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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Justice Department Signs Agreements with Chaves County, New Mexico, to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

The Justice Department announced today an agreement with Chaves County, New Mexico, to improve access to civic life for persons with disabilities.  The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This agreement is the fifth so far this year, as the department recognizes the 25th anniversary of the ADA, which the Civil Rights Division plays a critical role in enforcing.

As part of PCA, Justice Department staff survey state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country to identify changes needed to comply with the ADA.  The agreements detail the remedial actions a city or county must take to improve access.  The department has a PCA agreement in every state, and this is the first agreement in southern New Mexico. 

Under the agreement, the county will remove barriers to accessibility at county facilities, including the county courthouse, administration building, health centers, medical complexes, detention center and juvenile detention center.  The county will make physical modifications to those facilities so that parking, routes into buildings, entrances, service areas and counters, restrooms, elevators and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities.  The county will also survey other facilities and programs and make modifications wherever necessary to achieve full compliance with ADA requirements.  In addition to physical accessibility, the county will administer a grievance procedure for resolving ADA complaints, provide effective communication for county programs and services including law enforcement, provide improved access to polling places and the voting process and ensure that the county’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to people with disabilities. 

“Providing access to local government programs, services, and activities is critical to ensure equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “I commend county officials for their cooperation in working with us and for making this commitment to provide equal access to their residents and visitors with disabilities.”  

Today’s agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments.  The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement, which will remain in effect for three years.

For more information about the ADA, today’s agreement, and the PCA initiative, individuals can access the ADA web page at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

Updated August 4, 2015