Senator Roth’s Proposal to Protect Small Businesses, Ensure ADA Compliance Passes Senate on Bipartisan, Unanimous Vote

June 03, 2015

Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) proposal to protect California’s small businesses and the disabled community was approved by the California State Senate today on a bipartisan, unanimous vote of 40-0.

“I thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of Senate Bill 251 in ensuring access for the disabled community by incentivizing compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Senator Roth.  “SB 251 is a critical step in guaranteeing access for disabled Californians by providing small businesses with the tools and resources necessary to comply with often changing and at times complex disability access laws.”

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 the law.  This situation has prevented Californians in the disability community from having full and equal access to facilities and services.

Supported by the California Chamber of Commerce as a “job creator,” SB 251 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. SB 251 also provides small business owners with tax incentives to fix ADA compliance issues in an attempt to ensure full and fair access for all Californians.

Senator Roth said: “Over the years, Washington and Sacramento have been good at creating new ADA enforcement rules but have not been so good at educating and training business owners on how to comply.  SB 251 is a common sense approach to protecting both small businesses as well as the rights of the disabled, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Assembly as the bill moves forward.”

SB 251 now moves to the State Assembly for consideration.

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