Statement from Planners Network Steering Committee: Oppose the Roll-back of American with Disabilities Act Protections

Oppose the Roll-back of American with Disabilities Act Protections – A Planning Issue That Demands Planning Action!

On February 15, 2018, the House of Representatives voted (225 to 192) to roll back the protections from the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III: Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities).  The Act stipulates that no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regards to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation, and it allows for legal action to be taken against businesses that do not comply.  The proposed changes would make it harder to take businesses to court, as they would have 60 days to respond to a written complaint and a further 120 days to implement changes before they could be accused of any infringement.  Such changes cater to business interests and place greater onus on those with disabilities to ensure the right to access public space.  It privileges profit and discrimination over equity and justice.

Planners Network condemns this vote as a violation of civil rights, as it restricts access of those who are disabled to public space.  To the extent that planning serves as a tool to fight discrimination and attain equity for those who are most marginalized in our society, this violation is a planning issue that demands action from planners immediately.  The bill is now under consideration in the Senate. Speak out now.  Call your Senator via the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 (or you can look up your senators at to oppose the proposed changes, and please encourage those in your network to do the same.

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