Central Va. Disability Association, Inc.

Support - Advocacy - Faith - Empowerment

Tell me about the ADA / Highlights of Title III of the ADA

United States Constitution

Amendment XIV Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.  

Need for the ADA

In writing the ADA, Congress stated it was needed because:

(1) historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem;

(2) discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such critical areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services, voting, and access to public services;

(3) unlike individuals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, or age, individuals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability have often had no legal recourse to redress such discrimination;

(4) individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including outright intentional exclusion, the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers, overprotective rules and policies, failure to make modifications to existing facilities and practices, exclusionary qualification standards and criteria, segregation, and relegation to lesser services, programs, activities, benefits, jobs, or other opportunities;

(5) census data, national polls, and other studies have documented that people with disabilities, as a group, occupy an inferior status in our society, and are severely disadvantaged socially, vocationally, economically, and educationally;

(6) individuals with disabilities are a discrete and insular minority who have been faced with restrictions and limitations, subjected to a history of purposeful unequal treatment, and relegated to a position of political powerlessness in our society, based on characteristics that are beyond the control of such individuals and resulting from stereotypic assumptions not truly indicative of the individual ability of such individuals to participate in, and contribute to, society;

(7) the Nation's proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self?sufficiency for such individuals; and

(8) the continuing existence of unfair and unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis and to pursue those opportunities for which our free society is justifiably famous, and costs the United States billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses resulting from dependency and nonproductivity. The stories people tell about living with a disability are more compelling that any other reason why we need the ADA.


Road to the ADA

The history of the ADA did not begin on July 26, 1990 at the signing ceremony at the White House.

It did not begin in 1988 when the first ADA was introduced in Congress.

The ADA story began a long time ago in cities and towns throughout the United States when people with disabilities began to challenge societal barriers that excluded them from their communities, and when parents of children with disabilities began to fight against the exclusion and segregation of their children.

Like the African-Americans who sat in at segregated lunch counters and refused to move to the back of the bus, people with disabilities sat in federal buildings, obstructed the movement of inaccessible buses, and marched through the streets to protest injustice. And like the civil rights movements before it, the disability rights movement sought justice in the courts and in the halls of Congress.

The ADA, as we know it today, went through numerous drafts, revisions, negotiations, and amendments since the first version was introduced in 1988. Spurred by a draft bill prepared by the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency whose members were appointed by President Reagan, Senator Weicker and Representative Coelho introduced the first version of the ADA in April 1988 in the 100th Congress.

The disability community began to educate people with disabilities about the ADA and to gather evidence to support the need for broad anti-discrimination protections. A national campaign was initiated to write discrimination diaries. People with disabilities were asked to document daily instances of inaccessibility and discrimination. The diaries served not only as testimonials of discrimination, but also to raise consciousness about the barriers to daily living which were simply tolerated a part of life. Justin Dart, Chair of the Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of People with Disabilities, traversed the country holding public hearings which were attended by thousands of people with disabilities, friends, and families documenting the injustice of discrimination in the lives of people with disabilities.

In September 1988, a joint hearing was held before a Senate Subcommittee. A room which seated over 700 people overflowed with persons with disabilities, parents and advocates. After the hearing, Senators Kennedy and Harkin and Representative Owens committed that a comprehensive disability civil rights bill would be a top priority for the next Congress.

On May 9, 1989, the new ADA was introduced in the 101st Congress. From that moment, the disability community mobilized, organizing a multi-layered strategy for passage. Congress received boxes loaded with thousands of letters and pieces of testimony from people whose lives had been damaged or destroyed by discrimination.

People with disabilities came from around the country to advocate for the Bill, explaining why each provision was necessary to address a very real barrier or form of discrimination. Individuals came in at their own expense, slept on floors by night and visited Congressional offices by day.

On July 12, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a vote of 377-28. The next day, it passed the Senate on a vote of 91-6. Shortly thereafter, on July 26, 1990, the Act was signed by President George H. W. Bush on the South Lawn of the White House in front of over 3,000 disability advocates, the largest bill-signing ceremony that had ever taken place at the White House.

The ADA is based on the basic presumption that people with disabilities want to work and are capable of working, want to be members of their communities and are capable of being members of their communities, and that exclusion and segregation cannot be tolerated. Accommodating a person with a disability is no longer a matter of charity but instead a basic issue of civil rights.

