Democrats Oppose Problematic Bill Dealing with “Bad Faith” ADA Demand Letters

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: February 26, 2018

Contact:    
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Democrats Oppose Problematic Bill Dealing with “Bad Faith” ADA Demand Letters

SALT LAKE CITY – Today the House voted in 54 to 12 in favor of 2nd Sub. H.B. 115, “Bad Faith Demand Letters Concerning Americans with Disabilities Act,” sponsored by Rep. Norm Thurston of Provo. 

The bill attempts to crack down on people who send illegitimate or “bad faith” demand letters threatening to sue businesses for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  While Democrats agree there may be some bad actors who threaten to file non-meritorious lawsuits under the ADA, most see this bill as problematic that could wrongly hamper efforts to address legitimate discrimination of Utahns with disabilities.  

On the floor the sponsor proposed changes to the original bill and rushed through a second substitute. Democrats felt many stakeholders and legislators deserved more time to review it.

Rep. Brian King of Salt Lake City who made a motion to circle the bill to allow more time for consideration said, “This bill is unconstitutional. If legislators see this as a problem, they should take it up with Congress. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law. We should not be tampering with the substance of that federal statute at the state legislature.”

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss of Salt Lake City stated, “This bill risks unfairly targeting people with disabilities who have legitimate complaints against businesses who discriminate against them. The definition of “bad faith” is very vague in this bill.  What’s more, the disability community is all united against this bill.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.