Tell Your Legislators: Do Not Roll Back Americans with Disabilities Act
Twenty-one years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, people with disabilities could once again see their rights rolled back. A landmark provision of the ADA is slated to go into effect requiring all public accommodations with swimming pools, spas and wading pools to have permanent disability access, either via a lift or a ramp.
This week, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) urged the Senate to exclude pools from the ADA’s requirement for accessible public accommodations. Opponents of this provision of the ADA, such as Senator DeMint, argue that lifts cost too much for businesses and are are an eye sore.
But swimming pools are not a luxury, they are an integral part of American life. Every family deserves a chance to enjoy vacations together without leaving a child, spouse, or parent behind just because they are differently abled. People with disabilities must have the same rights as everyone else and backtracking on the ADA, or the civil rights of any group, is never acceptable.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is urging everyone to communicate with their members of Congress about this issue. Swimming pools must be included in the ADA. Please send a note urging your legislators to speak out for fully accessible accommodations. If you don’t know who your members of Congress are, you can find out here.
The ADA was signed into law in 1990. This means business owners with swimming pools have had 22 years to comply with the law. The final regulation language and accessibility standards for swimming pools have been out since September 2010, so pool owners have had 18 months to comply with the specific requirements. Additionally, the regulations are subject to an “undue burden” defense, so any hotel or pool owner that cannot afford to come into compliance will not be required to do so immediately.
While it appears that members of Congress have dropped the issue for now, it is still vital that we speak out for disability rights. The business community continues to push back on these important regulations. In addition to contacting your members of Congress, please call or email the hotel or resort that you visit for business or pleasure—or one that you wish you could visit. Let them know that people with disabilities are here and are customers or potential customers. In the words of AAPD President Mark Perriello, “It’s time for the hospitality industry to show hospitality to everyone.”