Excerpted from Arlene Mayerson’s "A History of the ADA: A Movement Perspective"

Promise of the ADA

Promise: Broad Protections for Americans with All Types of Disabilities

Broken: Courts have narrowly interpreted the ADA. People with diabetes, heart conditions, cancer and mental illnesses have had their ADA claims kicked out of court because, with improvements in medication, they are considered “too functional.”

Promise: To End Segregation of People with Disabilities

Broken: The institutional bias in America’s healthcare funding system still forces children and adults with disabilities out of their homes and into isolated institutions.

Promise: Equal Access to Employment

Broken: In 2005, only 35 percent of working age people with disabilities were employed compared to 78 percent of people without disabilities.

Promise: Equal Access to Economic Opportunity

Broken: People with disabilities are two–and-a half times more likely to live in poverty. In 2005, median household income for people with disabilities was $35,000 compared to $61,500 for people without disabilities.

Promise: Freedom from Discrimination in the Workplace

Broken: More than 98% of ADA employment related cases are dismissed – without regard to the alleged discrimination – because judges rule that people with epilepsy, diabetes, mental illness or other disabilities are not disabled enough to be protected.


Title III Highlights

U.S. Department of Justice   Civil Rights Division   Disability Rights Section 

I. Who is covered by title III of the ADA

II. Overview of Requirements

III. "Individuals with Disabilities"

IV. Eligibility for Goods and Services

V. Modifications in Policies, Practices, and Procedures

VI. Auxiliary Aids

VII. Existing Facilities: Removal of Barriers

VIII. Existing Facilities: Alternatives to Barrier Removal

IX. New Construction

X. Alterations

XI. Overview of Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for New Construction and Alterations

XII. Examinations and Courses

XIII. Enforcement of the ADA and its Regulations

XIV. Technical Assistance


I. Who is Covered by Title III of the ADA

The title III regulation covers --

Public accommodations (i.e., private entities that own, operate, lease, or lease to places of public accommodation),

Commercial facilities, and

Private entities that offer certain examinations and courses related to educational and occupational certification.

Places of public accommodation include over five million private establishments, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, convention centers, retail stores, shopping centers, dry cleaners, laundromats, pharmacies, doctors' offices, hospitals, museums, libraries, parks, zoos, amusement parks, private schools, day care centers, health spas, and bowling alleys.

Commercial facilities are nonresidential facilities, including office buildings, factories, and warehouses, whose operations affect commerce.

Entities controlled by religious organizations, including places of worship, are not covered.

Private clubs are not covered, except to the extent that the facilities of the private club are made available to customers or patrons of a place of public accommodation.

State and local governments are not covered by the title III regulation, but rather by the Department of Justice's title II regulation.


II. Overview of Requirements

Public accommodations must --

Provide goods and services in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity.

Eliminate unnecessary eligibility standards or rules that deny individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the goods and services of a place of public accommodation.

Make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless a fundamental alteration would result in the nature of the goods and services provided.

Furnish auxiliary aids when necessary to ensure effective communication, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result.

Remove architectural and structural communication barriers in existing facilities where readily achievable.

Provide readily achievable alternative measures when removal of barriers is not readily achievable.

Provide equivalent transportation services and purchase accessible vehicles in certain circumstances.

Maintain accessible features of facilities and equipment.

Design and construct new facilities and, when undertaking alterations, alter existing facilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board and incorporated in the final Department of Justice title III regulation.

A public accommodation is not required to provide personal devices such as wheelchairs; individually prescribed devices (e.g., prescription eyeglasses or hearing aids); or services of a personal nature including assistance in eating, toileting, or dressing.

A public accommodation may not discriminate against an individual or entity because of the known disability of a person with whom the individual or entity is known to associate.

Commercial facilities are only subject to the requirement that new construction and alterations conform to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. The other requirements applicable to public accommodations listed above do not apply to commercial facilities.

Private entities offering certain examinations or courses (i.e., those related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes) must offer them in an accessible place and manner or offer alternative accessible arrangements.


III. "Individuals with Disabilities"

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides comprehensive civil rights protections for "individuals with disabilities".

An individual with a disability is a person who --

Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or

Has a record of such an impairment, or

Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Examples of physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to, such contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Homosexuality and bisexuality are not physical or mental impairments under the ADA.

