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Gaines introduces laws to protect businesses against rampant ADA lawsuits

Legislation would allow businesses 120 days to reach compliance
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Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville) introduced two measures to curtail “frivolous” Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits, according to a press release made Tuesday. Assembly Bill 1878 would give small businesses 120 days after a written notice of violation to correct an ADA violation before a lawsuit could be filed. Gaines said 98 percent of California businesses are out of compliance and some businesses can be sued for simple faults, such as a railing height being off by a centimeter or parking lot striping not being the right shade of a particular color. “The unfortunate reality is that there are individuals who are capitalizing on the complex access regulations enacted by the state and federal government for personal benefit,” Gaines said in the press release. “Many times, businesses want to correct the error to allow for more access to their place of business. These frivolous lawsuits are making it harder for the business to come into compliance, especially in this difficult economic environment.” Gaines said she introduced a second measure, Assembly Bill 1879 to address the complicated and changing regulations that have made it confusing for some businesses to understand ADA compliance regulations. AB 1879 would require the state architect to compile a list of all federal and state disability access regulations and identity any conflicts between the two. “Lawsuit abuse and more regulations are not leading to greater access and compliance, which was the intended purpose of the state and federal access laws implemented in 1960 and 1990, respectively,” Gaines said in the release. “While there is a need to preserve the right for a person to have access, there is a corresponding need to create opportunities for a business to give people access to do what the original laws intended – create more access.” ~Sara Seyydin