top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Resident commissioner files small business legislation to benefit PR residents with disabilities

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón

By The Star Staff

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón said Monday that she has filed federal legislation for small businesses in Puerto Rico to have access to resources to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which could benefit some 1.14 million adults on the island.

“We all know the accessibility problem that people with disabilities suffer in Puerto Rico. We have a lot of old construction with uncomfortable access for people in wheelchairs, parking without ramps to access shops, etc.,” González Colón said at a press conference. “In addition, we know the problems of the deaf community in being able to communicate properly and independently, if they don’t have a family member with them. To address this situation and improve the quality of independent life of people with disabilities in Puerto Rico, we presented the bill H.R. 4026 so that taxpayers in the territories can access these aids.”

The resident commissioner filed the measure in the U.S. House of Representatives after discussing alternatives for enforcing the stipulations of the ADA with Dignity Project Rep. Lisie Burgos Muñíz.

“Our commitment is to serve all communities, including the deaf community that has been disadvantaged during this time, but now thanks to these bills if they become law, a community that has been invisible will be empowered,” Burgos Muñíz said.

The ADA, a federal civil rights law signed in 1990 by then-President George H.W. Bush, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life. It requires modifications to infrastructure to be made to allow accessibility for people with disabilities and for businesses and nonprofits to ensure that they communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities.

Although the ADA applies in Puerto Rico, credits and deductions do not apply since federal income taxes are not collected on the island.

The resident commissioner said doctors have expressed difficulties interviewing deaf patients who don’t feel entirely comfortable talking frankly with their parent or child in the office. By the same token, attorneys who serve people with communication disabilities often depend on a family member of a defendant in an interview that is supposed to be confidential. The doctors and lawyers note that the costs of hiring the services to have the degree of effective communication they would like are too much for the limited income they derive from their services.

42 views0 comments


bottom of page