News from the Access Board regarding the updated ADA Accessibility Guidelines which were originally published in 2004, revised in 2005, and published for public comment in 2007:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has delayed publication of updated final regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to the presidential transition. DOJ, which had submitted the new regulations to the Office of Management and Budget for review and clearance in early December, withdrew its submission in response to a memorandum from the Obama Administration directing Federal agencies to postpone publication of any new regulations until incoming administration officials have had an opportunity to review them. According to a statement posted on DOJ’s website at www.ada.gov/ADAregswithdraw09.htm, “No final action will be taken by the Department with respect to these rules until the incoming officials have had the opportunity to review the rulemaking record… Withdrawal of the draft final rules does not affect existing ADA regulations.”
DOJ’s rulemaking will update regulations for state and local governments under title II of the ADA and regulations for places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by title III. Last June, DOJ published proposed changes to these regulations for public comment. As part of this update, DOJ intends to adopt new accessibility standards based on guidelines issued by the Board. DOJ also proposed updates to sections of the regulations covering existing facilities, service animals, policies and programs, maintenance of accessible features, auxiliary aids and services, effective communication, and other topics. DOJ has not yet indicated a timeframe for resubmitting the final rules. DOJ’s existing ADA regulations, including the standards they contain or reference, remain in effect.
Updated ADA standards are in effect for transportation facilities subject to regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Similar standards are also in place for most federally funded facilities under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), except housing which remains subject to earlier standards. Further information on the status of ADA and ABA standards is available on the Board’s website at www.access-board.gov/ada-aba/guide.htm.