So, hey, what's Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) upset about today? Oh, you know, the nanny state and its terrible impositions, same-old, same-old. But more specifically, he's mad about a regulation that requires all public pools, hot tubs and spas to be handicap-accessible and have a permanent lift, which is now going to force South Florida hoteliers to -- um...allow handicapped patrons to access the swimming facilities, I guess? The Sun-Sentinel's William Gibson has the congressman on the record about this:
"This is another example of the bureaucratic nanny-state not considering the economic ramifications of its insidious regulatory policies," said West, a Republican from Plantation. "I have talked with and received letters from several South Florida hotels saying this is a wasteful exercise that will cost Florida businesses a lot of money and accomplish nothing."
I'm pretty sure that the rule won't, in fact, "accomplish nothing." Just off the top of my head, it seems to me that it will allow a lot of handicapped hotel patrons to go swimming. If it succeeds in doing so, then the rule will have accomplished 100 percent of its goals, actually.
The Sun Sentinel also features a quote from the president of a company that operates 46 hotels in Florida, declaring the rule to be "an economic disaster to hotels in Florida." And West returns toward the end to say, "With such a short amount of time given to implement the new regulations, many hotels will be forced to shut down their pools." Ahh, there's the problem: West seems to think that everyone's had but a "short amount of time" to install these lifts and bring their swimming pools into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
But that's not the case. As WJHG-ABC News in Panama City, Fla., reported back in November of 2011:
The Americans with Disabilities Act swimming pool guidelines became the law of the law of the land in April 2011, but many commercial pool owners are still unaware of the law, which requires all commercial pools to be handicapped accessible. Those pool owners will now have to install wheelchair lifts or sloped entries at their own expense.
Edgewater Beach Resort is one of the few along Panama City Beach that is in compliance with the ADA regulation.
“We’ve had the chair for 15 years, we knew the importance about being accessible to the pool water while they’re here to enjoy their stay” said Michelle Lacewell, Edgewater Beach Resort Marketing Director.
One Edgewater Beach Resort Resident, Ed Thomasson, told WJHG that he's "pleased" by the resort's "early compliance," saying, “You have handicap people all the time. If they know they can get in the water, they do. It’s amazing how many people use that chair, it’s a wonderful thing.”
So, let's get it straight. Hotels that have facilities in compliance? Everyone's happy! Hotels that have done nothing to comply with the law after months and months and now have 72 hours before the rule goes into effect? Complaining to Allen West.
Meanwhile, I note that one company that can provide these lifts to area hotels is South Daytona's Aquatic Design Systems. Why does Allen West want to hurt this small business in his own state with his job-killing declarations?
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