Sunday, June 15

DOJ To Issue Sweeping Changes On ADA Regulations

Greetings. I received the following information from an email list. If these changes are indeed made to the ADA, then it looks like they will help to make things more accessible, reduce the confusion on exactly what a "service animal" is, and in other areas. For those able to do so, consider participating in the conference call this Wednesday. Enjoy, and as always, please excuse any formatting errors.


DOJ Conference Call
Wed June 18th 10:00 A.M.
Dial: (202) 353-0879 or 1-800-521-6079
Pass Code: 3658#

Unofficial text of sweeping NPRM below.  This is the first major NPRM
related to the ADA since the original implimenting regulations were
published.  Several issues of concern to people who are blind either
in terms of proposed rules or in regards to rules that are not defined
in the NPRM.  The article below from Mark Richert of AFB summarizes
these matters.

AFB DirectConnect Letterhead

ALERT! Justice Department to Propose Sweeping Revisions to ADA

For further information, Contact--

Mark Richert, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, AFB
(202) 822-0833

(Readers are encouraged to share this alert widely.)

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected next Tuesday, June 17,
to formally issue notices of proposed rule making (NPRMs) to
comprehensively update and revise the federal regulations implementing
the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) concerning
state and local government and public accommodations. If made final, the
draft regulations would represent the most sweeping changes to federal
ADA implementation and enforcement since DOJ's issuance of the original
ADA regulations in 1991.

Advocates have been anticipating the release of these NPRMs for several
years. Indeed, while a major purpose of these proposed rules is to
formally adopt pending revisions to the highly-technical Accessibility
Guidelines (known as the ADAAG) relating primarily to the physical
environment, DOJ is also required by law to perform a ten-year
evaluation of its regulations, a deadline that it has missed

That having been said, some advocates had been hoping that DOJ would not
publish proposed rules this year given both the short time frame now for
completion by January, 2009, and the feared negative treatment of some
issues by the current Administration. Nevertheless, the federal
government has taken action to move these draft proposals forward in
time before a self-imposed government-wide limit on issuance of major
new rules.

Official publication of the NPRMs on Tuesday will start the clock on
what is expected to be a very short 60-day time period in which the
public will have the opportunity to offer comment on any or all of the
draft regulations. The DOJ has made an unofficial advanced text
available (see below for links), and the draft regulations themselves
and their accompanying appendices and related material are voluminous.
While a thorough analysis of the proposed rules is therefore impossible
at this time, there are several areas of obvious interest to the vision
loss community--

* Failure of the proposal to make clear the ADA's applicability to
Internet-only places of public accommodation.

* Possible narrowing of the concept of service animals to those from
particular species and that perform clearly identifiable tasks.

* Possible broader and better defined mandate for description of movies
shown in cinemas.

* Failure to better define the concept of effective communication or to
address accessibility of equipment provided generally to customers/users
of state/local government and public accommodations.

...among many others.

Once the NPRMs are published, we will provide readers with information
regarding how to offer comment, as well as any supporting material
and/or analysis that may be useful in preparing such comments. A growing
number of advocates are indicating that their first response to the
publication of the proposed rules will be a strong call for extension of
the comment period. Extension of the comment period is essentially a
discretionary matter and would obviously impact significantly the
progress toward finalization of the rules during the current

Finally, on Wednesday, June 18, beginning at 10:00 am Eastern, the DOJ
will be conducting an informational conference call to acquaint all
interested parties with the scope and general features of the proposed
rules, and DOJ has asked us to spread the word about this opportunity.

To join the call--

Dial: (202) 353-0879 or 1-800-521-6079
Pass Code: 3658#

Links to the advance text of the Proposed Regulations and Other

Title II: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend 28 CFR Part 35:
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local
Government Services
HTML format:

Title III: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend 28 CFR Part 36:
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations
and in Commercial Facilities
HTML format:


Appendix A: Analysis of the Proposed Standards
HTML format:

Appendix B: Initial Regulatory Assessment
HTML format:

Regulatory Impact Analysis: Initial Regulatory Impact Analysis Of The
Proposed Revised Regulations Implementing Titles II And III of the ADA,
Including Revised ADA Standards For Accessible Design
HTML format:

Proposed ADA Standards For Accessible Design
HTML format:

Barbara Jackson LeMoine
Policy Analyst
American Foundation for the Blind
Public Policy Center
1660 L Street, N.W., Suite 513
Washington, DC 20036

Expanding possibilities for people with vision lossTM

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