ADA Anniversary

Accessible Arizona - Chapter of the United Spinal Association’s (AAUSA) board has agreed that our chapter’s focus should be pushing progressive legislation that benefits a majority of the disabled community. Access through universal design is our priority, and we can achieve that through education and legislation. We have decided that there’s no better time than now.

It’s the American’s with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) 27th Anniversary July 26, 2017, yes that’s correct, it’s 27 years old. We did not feel comfortable celebrating the ADA in the traditional sense, because we all complain about non-compliance regularly. We as a group decided to celebrate the ADA in a different way, by meeting with Arizona’s legislator and suggesting new legislation that would benefit the disabled community. We agreed that we would request an ADA Compliance Officer program that does inspections and offers businesses notice of non-compliance prior to litigation.

Currently businesses are quickly inspected for ADA compliance during the architectural inspection period, but often barriers occur after opening (such as all high-tops). Compliance officers would inspect businesses after opening and offer notice of non-compliance if present, allowing businesses a time to cure non-compliance, and follow up to ensure compliance. Also, individuals facing non-compliance can report it to the compliance officer program and request an inspection instead of filing a law suit.

The program would offer part-time positions available to people with disabilities. Higher education is not necessary to perform inspections, therefore proper training would be sufficient, keeping employment costs down. Funding could be provided through fines via disabled parking related fines (including the newest law regarding access aisles) and fines of businesses who did not cure within the time period provided.

Having a compliance officer program in Arizona would make a huge impact and cure a lot of non-compliance through means other than litigation. The program would relieve the disabled community of the sole responsibility of enforcement and literally open doors.

Keep your eyes open for future bills to support!

Gina Schuh