriminated against. To read DOJ’s press release, go to http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/December/11-crt-1586.html
Under its Project Civic Access, The Department of Justice entered into an agreement with Montgomery County, Maryland and the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Montgomery County agreed to make its facilities, program, services, and policies accessible to people with disabilities, including buildings, parking lots, 911 service, sidewalks, emergency shelters, and employment policies. Read the agreement.
The US Department of Justice entered into three agreements under its Project Access project. Daviess County, Kentucky, the City of Madison in Indiana, and Norfolk County, Massachusetts agreed to make their buildings and services accessible to people with disabilities, including parking, restrooms, drinking fountains, entrances and exits into buildings, 911 emergency service, and websites. Learn more about the agreements.