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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: April 28, 2023 11:41 AM
From: Senator Christine M. Tartaglione and Sen. Devlin J. Robinson, Sen. John I. Kane
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolving Pennsylvania's Accessibility Code Dilemma
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to give the Accessibility Advisory Board (AAB) the authority to review and make recommendations for adoption of future accessibility codes.
In October 2022, the Commonwealth Court ruled that the automatic promulgation of regulations to adopt the most recently published accessibility codes by the International Code Council was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority. As a result, the Department of Labor and Industry no longer possesses the authority to enforce the most recent accessibility code standards from 2021 and must instead revert to enforcing the adopted 2018 standards. This ruling also means there is no mechanism in the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act for the review and adoption of the 2021 accessibility codes or any updates to the accessibility code, thereafter, meaning without legislative action the 2018 accessibility standards will persist in perpetuity.
This legislation will provide a framework for the AAB to review the 2021 accessibility code and future editions of the accessibility code to include a public comment period and at least one public hearing. The process will be modeled off the process used by the Review and Advisory Council for reviewing and adopting other building codes. Accessibility code changes will be evaluated based on the impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the public, particularly individuals with disabilities, the economic and financial impact, including on the end consumer, and the technical feasibility of meeting the requirement.
The AAB was chosen to conduct this review due to its expertise in understanding accessibility issues faced by individuals with disabilities. Three members of the 11 member AAB are required to be individuals with physical disabilities.
We must strive to make Pennsylvania a safe and welcoming place for all citizens. Without action, accessibility standards will continue to decline, creating unnecessary challenges and problems for individuals with disabilities.
Please join us in sponsoring this critical legislation to ensure a fair and comprehensive process for future accessibility code adoption.