Attorneys filing ‘drive-by’ actions catch attention of the HouseBy Chris Steller
People planning a lawsuit alleging an architectural barrier violates the rights of people with disabilities would first have to file a notice giving the business or place of public accommodation at least 60 days to remove the barrier.
That provision of a conference committee report on HF1542*/SF1407, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Smith (R-Maple Grove) and Sen. Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud), would apply to people who hire or are lawyers.
The House passed the report 112-22 Thursday; the Senate 55-7. It now goes to the governor.
Smith said the agreement “increases access for people who are disabled and decreases losses [from lawsuits] that are frivolous.”
Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) highlighted two areas where he said changes made the bill “much better.”
He said a provision that would allow businesses a delay if weather impedes them from addressing a barrier is now “very specific about what is going to happen.”
Another provision Fischer praised concerns people representing themselves, so-called “pro se” litigants. The bill would not require them to file a notice unless they hire an attorney within 60 days of filing suit.
When approved by conferees Wednesday, Scott Beutel, Department of Human Rights public policy director, called the agreement “a good compromise.”
Two others who use wheelchairs said they saw problems.
The 60-day notice period concerned Kim Pettman of Sauk Rapids, who said businesses often don’t respond to her complaints.
Dr. David Ketroser, a neurologist, attorney and bioethics graduate student, said architectural-barrier lawsuits he files are necessary in the face of “widespread disinterest.” Because he is the only attorney representing himself who pursues architectural-barrier cases in Minnesota, Ketroser said the bill’s notice requirement about such attorneys “might as well have my name on it.”
Search Session Daily
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
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$45 billion plan is about a 10 percent increase over current biennium
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It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.