Senator Roth’s Proposal to Protect Small Businesses and the Disabled Community Becomes Law

May 10, 2016

Bipartisan proposal to improve compliance with disability access regulations, protect small businesses from threat of predatory lawsuits will take effect immediately

(Sacramento, CA) -- Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) bipartisan measure to protect California’s small businesses and the disabled community has been approved by Governor Jerry Brown.  With the Governor’s signature today, this new law takes effect immediately.

The first significant reform to the State’s disability access regulations since 2012, SB 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.

“This is a major victory for all Californians,” said Senator Roth.  “SB 269 is a bipartisan, commonsense solution that will guarantee access for disabled Californians by providing small businesses with the tools and resources necessary to comply with state and federal disability access regulations. I am glad the Governor agrees with the critical need for this reform, and I am proud to have delivered this victory for California’s small businesses and disability community.”

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, jointly authored by Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), enjoyed widespread bipartisan support and did not receive 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.

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