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.
   29  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   31         Section 1. Section 553.5141, Florida Statutes, is created
   32  to read:
   33         553.5141Americans 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.