"Major life activities" include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Individuals who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs are not protected by the ADA when an action is taken on the basis of their current illegal use of drugs.


IV. Eligibility for Goods and Services

In providing goods and services, a public accommodation may not use eligibility requirements that exclude or segregate individuals with disabilities, unless the requirements are necessary for the operation of the public accommodation.

For example, excluding individuals with cerebral palsy from a movie theater or restricting individuals with Down's Syndrome to only certain areas of a restaurant would violate the regulation.

Requirements that tend to screen out individuals with disabilities, such as requiring a blind person to produce a driver's license as the sole means of identification for cashing a check, are also prohibited.

Safety requirements may be imposed only if they are necessary for the safe operation of a place of public accommodation. They must be based on actual risks and not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.

For example, an amusement park may impose height requirements for certain rides when required for safety.

Extra charges may not be imposed on individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures necessary to ensure nondiscriminatory treatment, such as removing barriers or providing qualified interpreters.


V. Modifications in Policies, Practices, and Procedures

A public accommodation must make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, and procedures in order to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

A modification is not required if it would "fundamentally alter" the goods, services, or operations of the public accommodation.

For example, a department store may need to modify a policy of only permitting one person at a time in a dressing room if an individual with mental retardation needs the assistance of a companion in dressing.

Modifications in existing practices generally must be made to permit the use of guide dogs and other service animals.

Specialists are not required to provide services outside of their legitimate areas of specialization.

For example, a doctor who specializes exclusively in burn treatment may refer an individual with a disability, who is not seeking burn treatment, to another provider. A burn specialist, however, could not refuse to provide burn treatment to, for example, an individual with HIV disease.


VI. Auxiliary Aids

A public accommodation must provide auxiliary aids and services when they are necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision, or speech impairments.

"Auxiliary aids" include such services or devices as qualified interpreters, assistive listening headsets, television captioning and decoders, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD's), videotext displays, readers, taped texts, brailled materials, and large print materials.

The auxiliary aid requirement is flexible. For example, a brailled menu is not required, if waiters are instructed to read the menu to blind customers.

Auxiliary aids that would result in an undue burden, (i.e., "significant difficulty or expense") or in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods or services are not required by the regulation. However, a public accommodation must still furnish another auxiliary aid, if available, that does not result in a fundamental alteration or an undue burden.


VII. Existing Facilities: Removal of Barriers

Physical barriers to entering and using existing facilities must be removed when "readily achievable."

Readily achievable means "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense."

What is readily achievable will be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of the resources available.

The regulation does not require the rearrangement of temporary or movable structures, such as furniture, equipment, and display racks to the extent that it would result in a significant loss of selling or serving space.

Legitimate safety requirements may be considered in determining what is readily achievable so long as they are based on actual risks and are necessary for safe operation.

Examples of barrier removal measures include --

Installing ramps,

Making curb cuts at sidewalks and entrances,

Rearranging tables, chairs, vending machines, display racks, and other furniture,

Widening doorways,

Installing grab bars in toilet stalls, and

Adding raised letters or braille to elevator control buttons.

First priority should be given to measures that will enable individuals with disabilities to "get in the front door," followed by measures to provide access to areas providing goods and services.

Barrier removal measures must comply, when readily achievable, with the alterations requirements of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. If compliance with the Guidelines is not readily achievable, other safe, readily achievable measures must be taken, such as installation of a slightly narrower door than would be required by the Guidelines.


VIII. Existing Facilities: Alternatives to Barrier Removal

The ADA requires the removal of physical barriers, such as stairs, if it is "readily achievable." However, if removal is not readily achievable, alternative steps must be taken to make goods and services accessible.

Examples of alternative measures include --

Providing goods and services at the door, sidewalk, or curb,

Providing home delivery,

Retrieving merchandise from inaccessible shelves or racks,

Relocating activities to accessible locations.

Extra charges may not be imposed on individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures used as alternatives to barrier removal. For example, a restaurant may not charge a wheelchair user extra for home delivery when it is provided as the alternative to barrier removal.


IX. New Construction

All newly constructed places of public accommodation and commercial facilities must be accessible to individuals with disabilities to the extent that it is not structurally impracticable.

The new construction requirements apply to any facility occupied after January 26, 1993, for which the last application for a building permit or permit extension is certified as complete after January 26, 1992.

