Owens, Bill

Contact: Sean Magers 202-225-4611

Owens Pushes DOJ to Provide Clear Rules for Hotel and Lodging Industry

Washington, Feb 17 -

WASHINGTON – This month, Congressman Bill Owens (NY-23) wrote to Allison Nichol, Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Disability Rights Section, calling on the Department to clear up confusion that a 2010 directive has caused for the hotel and lodging industry.  The Department of Justice recently released new regulations stating that hotel owners must install handicap lifts in their pools as long as it is “easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense.” The rule is overly broad and has left many in the lodging industry confused as to what penalties they will incur if they do not comply with the regulation.

“Tourism and lodging contribute a great deal to the region’s economy and are critical to our continued economic recovery,” said Owens. “Without clarity, small businesses and entrepreneurs will be forced to waste time and money on litigation and result in higher costs for consumers.”

Local members of the lodging industry wrote to Owens regarding the confusion and reported the rule through Owens’ Small Business Regulations Reporting Form at http://owens.house.gov. The Department of Justice requires compliance with this rule by March 15, 2012.

Owens is hopeful the Department of Justice will provide clear guidance to constituents on what is “readily achievable” based on the size and resources of their business.  The failure of the Department of Justice to take such action will impede the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act and frustrate responsible businesses throughout the country.

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