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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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This week's news from the House

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Conference committees continue working to put omnibus finance bills in shape for re-passage. Although progress is being made, it is highly disappointing for the governor to be absent from the process so far.

His involvement would be helpful in making sure we are all on the same page with the omnibus finance bills that ultimately will end up on his desk to sign. Common sense says his engagement now would make for a smoother finish later but, unfortunately, he has chosen to make things more difficult.

The Legislature is approximately three weeks ahead of the usual schedule with its budget bills. This was done intentionally to avoid some of last-minute crunch as the session’s deadline to adjourn arrives. Let’s hope the governor’s lack of involvement doesn’t cost us precious time and derail the Legislature’s good-faith efforts that helped get us to this point.

As for work on the House floor this week, one bill we approved adds stronger language regarding the American Disabilities Act, requiring notices be sent to a business before a civil action can be filed for alleged violation of ADA law.

This is an issue that has arisen in our region, where businesses have essentially been the subjects of extortion by unscrupulous lawyers walking around with a tape measure looking for a payday. Initial progress was made last year, but more things needed to be tightened up to protect our local businesses from being targets of frivolous ADA lawsuits.

By requiring notice to be provided in a timely manner before a civil action can be filed claiming ADA law has been violated, businesses will be able to examine the claim, determine whether it is valid and, if necessary, use their money to fix the problem instead of lining the pockets of lawyers. The bill received strong bipartisan support in the House and I hope it is enacted soon so we can protect our Main Street businesses from these shady practices.

Stay tuned as things develop at the Capitol, especially regarding the budget bills we are working on to set the next two-year state budget. As a member of the conference committee related to the environment and public safety, I am working closely with that section of the budget and will let you know how things unfold.