Full compliance will be considered "structurally impracticable" only in those rare circumstances when the unique characteristics of terrain prevent the incorporation of accessibility features (e.g., marshland that requires construction on stilts).

The architectural standards for accessibility in new construction are contained in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, an independent Federal agency. These standards are incorporated in the final Department of Justice title III regulation.

Elevators are not required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center, shopping mall, professional office of a health care provider, or station used for public transportation.


X. Alterations

Alterations after January 26, 1992, to existing places of public accommodation and commercial facilities must be accessible to the maximum extent feasible.

The architectural standards for accessibility in alterations are contained in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. These standards are incorporated in the final Department of Justice title III regulation.

An alteration is a change that affects usability of a facility. For example, if during remodeling, renovation, or restoration, a doorway is being relocated, the new doorway must be wide enough to meet the requirements of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.

When alterations are made to a "primary function area", such as the lobby or work areas of a bank, an accessible path of travel to the altered area, and the bathrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving that area, must be made accessible to the extent that the added accessibility costs are not disproportionate to the overall cost of the original alteration.

Alterations to windows, hardware, controls, electrical outlets, and signage in primary function areas do not trigger the path of travel requirement.

The added accessibility costs are disproportionate if they exceed 20 percent of the original alteration.

Elevators are not required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center, shopping mall, professional office of a health care provider, or station used for public transportation.


XI. Overview of Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for New Construction and Alterations

New construction and alterations must be accessible in compliance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.

The Guidelines contain general design ("technical") standards for building and site elements, such as parking, accessible routes, ramps, stairs, elevators, doors, entrances, drinking fountains, bathrooms, controls and operating mechanisms, storage areas, alarms, signage, telephones, fixed seating and tables, assembly areas, automated teller machines, and dressing rooms. They also have specific technical standards for restaurants, medical care facilities, mercantile facilities, libraries, and transient lodging (such as hotels and shelters).

The Guidelines also contain "scoping" requirements for various elements (i.e., it specifies how many, and under what circumstances, accessibility features must be incorporated).

Following are examples of scoping requirements in new construction --

At least 50 percent of all public entrances must be accessible. In addition, there must be accessible entrances to enclosed parking, pedestrian tunnels, and elevated walkways.

An accessible route must connect accessible public transportation stops, parking spaces, passenger loading zones, and public streets or sidewalks to all accessible features and spaces within a building.

Every public and common use bathroom must be accessible. Only one stall must be accessible, unless there are six or more stalls, in which case two stalls must be accessible (one of which must be of an alternate, narrow-style design).

Each floor in a building without a supervised sprinkler system must contain an "area of rescue assistance" (i.e., an area with direct access to an exit stairway where people unable to use stairs may await assistance during an emergency evacuation).

One TDD must be provided inside any building that has four or more public pay telephones, counting both interior and exterior phones. In addition, one TDD must be provided whenever there is an interior public pay phone in a stadium or arena; convention center; hotel with a convention center; covered shopping mall; or hospital emergency, recovery, or waiting room.

One accessible public phone must be provided for each floor, unless the floor has two or more banks of phones, in which case there must be one accessible phone for each bank.

Fixed seating assembly areas that accommodate 50 or more people or have audio-amplification systems must have a permanently installed assistive listening system.

Dispersal of wheelchair seating in theaters is required where there are more than 300 seats. In addition, at least one percent of all fixed seats must be aisle seats without armrests (or with movable armrests). Fixed seating for companions must be located adjacent to each wheelchair location.

Where automated teller machines are provided, at least one must be accessible.

Five percent of fitting and dressing rooms (but never less than one) must be accessible.

Following are examples of specific scoping requirements for new construction of special types of facilities, such as restaurants, medical care facilities, mercantile establishments, libraries, and hotels --

In restaurants, generally all dining areas and five percent of fixed tables (but not less than one) must be accessible.

In medical care facilities, all public and common use areas must be accessible. In general purpose hospitals and in psychiatric and detoxification facilities, ten percent of patient bedrooms and toilets must be accessible. The required percentage is 100 percent for special facilities treating conditions that affect mobility, and 50 percent for long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

In mercantile establishments, at least one of each type of counter containing a cash register and at least one of each design of check-out aisle must be accessible. In some cases, additional check-out aisles are required to be accessible (i.e., from 20 to 40 percent) depending on the number of check-out aisles and the size of the facility.

