While the Americans with Disabilities Act has been law for more than 28 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has let many infractions slide by because they saw local municipalities were making slow progress to get into compliance with the law. That was until the late 2000’s when the DOJ decided local municipalities had enough time to make the needed investments to get into compliance with the law. Now, the DOJ is going after municipalities with some heavy lawsuits.
Humboldt County is spending $27 million over the next seven years to ensure its facilities, programs and services are in compliance with the ADA because of a 2008 DOJ investigation and settlement agreement. A move that is putting the county in financial hardship, but work that its leadership is committed to.
These cases are not rare. In January we did a spotlight on suburban cities complying with the ADA in fear of losing federal funding as a result of DOJ investigations. In our discussions with the DOJ, investigators and prosecutors want to see that local municipalities are doing their due diligence to remediate their access barriers and have an up-to-date transition plan in place. While it does take a lot of coordinated work and investment, being compliant with the ADA is helping save many municipalities from the scrutiny of the DOJ and the public.
Humboldt County projected to spend $7 million ahead of Disabilities Act deadline
Shomik Mukherjee, Times-Standard
February 28, 2019