There are two things for certain this year in Sacramento. The first is the state has planned to spend more money than it has and the second is there will be quite a few bills in the Legislature related to reform of California’s Americans With Disabilities Act law.
AB 1610 by State Assemblyman Donald Wagner was one of the first to be out there. Assemblyman Wagner is also the Vice Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. This is one of two policy committees that will hear reform bills like AB 1610. While bills similar to this one died in committee last year, it is important to continue to push for much-needed reform to California’s legal climate.
As many of you know there is a group of unscrupulous lawyers running around the State of California suing small businesses for ADA violations. AB 1610 would require a party to follow certain notice requirements before bringing legal action against a business for an alleged ADA violation. The bill would require that the owner, agent or other responsible party respond within 30 days with a description of the improvements to be made or with a rebuttal to the allegations. If the owner decides to move forward and fix the violations they would have 120 days to do so.
Some people keep saying that SB 1608, authored by State Senator Ellen Corbett and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008, has not had a chance to work and that SB 1608 is really the way we are going to fix this ADA lawsuit problem. Quite frankly, SB 1608 has nothing to do with fixing the state’s ADA lawsuit problem. All that legislation did was create a body to study the problem and report back to the Legislature. In the meantime the lawsuits have continued.
If businesses are not compliant with the ADA laws in this state or nation then let’s deal with that. Let’s create a master checklist and give businesses an opportunity to become compliant. If they do not, then we should proceed with litigation. The first course of action should not be to file a lawsuit. Support Assemblyman Donald Wagner’s AB 1610. Let’s stop the abusive ADA lawsuits and help grow California’s small businesses.