Ragged Edge on California "Opportunity to Repair" Initiative
California access advocates are preparing for battle once again. This time they'll be fighting "that vagary of California self-governance called the 'initiative,'" as Californians for Disability Rights president Laura Williams puts it.
The initiative, being readied to put before voters, is now deceptively named "The Opportunity to Repair Act of 2006." In fact, say advocates, it's the latest plan backed by California's business community to remove the teeth from California access laws.
California is one of few states that currently allows people who have been harmed by the denial of access to file suits for monetary damages for discrimination. The state's business community has tried for years to get rid of this damages provision. But bills before the state legislature have so far failed. . The new initiative -- which activists call an end-run around legislators -- is the latest attempt to remove the damages provisions from California's access law. ]
The current initiative, if passed, would also remove the ability of attorneys to receive payment for their legal fees in access suits.