Senator Roth’s Proposal to Protect Small Businesses, Ensure ADA Compliance Approved by Assembly Appropriations Committee

April 13, 2016

Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) proposal to protect California’s small businesses and the disabled community was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today on a bipartisan, unanimous vote.

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: “I thank the Committee for once again supporting this common-sense, balanced measure to protect the disabled community and small businesses.  While I was disappointed that SB 251 was vetoed by the Governor, I am looking forward to sending SB 269 to him for his signature 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 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 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 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.  

With today’s approval, SB 269 moves to the Assembly Floor for consideration.