Press Release

JDCA signs letter supporting Americans with Disabilities Act

April 10, 2018

On April 10, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) joined the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and 54 other Jewish organizations in supporting the legal rights of disabled Americans. We signed our name to a letter sent to the desks of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opposing the ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620), which narrowly passed the House of Representatives.

H.R. 620 would reform the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice that allows people with disabilities to take legal action in removing architectural barriers that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The bill would prohibit legal action being taken against businesses violating the ADA unless a written letter is first sent to the business owner. Then, the business owner could reply with a written description outlining improvements that will be made, or justification for why they have not already been implemented. If the improvements, or lack thereof, can be legally challenged, only then can disabled Americans sue the business.

H.R. 620, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), passed the House on February 15 by a vote of 225 to 192. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), lead sponsor of identical legislation in the 114th Congress (S. 3446), may soon introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

JDCA supports ADA and believes that the proposals in H.R. 620 would hurt disabled Americans. This bill makes it harder for an already-vulnerable population to take legal action in protecting their civil rights, and gives incentive to businesses discriminating against people with disabilities. By signing this letter, we join scores of Jewish organizations in urging Senate leaders to oppose H.R. 620 and any similar legislation.