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After Local Businesses Sued Over ADA Violations, Changes To The Law Could Be On Horizon

Over the last year, the controversial group, Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities, sued more than a thousand local businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuits captured the attention of one Arizona lawmaker… and that’s worrying some disability advocates.

"After 26 years of having the ADA it’s a huge step backwards and I think its import to realize we’re putting more responsibility on the individuals with disabilities," said Gabrielle Ficchi. Ficchi is with the organization, Direct Center for Independence, a disability advocacy group in Tucson. And she’s talking about a proposed piece of legislation that would give businesses 90 days to fix ADA violations.

It’s called a cure period.

"Then the person with the disability has to point out all of the violations, has to file the complaints and have to take that upon ourselves to make our community more accessible… we should be going in the other direction," Ficchi said.

Arizona Senator John Kavanagh is behind the bill. He introduced a similar measure during the last legislative session, but if was defeated. This time, the mood is different.

"The law has all of these provisions, highly technical, highly complex virtually nobody can comply with it and there’s not grace period for good faith people who want to correct it" Kavanagh said.

Disability advocates say a cure period violates their civil rights. Kavanagh believes it’ll lead to more businesses fixing any violations.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.