State Senate Sends Senator Roth's Proposal to Protect Small Businesses & the Disabled Community to Governor

April 25, 2016

Senate Bill 269 would improve compliance with disability access regulations while protecting small businesses from the threat of predatory lawsuits

(Sacramento, CA)  -- Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) proposal to protect California’s small businesses and the disabled community has been approved by the State Senate on a bipartisan, unanimous vote of 38-0.  

Senate Bill 269 is a modified version of last year’s Senate Bill 251, which was also authored by Senator Roth but vetoed by the Governor. SB 269 removes the tax credit that was the focus of the Governor’s veto, reduces the employee ceiling for qualifying businesses from 100 to 50 employees, and makes other clarifying changes.

Senator Roth said: “SB 269’s unanimous approval proves that my proposal is a common-sense, bipartisan solution to protect the disabled community and small businesses.  While I was disappointed that the Governor vetoed SB 251 last year, I am looking forward to his signature on this widely-supported measure, having listened to concerns from his Administration, the disability rights community and other stakeholders. SB 269 is a critical step in guaranteeing access for disabled Californians by providing small businesses with the tools and resources necessary to comply with state and federal disability access regulations.”

The Legislature has attempted to reform ADA access laws and regulations over the past decade, with the most recent and substantial measure being Senate Bill 1186 (2012) by former Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and former Senator Robert Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga).  While SB 1186 created important policies regarding Certified Access Specialists (CASPs) and compliance notification, there remain significant barriers to ensuring small businesses have the resources and tools necessary to maintain compliance with state and federal disability access laws.  As a result, many businesses throughout California have found themselves out of compliance with state and federal disability access laws.  This situation has prevented Californians in the disability community from having full and equal access to facilities and services.

SB 269 has not received a single “no” vote throughout the legislative process.  It is a narrowly crafted provision to provide businesses with much needed disability access education, resources and training, and allows small businesses that have been proactive in identifying access issues a reasonable amount of time to fix any problems identified before a lawsuit arises. 
The Governor has 12 days from receiving SB 269 to veto the bill.  On the 13th day, the bill automatically becomes law, with or without his signature.