Matthew Cortland, they Profile picture
Feb 10, 2018 29 tweets 15 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Here's how #HR620 will begin dismantling the #ADA, excluding us from public life, and why it's imperative we get all the attention we can over the next few days. #CripTheVote #HandsOffMyADA
#HR620 is a short bill, its about four pages long. It was introduced by @HouseGOP Rep. @JudgeTedPoe of Texas. Ted Poe is an asshole. Unfortunately, there are over 100 cosponsors of this piece of trash, including 11 @HouseDemocrats.…
§1 of the bill is simply provides that the title for the bill is the "ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017." And who doesn't love education, right? Section 1 of the text which can be found at
§2 of the bill would require the Disability Rights Section of DOJ develop an 'education program' to teach state & local govt's & property owners "effective & efficient strategies for promoting access to public accommodations" - sounds good, right?
§2 starts with "based on existing funding" – that means #HR620 requires more work from the #DisabilityRights section of DOJ but doesn't provide additional money to do that work. That's the trap - a clever way of defunding the other work the #DisabilityRights section of DOJ does. Section 2 of the text which can be found at
What else does the #DisabilityRights section of DOJ do? Enforcement, certification, regulatory, coordination, technical assistance, and mediation activities. #HR620 would take money away from existing ENFORCEMENT activities under the guise of "education." The section's enforcement, certification, regulatory, coordination, and technical assistance activities, required by the ADA, combined with an innovative mediation program and a technical assistance grant program, provide a cost-effective and dynamic approach for carrying out the ADA's mandates. The Section also carries out responsibilities under Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Small Business...
Why does enforcement matter? Because this is one of the very few government entities that does ADA enforcement work. Because disabled folks have civil rights - but civil rights aren't worth a damn if you can't enforce them.
Don't get me wrong: Education is great! That's why all students regardless of disability status deserve a high quality education. This is the DOJ section that litigates on behalf of students (like kids in Pea Ridge, AR) who are discriminated against on the basis of disability The first paragraph of the press release found at
This is a way cutting the enforcement budget of the part DOJ charged with defending disabled folks. btw, the #ADA became law 27 years ago. A lack of educational resources is :not: the problem. The federal gov't, the state's, municipalities, & 501(c)3's all have ed resources.
§3 is titled "notice and cure period" & it really ramps up the fuckery. The #ADA is :civil rights: law that says #disabled folks are actually part of society and requires society do certain things to recognize our humanity, like making buildings accessible. Section 3 of the text of HR620 found at
Here's the thing: Title III of #ADA, the part of the law that requires businesses be accessible, does not provide for money damages to the disabled person who sues for a violation of their civil rights.
If you're a cancer or IBD patient using cannabis to control otherwise intractable nausea & vomiting, Jeff Sessions could send the DEA to blow your door in at at 5AM & haul you off the jail. But there aren't any ADA cops.
Yes, there's that small office at Justice doing, what is essentially, impact litigation. But they're not designed to sue over every ADA violation. Instead the #ADA put the burden of protecting the civil rights of disabled folks on disabled folks.
For example, suppose a grocery store builds a new building but the only way inside is up some stairs. That's a violation of the ADA that excludes folks who, e.g., use a wheelchair from being able to buy food. Now, the ADA has been the law of the land for 27 years.
The grocery store certainly should've known about the ADA by now. And there are so many technical resources the grocery store could have called upon to ensure ADA compliance that I can't even begin to list them all. But still, the #ADA says its on the disabled person to sue.
And what do they get for suing? A big fat payday? NOPE. They can get a court order requiring the store to fix the accessibility issue (this is called "injunctive relief") & an award of attorney's fees. §3 is designed to be a barrier to those lawsuits enforcing the ADA
Here's what §3 of #HR620 would require when a biz is violating the #ADA by having an "architectural barrier" block access: written notice to the biz describing the particular barrier, the address of the property, the details of how the barrier denied access
the specific sections of the #ADA that the barrier violated, whether the barrier was permanent or temporary, and whether a "request for assistance" was made. (How is someone who cannot even get into an inaccessible business supposed to request assistance? who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
Once notice has been sent to the biz, #HR620 gives them 60 days to reply with a plan to remove the specific barrier the disabled person told them about. The biz (I'm using that term as shorthand for "place of public accommodation") gets another 120 days, under #HR620, to fix it.
Well, that's not quite true. They don't have to have the barrier removed by the end of 120 days, they just have to have made "substantial progress" in removing it. (What's substantial progress? Dunno. The courts will have to hash that out.)
So imagine the new grocery store in town isn't accessible to you because there are steps but no ramp. Before you can sue you have to send this hyper-technical demand letter that cites which specific provisions of the ADA having stairs but no ramp violates.
Here's the thing: Do you think you could write that hyper-technical demand letter? Or do you think you'd probably need a lawyer to do it? That's why #HR620 has this demand letter requirement - its purpose is to prevent disabled folks from being able to sue.
The very best case is that this would be big business benefiting from the forced free labor of a marginalized and oppressed minority. But guess what, the grocery store knows damn well they're violating the ADA. (They just don't give a fuck.)
They just think most disabled folks don't have the $500 a lawyer is going to charge for the demand letter. And given the poverty this country forces upon many disabled folks, they're largely correct.
So let's say after a disabled person (let's call him Jim) has hired a lawyer to write the hyper-technical demand letter, and then waited at least 180 days, they install a ramp. Jim goes up the ramp, into the store, and then discovers the aisles are too narrow for a wheelchair
HR620 would require Jim to start all over again with another $500 demand letter. Why? His first demand letter didn't mention the overly narrow aisles. Why not? Well he couldn't get in the fucking store because the building violated the ADA.
Why do
@RepScottPeters [D-CA-52],
@RepBera [D-CA-7],
@RepSpeier [D-CA-14],
@RepPeteAguilar [D-CA-31], and
@RepLouCorrea [D-CA-46]
think disabled folks like Jim are second class citizens? Because that's what their support of #HR620 means. #CripTheVote
Why do
@repbillfoster [D-IL-11]
@RepSinema [D-AZ-9]
@repterrisewell [D-AL-7]
@repcuellar [D-TX-28]
@repjimcosta [D-CA-16]
@RepKathleenRice [D-NY-4]
think disabled folks like Jim are second class citizens? Because that's what their support of #HR620 means. #CripTheVote
Contact your Member of Congress, (202) 224-3121 or @resistbot & tell them #HandsOffMyADA:
"My name is [NAME] I live in [ZIPCODE]. #HR620 is an attack on the civil rights of disabled people that would exclude us from public life. Please oppose HR 620"

