Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Disability Access Reform/Education Bill Still Alive

JobCreator

A California Chamber of Commerce-sponsored job creator bill that incentivizes disability access and education awaits assignment to an Assembly policy committee after passing the Senate with unanimous support.

SB 251 (Roth; D-Riverside) is a balanced approach between preserving the civil rights of those who are disabled to ensure access to all public accommodations, and limiting the number of frivolous lawsuits threatened or filed against businesses that do not improve accessibility.

The bill passed the Senate on June 3, 40-0.

Access

SB 251 seeks to incentivize businesses to proactively take steps to become accessible by providing them with 90 days from receiving a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection to resolve any violations identified without being subject to statutory penalties or litigation costs. This proposal will assist businesses that are trying to ensure they are compliant with the law from being subject to frivolous claims or litigation.

SB 251 also provides a limited time period for businesses to resolve technical construction-related standards. Specifically, SB 251 provides small businesses with 15 days from the service of the summons and complaint to resolve any alleged violation regarding signage, parking lot striping, and truncated domes.

This limited period will provide a business owner the opportunity to devote financial resources to resolving these issues before being subjected to statutory penalties and attorney fees.

Education

SB 251 also requires the California Commission on Disability Access to post educational materials for business owners regarding how to comply with California’s construction-related accessibility standards, as well as share that information with local agencies and departments.

The bill requires landlords to notify tenants as to whether a building has been inspected by a CASp, as well as who is liable for any alleged violations. Notice and education are key components to helping create more accessible public accommodations and limiting frivolous claims or litigation.

Tax Credit

Finally, SB 251 creates an additional incentive for small businesses to become accessible by providing a tax credit for access expenditures.

Other Job Creators

Also still moving are the following job creator bills:

Creates Construction Jobs

AB 35 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) Creates Affordable Housing Opportunities. Expands the existing low-income housing tax credit program, making the state better able to leverage an estimated $200 million more in Federal Tax Credits.

AB 323 (Olsen; R-Modesto) Expedites and Reduces Cost for Roadway Repair and Maintenance Projects. Streamlines infrastructure development by extending until January 1, 2020 the current California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemption for certain roadway repair and maintenance projects.

Tourism

SB 249 (Hueso; D-San Diego) Enhanced Driver’s License. Encourages international trade and tourism by authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue enhanced driver licenses to U.S. citizens to expedite legal traffic at the border.

For more information on the 2015 job creators, visit www.calchamber.com/jobcreators.

Staff Contacts: Jennifer Barrera, Anthony Samson, Jeremy Merz

Jennifer Barrera
Jennifer Barrera
Jennifer Barrera took over as president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce on October 1, 2021. She has been part of the CalChamber team since 2010 and stepped into the top position after serving as CalChamber executive vice president, overseeing the development and implementation of policy and strategy for the organization, as well as representing the CalChamber on legal reform issues. Barrera is well-known for her success rate with the CalChamber’s annual list of job killer legislation, efforts to reform the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and leadership working with employers on critical issues, including most recently those arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, she advises the business compliance activities of the CalChamber on interpreting changes in employment law. Barrera earned a B.A. in English from California State University, Bakersfield, and a J.D. with high honors from California Western School of Law. See full bio

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