The Governor has signed SB 269 (Roth; D-Riverside) into law.  Strongly supported by the commercial real estate industry, the bill represents the first significant reform to the State’s disability access laws since 2012.

In a press release Senator Roth stated, “This is a major victory for all Californians.  SB 269 is a bipartisan, commonsense solution that will guarantee access for disabled Californians by providing small businesses with the tools and resources necessary to comply with state and federal disability access regulations. I am glad the Governor agrees with the critical need for this reform, and I am proud to have delivered this victory for California’s small businesses and disability community.”

The bill is a carefully crafted provision to provide businesses with much needed disability access education, resources and training, and allows small businesses that have been proactive in identifying access issues a reasonable amount of time to fix certain problems before a lawsuit arises.

Specifically, this bill does a number of things.  It establishes a presumption that certain “technical violations” are presumed to not cause a person difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment for the purpose of an award of minimum statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim, where the defendant is a small business, and has corrected within 15 days a construction-related accessibility claim.  Technical violations generally include things that do not hamper actual accessibility like signage issues, parking lot striping issues, or chipped faded paint.

Here is a link to the full text of the bill SB 269. However, we highly recommend that you consult with your legal departments, ADA compliance officers, and/or individuals you work with that have CASp expertise, to fully understand your rights and responsibilities under this law.

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