Office of Compliance Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION: 202-724 9250
OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE ISSUES DISABILITY REPORT ON CAPITOL HILL BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
Washington, DC – The Capitol complex is more accessible to visitors and staff members with disabilities, according to a new report by the Congressional Office of Compliance (OOC).
The OOC – an independent, non-partisan office that enforces federal public access laws in the legislative branch – reports that significant improvements have been made to the Hill’s sidewalks, curb ramps, and entrances to better comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as applied to Congress.
The Office of Compliance, operating as the Justice Department for ADA public access enforcement, is mandated by law to inspect and report on the Capitol grounds’ exterior and building entrances. The “113th Congress Biennial Report on Americans with Disabilities Act Inspections Relating to Public Services and Accommodations” covers a two year inspection period but notes improvements made over the past six years. Many of the exterior barriers, such as noncompliant curb cuts, have been removed by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), working cooperatively with the OOC and other legislative branch offices, including the Library of Congress and Senate and House administration.
“In 2009, we reexamined our office’s ADA program to focus our limited ADA inspection resources in a way that would most benefit the users of the facilities on Capitol Hill,” said OOC General Counsel John D. Uelmen. “At the time, many people told us that even getting from the street to an office on Capitol Hill was very difficult. I am pleased to be reporting good news. We have seen a commitment by AOC and Congress to remove those barriers to access around the Hill’s exterior campus. And we hope the positive results will continue.”
The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) established the OOC and tasked its Board of Directors with adopting ADA regulations to cover Capitol Hill and district offices that mirror those currently applied to public entities including executive branch agencies. The OOC awaits congressional approval of its ADA regulations adopted in February 2016. As part of its education and training mandate, the OOC currently distributes its ADA Office Checklist to employing offices.
The OOC serves 30,000 employees of the Legislative Branch and countless visitors to Capitol Hill and the districts. For more information contact OOC Deputy Executive Director Paula Sumberg or visit www.ocwr.gov and follow the office on Twitter @LegBranch_OOC.
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