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New ADA Changes Coming Soon

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Flickr User TheDarkThing

On March 15th new regulations that fall under the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) will be introduced, however for residents of the Garden State many of the new provisions have been in compliance.The changes stem from a 2010 directive which resulted from Supreme Court Ruling as well the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) amending some regulations to bring the ADA up to date. The amendments affect Title II and III which deal with state and local government services and public accommodations and commercial facilities, respectively.

An example given by the department of Justice says employees of a sports arena or stadium must tell “an individual with a disability and his or her companions about the features of accessible seating. If seating maps or brochures are provided to the general public, similar information showing accessible seating must be provided to individuals with disabilities.”

The Department of Justice list service animals, ticketing, the use of wheelchairs, manually-powered mobility aids, and other power-driven mobility devices, as well as effective communication aids all part of Title II and III. Additionally as of March 15th hotels will be required to fulfill provisions on reservation for individuals with disabilities.

For example, in the report distributed by the Department of Justice states that “reservations staff (of a hotel or a third party) will be required to identify accessible features in guest rooms (e.g. guest room door widths and availability of roll-in showers) and other hotel amenities in sufficient detail so that an individual with a disability can make an independent assessment whether the hotel meets his or her accessibility needs.”

While these mandates will require compliance nationwide on the 15th, executive Director of Disability Rights NJ, Joe Young says that Jersey residents might not notice sweeping changes because many of the initiatives have already been enacted.

He says “New Jersey’s law against discrimination already included most of changes Congress included in it’s new Legislation.”

He states the Supreme Court had a narrow interpretation on the federal level of what constitutes as “disabled” and many of the changes are mandated to close the gap. However in New Jersey the “law against discrimination has always had a much wider interpretation of people with disabilities.”

He adds New Jersey has always been on the forefront of legislation to assist people with disabilities.

“We were in on this ballgame very very early. Americans with disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and effective in 1992. We passed ours in 1970.”

He says that while some minor changes will be amended residents don’t need to expect major alterations.

“There shouldn’t be anything in these regulations that people in New Jersey haven’t been aware of for quite some time. “

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