DeMint: DOJ handicap pool regulation a ‘big government overreach’

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
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South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has introduced a bill to prevent a new Justice Department public pool regulation from taking effect on March 15. The rule would require that public-access pools be accessible to people with disabilities, either by a pool lift, sloped entry or a specialized type of stairs.

Pools that failed to comply with the regulation would face a fine of at least $100,000.

“This is another big government overreach that will force hundreds of thousands of pools to install expensive lift devices by tomorrow or face fines of over $100,000,” DeMint told The Daily Caller in a statement Wednesday.

“This could have a real negative impact on Americans, as it will likely spark a new round of unnecessary litigation and force pools to choose between closing or raising fees on families,” he said. “Hotels and other pools with public access don’t need a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate, they should have the flexibility to work directly with people with disabilities to accommodate their specific needs.”

According to the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder signed final revisions to the regulation on July 23, 2010.

Compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design was “permitted as of September 15, 2010, but not required until March 15, 2012.”

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act’s official website, these standards require “at least two accessible means of entry” provided for swimming pools. The standards say, “accessible means of entry shall be swimming pool lifts” that comply with rule 1009.2; “sloped entries complying with 1009.3; transfer walls complying with 1009.4; transfer systems complying with 1009.5; and pool stairs complying with 1009.6. At least one accessible means of entry provided shall comply with 1009.2 or 1009.3.”

An example of a pool lift is below.

DeMint’s bill, co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Lindsey Graham or South Carolina would “amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to prohibit the Attorney General from administering or enforcing certain accessibility regulations relating to pools at public accommodations or provided by public entities.”

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