In libraries, all public areas must be accessible. In addition, five percent of fixed tables or study carrels (or at least one) must be accessible. At least one lane at the check-out area and aisles between card catalogs, magazine displays, and stacks must be accessible.

In hotels, four percent of the first 100 rooms and approximately two percent of rooms in excess of 100 must be accessible to persons with hearing impairments (i.e., contain visual alarms, visual notification devices, volume-control telephones, and an accessible electrical outlet for a TDD) and to persons with mobility impairments. Moreover, an identical percentage of additional rooms must be accessible to persons with hearing impairments.

Technical and scoping requirements for alterations are sometimes less stringent than those for new construction. For example, when compliance with the new construction requirements would be technically infeasible, one accessible unisex bathroom per floor is acceptable.


XII. Examinations and Courses

Certain examinations or courses offered by a private entity (i.e., those that are related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes) must either be given in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities, or be made accessible through alternative means.

In order to provide an examination in an accessible place and manner, a private entity must --

Assure that the examination measures what it is intended to measure, rather than reflecting the individual's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.

Modify the examination format when necessary (e.g., permit additional time).

Provide auxiliary aids (e.g., taped exams, interpreters, large print answer sheets, or qualified readers), unless they would fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge that the examination is intended to test or would result in an undue burden.

Offer any modified examination at an equally convenient location, as often, and in as timely a manner as are other examinations.

Administer examinations in a facility that is accessible or provide alternative comparable arrangements, such as providing the examination at an individual's home with a proctor.

In order to provide a course in an accessible place and manner, a private entity may need to --

Modify the course format or requirements (e.g., permit additional time for completion of the course).

Provide auxiliary aids, unless a fundamental alteration or undue burden would result.

Administer the course in a facility that is accessible or provide alternative comparable arrangements, such as provision of the course through video tape, audio cassettes, or prepared notes.


XIII. Enforcement of the ADA and its Regulations

Private parties may bring lawsuits to obtain court orders to stop discrimination. No monetary damages will be available in such suits. A reasonable attorney's fee, however, may be awarded.

Individuals may also file complaints with the Attorney General who is authorized to bring lawsuits in cases of general public importance or where a "pattern or practice" of discrimination is alleged.

In suits brought by the Attorney General, monetary damages (not including punitive damages) and civil penalties may be awarded. Civil penalties may not exceed $50,000 for a first violation or $100,000 for any subsequent violation.


XIV. Technical Assistance

The ADA requires that the Federal agencies responsible for issuing ADA regulations provide "technical assistance".

Technical assistance is the dissemination of information (either directly by the Department or through grants and contracts) to assist the public, including individuals protected by the ADA and entities covered by the ADA, in understanding the new law.

Methods of providing information include, for example, audio-visual materials, pamphlets, manuals, electronic bulletin boards, checklists, and training.

The Department issued for public comment on December 5, 1990, a government-wide plan for the provision of technical assistance.

The Department's efforts focus on raising public awareness of the ADA by providing--

Fact sheets and pamphlets in accessible formats,

Speakers for workshops, seminars, classes, and conferences,

An ADA telephone information line, and

Access to ADA documents through an electronic bulletin board for users of personal computers.

The Department has established a comprehensive program of technical assistance relating to public accommodations and State and local governments.

Grants will be awarded for projects to inform individuals with disabilities and covered entities about their rights and responsibilities under the ADA and to facilitate voluntary compliance.

The Department will issue a technical assistance manual by January 26, 1992, for individuals or entities with rights or duties under the ADA.

For additional information, contact:

Disability Rights Section

Civil Rights Division

U.S. Department of Justice

P.O. Box 66738

Washington, D.C 20035-6738

(800) 514-0301 (Voice)

(800) 514-0383 (TDD)

(202) 514-6193 (Electronic Bulletin Board)




H.R. 3195: ADA Restoration Act of 2007

Introduced: Jul 26, 2007

Sponsor: Rep. Steny Hoyer [D-MD]

Status: Introduced

You are viewing the following version of this bill:

Introduced in House: This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the House for consideration.

Text of Legislation

HR 3195 IH



1st Session

H. R. 3195

To restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.




