The House voted Thursday to pass a CUNA-backed bill that addresses threats of litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) was introduced by Reps. Ted Poe. (R-Texas), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mike Conaway (R-Texas).
Credit unions have been facing increasing legal threats due to confusion over how the ADA applies to website accessibility, and though the bill does not directly address threats facing credit unions, CUNA believes it is a step toward clarification.
“This bill is an important step forward in addressing other litigation threats. It will ensure those protected by the ADA will continue to be protected, but will take the right steps to curb predatory litigation that harms all consumers,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “CUNA is increasing our engagement with both legislators and the Department of Justice to see a solution that would protect credit unions and the members they serve from increasing threats of predatory litigation.”
During the debate, Poe and Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Georgia) engaged in a colloquy on credit unions' need for certainty on how the ADA applies to websites.
"Because of this ambiguity, these small businesses are in a bind," Woodall said. "They are being sued as if they are violating the law, but they have no framework for figuring out how to comply with the law or even if their websites are subject to the law."
Woodall, who pledged Wednesday to work with credit unions to find a solution, asked Poe to continue working with him and others to encourage the House Judiciary Committee to take a serious look at the issue.
"This is something that the committee will continue to work with the Justice Department and stakeholders," Poe said.
During the colloquy, Poe also referred to the letter signed by 61 members of Congress urging the Department of Justice to work on a solution.
CUNA has a number of compliance resources available for credit unions facing ADA website accessibility uncertainty.