Westmoreland Urges Elk Grove City Council to Support Disabilities Rights, Not Support HB 620

Congressional candidate Brad Westmoreland. |

November 8, 2017 |

In the aftermath of the three recent workshops on race relations in the city, one Elk Grove resident asked the Elk Grove City Council to give due considerations of another group of citizens - the disabled community. 

Speaking during public comment at tonight's regular city council meeting, Brad Westmoreland praised to efforts of the city to address race relations but suggested the scope be expanded. Westmoreland is a Democratic candidate for California's 7th congressional district.   

"It is in that spirit that I am here tonight," Westmoreland said. "Because there is another community within our community that is in need of our attention - I am speaking about our friends, family, and neighbors with disabilities."

Westmoreland said the U.S. Congress might soon vote on a bill, H.R 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act that could make changes to the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). As he explained it, the bill could weaken the ADA.

"It is a bill that will make it more difficult for a person to vindicate the hard-fought rights that they've gained under the Americans With Disabilities act," he said. "Supporters of the bill claim that it will help put an end to predatory lawsuits, which have become a headache for many businesses in the state of California."

Westmoreland went on to say the ADA is not the driving force behind the lawsuits. Instead, he said, it has more to do with state law.

According to the American Civil Liberties Group, the ADA Education Reform Act would "Instead of requiring that a business comply proactively, the bill would place the burden on the individual who is being denied access."

Along with the ACLU, the legislation is opposed by the California Disability Alliance, Epilepsy California, Easter Seals of California, and United Little People of USA.

As a progressive Democratic candidate, Westmoreland is challenging  Dr. Ami Bera, the third term moderate Democrat from Elk Grove. In his comments Westmoreland did not mention his opponent, or that Bera co-authored the legislation, which has been pushed for several years by various business interests. 

The change, which could be approved soon, is a dramatic overreach which Westmoreland said is based on a few bad actors in California. 

"It is the opinion of a lot of people that state legislation is the more appropriate institution to deal with this kind of thing," he said.






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