AZ Legislature Take Steps to Create Waiting Periods for ADA Lawsuits

Arizona News
Spring 2017

The Arc of Arizona, The Capitol Roundup – March 3, 2017 – House, Senate Take Diverse Paths Toward ADA Compliance

Despite strong opposition from individuals who will be impacted by the legislation, the Senate voted this week to approve SB 1198. The bill would require a delay and specified notification before a lawsuit could be filed for an ADA violation – a step that small businesses believe will prevent harassing lawsuits, but opponents say will lead to more hardship for people with disabilities. It was amended to further define the details that must be included in a written notice of ADA compliance violations.

Opponents of the bill pointed out that the concept has been proven unnecessary because the legal process already threw out a large number of lawsuits that started the discussion. They argued that the ADA had been law for 27 years, and additional time for business owners to follow that law was unnecessary.

The bill received bipartisan support, though, and passed the Senate 22-8.

In the House, a proposal to address ADA lawsuit concerns without a delay took a small step forward. HB 2504 would authorize a court to impose a sanction on a plaintiff if an action or series of actions are brought for the primary purpose of getting payment from the defendant. It was discussed in House caucus meetings (separate gatherings of Republicans and Democrats).

Representative Maria Syms (R-Phoenix) emphasized that she had worked with – and continued to meet with – advocates for individuals with disabilities, and strongly argued against any attempt to establish a mandatory cure period. “This is a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer,” she summarized. Several of her colleagues expressed strong support for the bill, and for her cooperation with key stakeholders. The proposal can now move to the full House for consideration.

To read the bills and follow their progression through the legislature, visit https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview and enter the bill numbers SB 1198 and HB 2504.

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For the latest updates on disability-related bills in the Arizona State and Federal Legislatures, follow The Arc of Arizona’s Capitol Roundup for their weekly recap at http://arcarizona.org/what-we-do/capitol-roundup