July 26, 2007

Mr. HOYER (for himself, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. ALLEN, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. BACHUS, Ms. BALDWIN, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. BILBRAY, Mr. BISHOP of New York, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. BOSWELL, Mr. BOUCHER, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, Mr. CALVERT, Mr. CARDOZA, Mr. CARNEY, Mr. CHANDLER, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CLEAVER, Mr. CLYBURN, Mr. COBLE, Mr. COHEN, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. COSTA, Mr. COSTELLO, Mr. COURTNEY, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia, Mr. DEFAZIO, Ms. DEGETTE, Mr. DELAHUNT, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. DINGELL, Mr. DREIER, Mr. EHLERS, Mr. EMANUEL, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania, Mr. ETHERIDGE, Mr. FARR, Mr. FERGUSON, Mr. FILNER, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN, Mr. GALLEGLY, Ms. GIFFORDS, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. HALL of New York, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HINOJOSA, Mr. HOLDEN, Mr. HOLT, Mr. HONDA, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. ISSA, Mr. JEFFERSON, Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia, Mrs. JONES of Ohio, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. KILDEE, Ms. KILPATRICK, Mr. KIND, Mr. KING of New York, Mr. KIRK, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. LAHOOD, Mr. LANGEVIN, Mr. LANTOS, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. LEWIS of California, Mr. LOEBSACK, Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, Mrs. LOWEY, Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. MARKEY, Mr. MATHESON, Ms. MATSUI, Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York, Ms. MCCOLLUM of Minnesota, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. MCHUGH, Mr. MCNULTY, Mr. MILLER of North Carolina, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania, Mr. NADLER, Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts, Ms. NORTON, Mr. NUNES, Mr. OBERSTAR, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. PERLMUTTER, Mr. PETRI, Mr. RAHALL, Mr. RAMSTAD, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Mr. ROSKAM, Mr. ROTHMAN, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Mr. RUPPERSBERGER, Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin, Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California, Mr. SARBANES, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. SHAYS, Ms. SHEA-PORTER, Ms. SLAUGHTER, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Ms. SOLIS, Mr. SOUDER, Mr. SPACE, Mr. STARK, Ms. SUTTON, Mrs. TAUSCHER, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. UDALL of New Mexico, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. VISCLOSKY, Mr. WALSH of New York, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms. WATSON, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. WELCH of Vermont, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. WYNN, Mr. YOUNG of Florida, Mr. YOUNG of Alaska, Mr. WALZ of Minnesota, Mr. MCCOTTER, and Mr. DICKS) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned





To restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,



This Act may be cited as the `ADA Restoration Act of 2007'.



(a) Findings- Congress finds that--

(1) in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Congress intended that the Act `establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability,' and provide broad coverage and vigorous and effective remedies without unnecessary and obstructive defenses;

(2) decisions and opinions of the Supreme Court have unduly narrowed the broad scope of protection afforded in the ADA, eliminating protection for a broad range of individuals who Congress intended to protect;

(3) in enacting the ADA, Congress recognized that physical and mental impairments are natural parts of the human experience that in no way diminish a person's right to fully participate in all aspects of society, but Congress also recognized that people with physical or mental impairments having the talent, skills, abilities, and desire to participate in society are frequently precluded from doing so because of prejudice, antiquated attitudes, or the failure to remove societal and institutional barriers;

(4) Congress modeled the ADA definition of disability on that of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which, through the time of the ADA's enactment, had been construed broadly to encompass both actual and perceived limitations, and limitations imposed by society;

(5) the broad conception of the definition had been underscored by the Supreme Court's statement in its decision in School Board of Nassau County v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273, 284 (1987), that the section 504 definition `acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment';

(6) in adopting the section 504 concept of disability in the ADA, Congress understood that adverse action based on a person's physical or mental impairment is often unrelated to the limitations caused by the impairment itself;

(7) instead of following congressional expectations that disability would be interpreted broadly in the ADA, the Supreme Court has ruled, in Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184, 197 (2002), that the elements of the definition `need to be interpreted strictly to create a demanding standard for qualifying as disabled,' and, consistent with that view, has narrowed the application of the definition in various ways; and

(8) contrary to explicit congressional intent expressed in the ADA committee reports, the Supreme Court has eliminated from the Act's coverage individuals who have mitigated the effects of their impairments through the use of such measures as medication and assistive devices.

