Action Alert: March 14, 2023


March 14, 2023 | by Amber Smock

Illinois Civil Rights Action Alert – Help Pass HB 2448

Access Living friends and allies,

If you live in Illinois, we need your help today! HB 2248 is a critical Illinois civil rights bill that would restore the right to sue for compensation under Section 504 (disability), Title IX (sex), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (age), and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (race).

The deadline to pass the bill through the Illinois House is March 24.


HB 2248: The Civil Rights Remedies Restoration Act

Restoring the Disability and Title IX Rights Eliminated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Cummings Decision

The Problem:

Last year, in the case of Cummings v. Keller Premier Rehab P.L.L.C., 142 S. Ct. 1562 (2022), the U.S. Supreme Court made rights which people with disabilities have had for almost 50 years under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 largely unenforceable. Cummings eliminated the most common type of damages for civil rights violations which, although minimal in amount, allow enforcement of the law.

Although not the subject of the Cummings decision, the decision also limits:

— Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination;

— Age discrimination in the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; and

— Race Discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

How Does Cummings Affect You Now?

As a result of Cummings, a medical provider can for example refuse to provide sign language interpretation to a Deaf patient even when evaluating life-threatening conditions. Another example is that a medical provider could fail to make their office accessible to patients who use wheelchairs or scooters without consequence.

Is There Federal Advocacy to Restore This Right?

Advocates are pushing a similar legislative fix at the federal level, but there is limited chance of that effort’s success in this national political climate. This suggests the need for state-level leadership.

What Does HB 2248 Do?

HB 2248 clarifies that these civil rights statutes are enforceable in Illinois by spelling out that anyone injured by a violation of these statutes is entitled to compensation for their injury. HB 2248 restores the right of disabled people to bring claims for discrimination by federally funded entities, survivors to receive compensation for sexual harassment in an educational setting if administration is complicit with the harassment or for racial discrimination by any business that opens its doors to the public.

What we’re trying to do:

We are trying to get HB 2248 passed by March 24, 2023! Help us take action by contacting your state representative at this easy email action link and please share with fellow Illinois disability community members.