The Americans with Disabilities Act is right up there with the Endangered Species Act in my book as one of the worst laws ever passed in America. Patently unconstitutional, and the effect on small business (and probably big business, too), very, very bad. Unless you’re a trial lawyer in which case your bottom line has increased because of the ADA.
I think I can write with a bit more moral authority than I used to on this subject as my father was disabled for the last couple years of his life. I can’t deny the benefits to all those wheelchair accessible sidewalks and the like. But my dad never wavered from his disgust of the federal overreach with the ADA. What in the Constitution allows the feds to dictate the size of my office bathroom? And it has led to some absurd results: the ski lodge sued and forced to remodel their bathroom to ADA standards, a lodge only accessible by skiing down a mountainside. If you are badass enough as a handicapped person to go skiing, then I’m sure you can manage to relieve yourself in a normal-sized bathroom.
Why this long tirade? I had just learned a couple of weeks ago about a new federal rule requiring public pools to install a lift or ramp under the ADA. Now the feds are backing off, sort of.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires publicly accessible pools and spas have lifts, ramps or elevators, and gave a March deadline for compliance, sparking panic among hotels and community pools. As the deadline neared, and under pressure from Congress, the department issued an initial delay and then earlier this month said pools have until next year.
“Readily achievable means that it is easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense,” the department said. “This is a flexible, case-by-case analysis, with the goal of ensuring that ADA requirements are not unduly burdensome, including to small businesses.”
“Flexible, case-by-case analysis”? Whatever happened to certainty when it came to laws and rules? Now if two people engage in the same activity, only one need be prosecuted?