Open States' stated mission is to improve civic engagement.
To be true to that goal, we can not stand by and be silent when a large portion of Americans face systemic racism and other forms of oppression. That oppression has meant being excluded from civic participation at the ballot box, being called un-American for peaceful protests, and being denied justice for crimes committed against them.
Under existing law, a person, firm, or corporation that interferes with the access rights of a disabled individual is liable for the actual damages of each offense and any amount determined by a judge or jury of up to 3 times the amount of the actual damages, but in no case less than $1,000. Existing law requires the State Architect to develop and submit for approval and adoption building standards for making buildings, structures, sidewalks, curbs, and related facilities accessible to, and usable by, persons with disabilities, as specified.
This bill would establish notice requirements for an alleged aggrieved party to follow before bringing an action against a business for an alleged violation of the above-described provisions. The bill would require that party to provide specified notice to the owner of the property, agent, or other responsible party where the alleged violation occurred. The bill would require that owner, agent, or other responsible party to respond within 30 days with a description of the improvements to be made or with a rebuttal to the allegations, as specified. If that owner, agent, or other responsible party elects to fix the alleged violation, the bill would provide 120 days to do so. The bill would provide that its provisions do not apply to claims for recovery of special damages for an injury in fact, and would authorize the court to consider previous or pending actual damage awards received or prayed for by the alleged aggrieved party for the same or similar injury. The bill would further state the intent of the Legislature to institute certain educational programs related to special access laws.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.