DEC 11 1995 The Honorable Olympia J. Snowe United States Senator 3 Canal Plaza, Suite 601 P.O.

Box 188 Portland, Maine 04112 Dear Senator Snowe: This is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XX , concerning the enforcement of Federal disability rights laws in her area. XX is concerned that Federal laws are being ignored and that some businesses are choosing to comply with State laws instead. Please note, initially, that local law enforcement and building code officials do not have authority to enforce Federal disability rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. When both a State law and a Federal disability rights law apply to a certain facility, both laws must be followed, and thus the more stringent provisions of the two laws must be met. If State law provisions differ from the ADA requirements in a way that results in less accessibility, then an entity subject to the construction requirements of the ADA is required to comply with the Federal standard. To the extent that the Federal standard is irreconcilable with the State standard, a covered entity must comply with the Federal standard. As the article enclosed with XX letter notes, the Department of Justice is attempting to address the potential problem of overlapping State and Federal law through the ADA certification process. Under this program, State and local governments may submit their building codes to the Department for certification that the codes' requirements meet or exceed the requirements of the ADA. If such certification is granted for a State or local code, an entity whose building is built in compliance with the certified code will be able to rely on the certified code as "rebuttable evidence" of compliance with the ADA. Thus, such certification, although not a guarantee against findings of noncompliance, would allow builders to rely on their State or local codes and on the local systems of preliminary investigation, approval, and enforcement, rather than having to

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, McDowney, Milton, FOIA n:\udd\milton\congress\tosue.sno\sc. young-parran 01-04109​ -2do independent reviews of both the local and Federal laws. The State of Maine has applied for such certification and its submission is under review by the Department. In the event that a covered entity undertakes construction that violates the Federal disability rights laws, XX has several enforcement options. First, she may file a complaint with this office by sending her allegations in writing to the Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 66738, Washington, D.C. 20035-6738. As an alternative to investigation by a Federal agency, XX may file a lawsuit in the appropriate Federal district court. She would not need any approval letter from the Department of Justice before proceeding. XX also may seek to resolve her complaints through alternative dispute resolution. The enclosed brochure describes such processes. I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosure 01-04110​ To: Honorable Senate Snowe From: XX Re:Handicap Accessability Dear Senator Snowe, I live in XX accident that left me a Quadriplegic. I am having problems with towns and businesses making sidewalks and ramps accessible so people with disabilities can get around better. The laws are there but there is no one to enforce them. State laws and the federal laws are so different that some businesses are going by state laws and are not following

federal laws. There is a Restaurant in XX that did a lot of remodeling and was told by the code enforcement office and the Fire Marshall's office that she didn't meet Federal Laws. She told them she chose to go by the State Laws only. I contacted an Attorney and he has been talking with her and she still say she didn't break any Federal Laws. She put in a new door and steps but no ramp. The town of XX wouldn't make their town accessible until I called the Maine Civil Liberties Union. They said I had a case against XX . They got an Attorney for me and XX decided to do the work instead of going to court. I have been working with the City of XX and they are trying to get all their sidewalk done. Some people with disables give up and won't fight for their rights. The laws are there and we shouldn't have to fight to get something done. There needs to be someone to enforce the laws. There is a Fire Inspector and Plumming Inspector but no one to force the handicapped laws. I talked to Brian Trask about it and he agrees with me. He said he can tell people what has to be done but he can't go and make them do it. I don't know if you can help but maybe you know someone who can. I'm sending you a copy of Opening More Doors. I circled enforcement changes so you can check into it. Thank You, XX 01-04111