Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed state legislation aimed at improving building accessibility for people with disabilities.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan backed the measure, which was introduced by state Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and state Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago).
"Our commitment to equality for all must extend to making sure people who have disabilities have equal access to facilities within their communities," Madigan said in a statement Tuesday. "People who have disabilities lead active lives, and our laws should enhance their ability to do so."
The legislation, SB 2956, updates the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act (EBA), which "authorizes the Attorney General's Office to enforce accessibility standards for public buildings and multi-story housing units in Illinois," according to Madigan's office.
Specifically, the measure makes the following changes to the EBA:
- Updating the terms and definitions used in the EBA to conform with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and corresponding updates to the Illinois Accessibility Code;
- Replacing an outdated standard for building alterations with an easier-to-use standard that mirrors the ADA;
- Clarifying which version of the EBA and the Illinois Accessibility Code applies to new construction and alterations of existing buildings; and
- Updating the enforcement provisions to reflect the current emphasis on working with businesses to resolve issues and alleviate future barriers for individuals with disabilities.
"I was proud to sponsor this measure because no one living in or visiting Illinois should be prevented from enjoying everything our communities have to offer, simply because they are unable to access businesses, schools, or housing," Holmes added. "This is an important new law, and I thank Attorney General Madigan for bringing this measure forward."
The legislation takes effect January 1, 2017.