Over-regulated: Feds demand public pools have ramps and wheelchair lifts

Why, just tell me why, the federal government feels the need to inject themselves into this issue? Can’t the public pool management just have a simple conversation with the people or families who need access to the pool and work it out?

As far as the Obama administration is concerned, the answer to my question is “hell no.” They think this is such a huge problem that they must step in and mandate retroactive change because people who need access are too shy to ask, or pool management is not listening.

I swim at a public pool twice a week. The pool has removable stairs. There is one lifeguard on duty and no-one else. Occasionally, the stairs are not in place and someone needs the stairs. It takes two people to install the stairs. When the stairs are needed, guess what happens? A couple of us intall the stairs without the federal government even knowing about it!

When I worked at a movie theater in the 80s and someone with a wheelchair came in, we simply walked them around to the side door and let them since there were stairs in the lobby. Nobody called the Department of Justice. Pool-mageddon from the Washington Times

The Justice Department on Thursday issued a 60-day stay of executive for hundreds of thousands of public pools which had been required to install ramps and wheelchair lifts by today or else face lawsuits over violating disability laws.

President Obama in 2010 dramatically expanded the rules for access under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the new regulations mean that every publicly accessible pool — from municipal facilities to hotels — must have two “accessible means of entry,” at least one of which must be a ramp or wheelchair lift. Spas must also have either a lift or a transfer system to help the disabled enter them, under the new rules.

Under the law, non-compliant facilities can be sued — and some lawmakers feared a bonanza for lawyers eager to capitalize.

The impending situation was labeled “pool-mageddon” by opponents, who said there aren’t even enough lifts available in the U.S. to make every pool accessible.

Remember, these mandates are retroactive, so – for example – pools that were built at hotels 25 years ago must adapt. I’ve asked this question multiple times … is there anything the federal government is restricted from doing anymore? The United States Constitution was all about limiting the power and scope of the federal government. They are involved with everything right down to what kids can eat for lunch at school, and this is our disease from which almost all symptoms are derived.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. socialenemy on March 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

    is there anything the federal government is restricted from doing anymore?

    Simple answer? No, there isn’t. Not as long as the masses sit back and let them get away with this kind of garbage. I’ll never understand how a majority of this country was lulled into thinking “better minds will handle it for me.” My brother is a die hard liberal (Though I don’t know why since he willingly works for our father who runs a very successful body shop and lives on a self built and paid for farm but I’m splitting hairs) and has admitted he has never and probably will never vote one way or the other.?WTF? It’s that attitude that allows government to overrun our lives, we’ve been made to believe they know better.

  2. Plainvillian on March 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Pool regulations are covered by the 32nd and 49th amendments to the constitution recently ratified by all 58 states.

  3. ricbee on March 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    When I go for a walk I look at all those ramps,every corner at the very least that are seldom used & often within a few feet of a driveway. We could drive “Crips” in Mercedes everywhere they’d like too go cheaper. We could put a lifeguard under each arm for the few who use a pool.

    • Open4FreeDebate on March 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

      I observe people using the ramps everyday in my town. I do not have a problem with?ADA?code requirements they make all of our lives easier.??

  4. winnie on March 17, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Okay…I’m going to take an slightly opposing viewpoint here without losing sight of the real meaning behind this post which is fed gov overreach.
    The next town over has a community center with a lovely olympic-sized pool as well as a therapy pool.? 4 years ago they had? removable stairs as well as a Hoyer pool lift.? I do not know if they receive funding from the state or federal government for their facility.? But I will tell? you that for every day that I went swimming there, I saw that Hoyer lift in use by a disabled person and it was operated by someone who knew how to use it (so @ ricbee:? I don’t think you can compare “mercedes for “crips”” to Hoyer lifts for disabled residents who would like to include aqua therapy in their rehabilitation).
    Now, as for public facilities that receive funding from state and fed government, I don’t see how bringing these outdated facilities up to ADA requirements can possibly hurt.? Most of these places charge an arm and a leg for membership and if I’m not mistaken, most adaptive equipment does not have to be purchased, but can be leased.? I’m thinking it really isn’t a huge financial burden and it opens up opportunities for those in our communities who may not…

    • winnie on March 17, 2012 at 4:38 am

      …otherwise be able to utilize that which non-disabled people can.
      But then again, I have a different viewpoint because I’m going into the rehab business…and any activity that gets someone moving their muscles and joints the way they should be moved is fabulous and should be utilized.

  5. Dimsdale on March 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Legislation with retroactive components have gutted the Constitutional ex post facto protections.


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