Arizona lawmakers have introduced multiple bills that aim to curb serial lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act and entice businesses to become compliant.
The bills come after a series of ABC15 investigative reports into a controversial group that has filed lawsuits at an unprecedented rate. Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID), which is financially backed by a businessman with a history of consumer fraud investigations, sued more than 1,700 businesses in the Phoenix area last year.
So far, two bills have been introduced. Business leaders and attorneys told ABC15 that a third bill is currently being drafted.
Here are details about each bill under consideration.
Senate Bill 1198
Sponsor(s): Sen. John Kavanagh, Sen. Kimberly Yee
What it would do: SB1198 would require someone to provide written notice to a business before a lawsuit could be filed. After the written notice, businesses would have various time periods to fix any issues based on the cost and size of the alleged ADA violations. The bill also appears to specify who could sue a business. The bill adds language to state law that says the person who files a lawsuit must be an “aggrieved person.” SB1198 will likely face opposition from disability rights organizations.
House Bill 2214
Sponsors: Rep. Vince Leach, Rep. Regina Cobb
What it would do: HB2214 would allow businesses to immediately write off the full amount of improvements or changes made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Currently, businesses are allowed to write off a small percentage of those expenses for the year they are completed, and then write-off the remainder of those costs over several years. Business leaders said this change will hopefully incentivize businesses financially to bring their properties into compliance quicker. This bill appears to have broad support from the business community and disability rights advocates.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at email@example.com.