Newswise — WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association called on the House of Representatives to reject a bill that would weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act, our nation’s foremost civil rights law for persons with disabilities.  The bill, H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, would impose a 6-month waiting period before people with disabilities could enforce their rights to gain access to businesses, social service agencies, educational institutions and other covered entities.  

“Psychological research has strongly demonstrated the pervasive nature of stigma associated with disabilities and the adverse mental health effects of discrimination,” said APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr. PhD. “The American Psychological Association has been a proponent of the ADA since its passage in 1990.We are firmly opposed to this rollback of civil rights protections for the millions of individuals with disabilities living in our nation.”

H.R. 620 would also put the responsibility on the person with the disability to provide legal notice to the entity not in compliance with the ADA about its infraction.

“APA urges Congress to use its resources to ensure people with disabilities have full access to the community through the strong enforcement of the ADA, and not consider restricting their civil rights or adding unnecessary burdens to their lives,” Evans said.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

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