Florida Senate - 2017 SB 1398 By Senator Stewart 13-01016D-17 20171398__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the accessibility of places of 3 public accommodation; creating s. 553.5141, F.S.; 4 providing definitions; requiring the Department of 5 Business and Professional Regulation to establish a 6 program to provide for the certification of certain 7 experts; authorizing such experts to advise and 8 provide certain inspections for places of public 9 accommodation relating to the Americans with 10 Disabilities Act; requiring the department to 11 establish certification requirements; authorizing an 12 owner of a place of public accommodation to request a 13 facility to be inspected for specified purposes; 14 requiring a certified expert to provide the owner of a 15 place of public accommodation a certification of 16 conformity if the facility conforms to specified 17 provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act; 18 specifying that such certificate is valid for 3 years; 19 specifying that an owner of a place of public 20 accommodation may submit a remediation plan to the 21 department under certain circumstances; providing that 22 a remediation plan is only valid for a certain period 23 of time; requiring a court to consider certain 24 information in specified actions; requiring the 25 department to develop and maintain a website for 26 specified purposes; requiring the department to adopt 27 rules; providing an effective date. 28 29 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 30 31 Section 1. Section 553.5141, Florida Statutes, is created 32 to read: 33 553.5141 Americans with Disabilities Act; certification of 34 experts.— 35 (1) For purposes of this section: 36 (a) “Certified expert” means a person certified by the 37 department under subsection (2). 38 (b) “Commerce” means communication, trade, traffic, 39 transportation, or travel: 40 1. Among the several states; 41 2. Between any foreign country or any territory or 42 possession and any state; or 43 3. Between points in the same state but through another 44 state or foreign country. 45 (c) “Department” means the Department of Business and 46 Professional Regulation. 47 (d) “Facility” means all or any portion of buildings, 48 complexes, equipment, parking lots, passageways, roads, rolling 49 stock or other conveyances, sites, structures, walks, or other 50 real or personal property, including the site where the 51 building, equipment, property, or structure is located. 52 (e) “Place of public accommodation” means a facility 53 operated by a private entity whose operations affect commerce 54 and is a private entity as described in 42 U.S.C. s. 12181(7). 55 (f) “Private entity” means any nongovernmental entity, such 56 as a company or nonprofit organization, corporation, 57 partnership, any other legal entity, or any natural person. 58 (g) “Registry” means the registry of certified experts and 59 of remediation plans filed by places of public accommodation and 60 maintained by the department. 61 (2)(a) The department shall establish a program to provide 62 certification for experts who have sufficient experience, 63 knowledge, or training to advise places of public accommodation 64 regarding the compliance guidelines applicable to places of 65 public accommodation under subchapter III of the Americans with 66 Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 12182. The certified experts may 67 provide inspections of places of public accommodation to 68 determine if barriers to access are present in the facility 69 within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. s. 12182 and the applicable 70 regulations interpreting that chapter. 71 (b) The department shall establish requirements for experts 72 to qualify for certification under this section. 73 (3)(a) An owner of a place of public accommodation may 74 request that a facility be inspected by a certified expert. 75 However, use of an expert certified under this section is not 76 required. 77 (b) If a place of public accommodation conforms to 78 subchapter III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 79 certified expert must provide the owner with a certification of 80 conformity which is valid for 3 years after the date of 81 issuance. 82 (c) If a place of public accommodation does not conform to 83 subchapter III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the owner 84 may submit a remediation plan to the department which includes: 85 1. The date the place of public accommodation was 86 inspected. 87 2. The name of the certified expert or other person who 88 inspected the place of public accommodation. 89 3. Identification of specific remedial measures that the 90 place of public accommodation will undertake. 91 4. The anticipated dates of initiation and completion for 92 each remedial measure that the place of public accommodation has 93 agreed to undertake. 94 (d) A remediation plan submitted under paragraph (c) is 95 only valid for 10 years after its submission to the department. 96 (e) In any action brought in this state alleging a 97 violation of subchapter III of the Americans with Disabilities 98 Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 12182, the courts shall consider any 99 remediation plan filed by the place of public accommodation 100 before the filing of the plaintiff’s complaint in determining if 101 the plaintiff’s complaint was filed in good faith and if the 102 plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees and costs. 103 (4) The department shall develop and maintain on its 104 website, accessible to the public, an electronic registry of 105 certifications of conformity and remediation plans. 106 (5) The department shall adopt rules to administer this 107 section. 108 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.