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More from @mattbc

Oct 2, 2018
[cw trans slurs, misogyny]

hey, #medtwitter, if anyone knows who this guy is, slide into my DMs. (I'll provide a Signal # if you want encryption & disappearing messages) I'll file the complaint with the board of medicine myself, your fingerprints won't be anywhere on it.
[cw rape apologist, misogyny]

Because if you know who this is? And you're not doing anything about it? The very least you could do is let someone else take action.

Read 4 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Yesterday, @cosetthetable publicly named a UNH athletics employee who sexually harassed her & submitted Title IX complaints to both USA Fencing & UNH. In deciding to speak out, she had to weigh the risks, including the risk of legal action against her (ie. defamation) 1/
When Trump calls for "strengthening" libel laws, it's because he wants to silence those survivors who wish to come forward. He wants to turn defamation into an even sharper weapon to cut down those who dare defy the violence of patriarchy. 2/…
I've seen, in just the last hour, two authors discussing being forced to make redactions to their stories by publishers. The truth is libel law already silences survivors. That's why the @TIMESUPLDF is so vitally important – but we haven't gone far enough

Read 7 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
I get the cynicism & nihilism – I really do

But here's the thing: without healthcare I'm dead pretty quickly. This raging asshole, Kavanaugh, will overturn the ACA. I'll die - along with many, many other chronically ill disabled folx.

So call your senators anyway.
Be cynical.. BUT ask your Arizona people to call Jeff Flake, and tell him to vote no. Your Alaska people to call Murkowski, your Maine people to call Collins. (202) 224-3121.
Acquiescing guarantees them a victory. And so I am begging you to please keep fighting to #StopKavanaugh.

There are so, so, so many of us who will die if he overturns the ACA – and he .will. overturn the ACA.

Read 4 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Our federal courts have largely held. They've been slowly eroded as a POTUS who is, in all likelihood, a Russian plant, has nominated judges picked by fringe extremists & approved by a Senate that represents a radical minority of the population. But they've mostly held– until now
I've used some of the precious little good time I get to pursue an advocacy strategy of mobilizing comments on administrative regulations. I know that sounds geeky af – that's because it is. POTUS acts mostly through agencies & departments. That bureaucracy has to issue rules
By law those rules must be open to public comment & those comments form part of the record when rules are challenged in court

Bottom line: my strategy has been to do what little I can to help the lawyers challenging bad Trump rules win in court.

Kavanaugh would end that.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 27, 2018
Corey Booker starts with a question immediately: "you drank on weekdays, yes or no?"

Kav blunders around for an answer. And then tries talking over Booker. Booker pushes back.
Booker: Are you saying Dr. Ford is part of an orchestrated political hit? she's a political operative?
Kav: My family has no ill-will towards Dr Ford.
Booker: Do you wish she never came forward?
Kav: the witnesses who were there say it didn't happen
Read 6 tweets
Sep 18, 2018
I’ve traded away my privacy around my own deeply personal medical issues for the chance – the mere hope really – that maybe someone will listen, will learn.

This is what validation feels like:
I was being worked up in the ED one night for a small bowel obstruction, the imaging was _very_ concerning.

The surgical team came through, reviewed the EMR, peppered me with questions, felt my abdomen, and then left.

Except the surgical resident came back in a minute later.
She saw how scared I was, felt my unasked questions as her team treated me like a talking, anatomically interesting, mannequin that they were subjecting to a rapid-fire pit-stop...

And so she came back in to make sure I was ok. I wasn’t.
Read 5 tweets

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