HR 620 would take ADA a step backward

Oct. 26, 2017

Updated Feb. 13, 2018

CTD opposes passage of H. R. 620, the ADA Education & Reform Act of 2017. This mischaracterized bill would weaken one of Texas’ proudest achievements, the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is a Texas product, signed by a Texas president, George H. W. Bush, and promoted with a national advocacy campaign led by Texas businessman and lifelong Republican Justin W. Dart. The ADA was passed into law with strong bipartisan support from the Texas congressional delegation. Today, over 3.4 million Texans with disabilities can rely on the ADA when they face barriers and discrimination.

H. R. 620 would require victims of discrimination to educate perpetrators about their obligation not to discriminate, shifting the burden of ADA compliance from business owners to individuals. This would make people with disabilities the only class of Americans held responsible for the enforcement of the very civil rights laws that protect them.

H. R. 620 supporters say it is necessary to combat bad faith lawyers who file ADA complaints, then offer to drop the lawsuit in exchange for a cash payment, without addressing the violation. CTD is keenly aware of this practice in Texas, and we agree it must stop. For example, last year, CTD was a prominent participant in a news conference denouncing these shakedowns by Texas attorney Omar Rosales. Rosales is now suspended from federal court for three years, has been fined more than $175,000, and faces further sanctions. These are appropriate responses to his misuse of ADA law.

However, H. R. 620 would not prevent or punish such actions of unscrupulous lawyers; rather, it would attack the basic civil right to be free from discrimination based on disability. There are ways to make the consequences against bad faith lawyers stronger—but H. R. 620 isn’t one.

Texas Organizations in Opposition to H. R. 620

Take Action

Further Reading

Next in Our Issues: Guest Blog: Giving My Rep a Real Education about the ADA Education and Reform Act >