New ADA Regulations Raising Concerns

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

New regulations proposed under the Americans with Disabilities Act have both business groups and the disabled worried.

Business groups are concerned about the costs and a possible new round of lawsuits, while groups representing the disabled say the rules are fuzzy and don't go far enough. It's a very long list outlined in one–thousand pages by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mary Moore has cerebral palsey. She says her work at the Center for Independence in Grand Junction is gratifying because she gets to help others.

"I was born with my disability. It's not something I think about because I've had it all my life," said Moore.

But it is something she and 51 million disabled Americans think about when they go shopping, to the movies or out on the town.

"It's frustrating sometimes. We have challenges around access, being able to get into buildings onto curbs."

Moore says it has gotten easier since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 18 years ago, but with changing technology and growth, there is still a lot of room for improvement. She says new rules are long overdue.

There are several new regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Justice requiring greater access to courthouses, mini–golf courses, movie theaters, bowling lanes and fishing piers to name a few.

And because there are so many, business groups say there a lot more questions than answers.

"What are these rules actually going to say and who are they going to apply to?" asked Diane Schwenke, President and CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

Schwenke applauds the idea, but worries about small businesses.

"Whenever there's uncertainty, that's a source of concern for them," said Schwenke.

And with a price tag of $23 billion over the next 40 years she wonders if it will balance out for businesses.

But Moore says it's not meant to be a battle with businesses it's about raising awareness, and even though it is an investment, she says it's an investment in the future.

"It's good business because if you have a ramp or whatever the case may be, you can increase your consumer base and more people can access your business--seniors, everyone," said Moore.

She says if businesses and the disabled team up, it will make things a little easier on everyone and that's why she does her job.

The U.S. Department of Justice is accepting comments on the proposed changes until August 18th.

To comment on the plan click on the link below. For more information on the changes and how they could affect your business, click on newslinks.

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