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years, that the disabled population is segregated from the rest of society, and that "discrimination against individuals with disabilities continues to be a serious and pervasive social problem." (See section 2 "Findings and purposes," (a)(2).) I disagree totally with this premise.
It has been my experience that with determination and hard word--and with the support of tanily, church, friends, and voluntary associations--disabled individuals can succeed and have succeeded in today's society in such areas as education, protessional achievement, emotional fulfillment, etc. Attitudes have changed and sensitivity has been developed toward the disabled. There are more opportunities than there have ever been and disabled individuals are enjoying the mainstream of society to a great degree.
I believe that the supporters of the ADA are sincere in their desire to afford disabled individuals the opportunity to participate in all aspects of society. Supporters believe that to ensure the disabled their "rights," the Federal government must implement sweeping retorns and legislate change. Instead, the bill will create administrative and regulatory burdens on the private sector, will encroach on free enterprise, and will expand an already swollen Federal bureaucracy.
Sure, it's not easy for ne sometimes. And sometimes I have to wait patiently for the doors of opportunity to open. But the doors are opening and they are opening without such a broadsweeping Federal law.
Private businesses should not be required to make my life
easier at their own expense.
Even though advances have been
nade, the needs of the disabled in assimilating with an able
bodied society are still great.
And the ADA is a response to
However, it is still wrong to sacrifice the legiti
mate rights of others to meet this apparent need.
The ends do
not justify the means.
Moreover, with time, much of the need
will be addressed by businesses choosing to provide accommoda
This "quick fix" may provide a surface cure for the problem,
but it could result in a discriminatory attitude--and more
importantly, it will undermine the constitutional rights of nany.
I would love to wave a magic wand and make my life and the
lives of tellow disabled individuals easier.
But not if it means
requiring others to sacrifice their constitutional freedom.
the one tie that binds both disabled and able-bodied alike in
is this freedom.
Desr Roprosentative Edvards:
1. Readily Achienbl. Renovel of Architectural Barrier
The legislation requires alsting buildings and facilities to renov.
The legislation should refer to "major altorations" not "wajor structural alterations" and base the difference between 1 ainor and a major alteration on the cost and scope of the alteration, and the degr.. to which it effects • facility's usability and accessibility.
The ADA bill makes no provision for historic properties. The Onifon Tederal Accessibility Standards (OTAS) provides that when in alteration is undertaken for an historic property. cortala accessibility futurus should be Incorporated, unless to do so vould thrusten or destroy Its historical integrity. Other accessibility alternativus must then be substituted. ADA Dill should apply such a standard for historic propertiu It covers, If they or listed on or oligible for the National Register of Historic Placus, or designated historic pur sweat to state or local lav. A reference to OTAS or sa •quivalent standard should suffice.
When the ADA becoaes lav, it vill apply to many projects already under design, but not yet constructed. These projects may be required to comply, and thus undergo costly and complicatad redesign. Because the regulations vill not yet be promulgatod, the projects' architects vill be uncluar us to what must be done to uke the projects comply. The AIA proposes that all projects currently under design should be exempt frou requirements of the act, but those receiving « design contract after the date ofenactment should comply by the effective datus utablished in the bill for nev construction and alteration. In addition, to provide a safe harbor for architects designing projects aftor enaceaent of the bill but before Issuance of final regulations, the bill should provide that conformance to the standards of the Aserican National Standards Castitute A117.1 1986 or the Onifon federal Accessibility Standard (UTAS) should be deemed sufficient, though not necessary, for compliance vith the legislation. These standards for handicapped access design aro vel1-understood and accepted within the design profession.
The ADA bill passed by the Senato penits courts to consider good faith efforts to comply vith the logislation, in huur ing complaints brought against Individuals under the measure. This is not enough. Architects should have son. official detenination that they have complled with the legislation, and this datenlotion should constituto e defense against charges of discrlalnation. This protection can be sastly accomplished. The Departaent of Justice, on the application of e state or locality, could certify that the state or local ordinance sets the ainda standards of the legislation.
The legislation should also provide that architects and others who receive state or local certification that their projects have couplled vith a DOJ-certified state or local handicapped access lov should have a strong defense aga last complaints of discrimination. The AIA bolloves that the above revisions are Laportant to the successful achievinat of the ADA's objectivos. I appreciate your consideration of our magsustioas.
cao. Gregor, Bon. Au Locutir. Vice President/CŁO