One of the biggest issues lodging properties are having to deal with this year is the new American with Disabilities Act pool lift requirement. The DOJ had issued rules that directed those operating public pools, spas or wading pools to install lifts by March 15, 2012. On January 31, 2012 the DOJ re-defined what lifts are acceptable and said that they had to be permanently installed lifts, not portable ones. NHLRA has been working closely with the American Hotel & Lodging Association on several fronts to fight this interpretation. Senator Shaheen's office contacted NHLRA in early February to find out what they could do to help our industry. She had been hearing from a lot of our members about their concerns with complying with this requirement. After a number of meetings with her office, and contact from Congressman Frank Guinta's office, the staff of Shaheen, Guinta, Ayotte and Bass coordinated a letter to DOJ urging them to delay the March 15 implementation date to give our industry a chance to respond with our concerns in complying with the permanent lift requirement. DOJ followed up by delaying implementation for 60 days and accepted comments on the proposed rule until April 4.
AHLA also met with the White House in late March to discuss our industry's concerns.
Meanwhile, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 4256) titled, ''Pool Safety and Accessibility for Everyone (Pool SAFE) Act.'' Pool SAFE would provide a one year delay for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) pool lift requirement, allow the use of portable lifts, allow sharing of lifts between pools, and protect hoteliers from being sued during the delay period. The bill has 46 co-sponsors. No action has been taken on the bill yet.
In other legislative action back here in New Hampshire the legislature once again turned back a proposal to allow up to 4 casinos in the state. This year was the best chance casino proponents have had to try and get the proposal passed. They had the support of the House Majority Leader, D.J. Bettencourt. The still lost on a vote of 154-195. With Massachusetts moving forward with casinos, it will be interesting to see if the Las Vegas based company Millenium Gaming will try one more time in the legislature next year or give up on New Hampshire and move on.