Governor signs bill to improve disability access

  • October 3, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

By Signal Staff
Posted: Oct. 1, 2008  4:26 p.m.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar has signed SB 1608, authored by Senator George Runner (R-Lancaster) and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita), concluding a two-year bi-partisan effort to improve accessibility for Californians with disabilities and reduce businesses’ exposure to expensive litigation over access violations.

SB 1608 “is a comprehensive and balanced measure that protects important civil rights and assists businesses in complying with access laws,” Runner said in a joint statement.

“SB 1608 takes a huge step forward in making California more proactive in supporting broader access compliance so that businesses can open their doors without fearing expensive lawsuits, and people with disabilities can have greater confidence that their mobility will not be challenged by unnecessary barriers,” Smyth said in the statement.

SB 1608 is “the true definition of bi-partisan policy making, and we are thankful for all the hard work of our fellow joint authors, the business groups and disability rights advocates, as well as the Governor,” Runner and Smyth stated.

Conflicting access standards in our state and federal codes, a lack of continuing education for architects and building inspectors, and inconsistent interpretations of our state’s damages provisions makes complying with access standards in California difficult for businesses. SB 1608’s provisions address those issues and are designed to improve accessibility compliance throughout the state.

Portions of SB 1608’s provisions will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009, while implementation of other provisions will be delayed until July 1, 2009.

Smyth represents the 38th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Simi Valley and Glendale, while Runner represents portions of the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley, Victor Valley and Ventura County.