(b) Purpose- The purposes of this Act are--

(1) to effect the ADA's objectives of providing `a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination' and `clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination' by restoring the broad scope of protection available under the ADA;

(2) to respond to certain decisions of the Supreme Court, including Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999), Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 527 U.S. 516 (1999), Albertson's, Inc. v. Kirkingburg, 527 U.S. 555 (1999), and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002), that have narrowed the class of people who can invoke the protection from discrimination the ADA provides; and

(3) to reinstate original congressional intent regarding the definition of disability by clarifying that ADA protection is available for all individuals who are subjected to adverse treatment based on actual or perceived impairment, or record of impairment, or are adversely affected by prejudiced attitudes, such as myths, fears, ignorance, or stereotypes concerning disability or particular disabilities, or by the failure to remove societal and institutional barriers, including communication, transportation, and architectural barriers, and the failure to provide reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures, reasonable accommodations, and auxiliary aids and services.



Section 2(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101) is amended--

(1) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:

`(1) physical or mental disabilities are natural parts of the human experience that in no way diminish a person's right to fully participate in all aspects of society, yet people with physical or mental disabilities having the talent, skills, abilities, and desires to participate in society frequently are precluded from doing so because of discrimination; others who have a record of a disability or are regarded as having a disability also have been subjected to discrimination;'.

(2) by amending paragraph (7) to read as follows:

`(7) individuals with disabilities have been subject to a history of purposeful unequal treatment, have had restrictions and limitations imposed upon them because of their disabilities, and have been relegated to positions of political powerlessness in society; classifications and selection criteria that exclude persons with disabilities should be strongly disfavored, subjected to skeptical and meticulous examination, and permitted only for highly compelling reasons, and never on the basis of prejudice, ignorance, myths, irrational fears, or stereotypes about disability;'.



Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102) is amended--

(1) by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:


`(A) IN GENERAL- The term `disability' means, with respect to an individual--

`(i) a physical or mental impairment;

`(ii) a record of a physical or mental impairment; or

`(iii) being regarded as having a physical or mental impairment.


`(i) The determination of whether an individual has a physical or mental impairment shall be made without considering the impact of any mitigating measures the individual may or may not be using or whether or not any manifestations of an impairment are episodic, in remission, or latent.

`(ii) The term `mitigating measures' means any treatment, medication, device, or other measure used to eliminate, mitigate, or compensate for the effect of an impairment, and includes prescription and other medications, personal aids and devices (including assistive technology devices and services), reasonable accommodations, or auxiliary aids and services.

`(iii) Actions taken by a covered entity with respect to an individual because of that individual's use of a mitigating measure or because of a side effect or other consequence of the use of such a measure shall be considered actions taken on the basis of a disability under this Act.'.

(2) by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (7) and inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

`(3) PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT- The term `physical impairment' means any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine.

`(4) MENTAL IMPAIRMENT- The term `mental impairment' means any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disabilities.

`(5) RECORD OF PHYSICAL OR MENTAL IMPAIRMENT- The term `record of physical or mental impairment' means having a history of, or having been misclassified as having, a physical or mental impairment.

`(6) REGARDED AS HAVING A PHYSICAL OR MENTAL IMPAIRMENT- The term `regarded as having a physical or mental impairment' means being perceived or treated as having a physical or mental impairment whether or not the individual has an impairment.'.



Section 102 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12112) is amended--

(1) in subsection (a), by striking `against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual' and inserting `against an individual on the basis of disability'; and

(2) in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking `discriminate' and inserting `discriminate against an individual on the basis of disability'.



Section 103(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12113(a)) is amended by striking `that an alleged application' and inserting `that--

`(1) the individual alleging discrimination under this title is not a qualified individual with a disability; or

`(2) an alleged application'.



Section 501 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12201) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(e) Broad Construction- In order to ensure that this Act achieves its purpose of providing a comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability, the provisions of this Act shall be broadly construed to advance their remedial purpose.

`(f) Regulations- In order to provide for consistent and effective standards among the agencies responsible for enforcing this Act, the Attorney General shall promulgate regulations and guidance in alternate accessible formats implementing the provisions herein. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Secretary of Transportation shall then issue appropriate implementing directives, whether in the nature of regulations or policy guidance, consistent with the requirements prescribed by the Attorney General.

`(g) Deference to Regulations and Guidance- Duly issued Federal regulations and guidance for the implementation of this Act, including provisions implementing and interpreting the definition of disability, shall be entitled to deference by administrative bodies or officers and courts hearing any action brought under this Act.'.