SB 1398-Relating to Accessibility of Places of Public Accommodation
On Tuesday, April 18th, SB 1398, by Senator Linda Stewart (R-Orlando), was heard before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and passed unanimously by a vote of 6 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. One of the goals of the ADA is to guarantee that individuals with disabilities are offered full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered by a place of public accommodation.
However, individuals with disabilities may sue places of public accommodation including private businesses for alleged violations of the ADA, a problem that is currently rampant throughout the state.
The bill would:
- Create a license type for ADA experts;
- Require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to establish licensing requirements and regulation for ADA experts;
- Allow ADA experts to determine if the businesses are compliant with the ADA;
- Allow businesses to hire ADA experts and file ADA expert reports with DBPR;
- Allow businesses to file remediation plans with DBPR if they are not in compliance with the ADA;
- Require DBPR to establish a public website with a registry of remediation plans and certifications of conformity; and
- Require courts to consider remediation plans to determine if a plaintiff filed a claim in good faith and whether the plaintiff is entitled to attorney’s fees in lawsuits involving alleged violations of the ADA.
SB 1398 will go on to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for its next hearing.
AIF SUPPORTS legislation that makes filing frivolous lawsuits against Florida’s businesses more difficult to accomplish.