State & Local Governements
Do I need to register my service animal in Illinois? What are my rights?
No. You do not need to register your seizure alert dog with in Illinois. There are a handful of laws that protect you as an individual who has a service animal.
Under the ADA, there is no certification/registration requirement for your service animal. To be protected by the law, your dog must meet the ADA’s definition of service animal, which is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks directly related to your disability. The DOJ has a FAQ document about service animals and the ADA that is very helpful.
Illinois also has two state laws called the White Cane Law and the Service Animal Access Act, neither of which require you to provide identification or certification that your dog is a service animal. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has a brochure about services animals, the ADA and state law that is helpful.”
Does the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to state and local governments?
Yes. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified people with disabilities in all public programs, activities and services.
How does Title II affect participation in a state or local government’s programs, activities and services?
A state or local government must eliminate all requirements for participation in programs, activities and services that screen out or tend to screen out people with disabilities, unless it can show that the requirements are necessary.
Does Title II require a state or local government to modify its programs?
Yes. A public entity must reasonably modify its policies, practices or procedures to avoid discrimination, unless a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, program or activity.
What changes must a public entity make to its buildings to make them accessible?
A public entity must ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs and activities because buildings are inaccessible. This standard is known as “program accessibility.” Public entities do not necessarily have to make all buildings accessible. They may:
- Alter buildings
- Buy or construct other buildings
- Move a service or program to an accessible space
How will the ADA’s requirements for state and local governments be enforced?
People may sue to enforce their rights under Title II within two years of an infraction in Illinois. People may also file complaints with eight designated federal agencies, including the departments of Justice and Transportation. However, if a person files with a federal agency, the time to file in court is still two years from the date of the alleged discrimination. The deadline for filing in court does not change just because a complaint was filed with a federal agency.
Are state and local governments required to keep public sidewalks clear of snow and other debris?
Title II is the section of the ADA that covers State and local government entities, which are responsible for public/municipal curb cuts.
The Title II regulations require that accessible features be “maintained.”
- 28 C.F.R. § 35.133 Maintenance of accessible features:
- (a) A public entity shall maintain in operable working condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities by the Act or this part.
- (b) This section does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs.
The Title II Technical Assistance Manual provides additional clarification:
- II-3.10000 Maintenance of accessible features.
- Public entities must maintain in working order equipment and features of facilities that are required to provide ready access to individuals with disabilities. Isolated or temporary interruptions in access due to maintenance and repair of accessible features are not prohibited.
- Where a public entity must provide an accessible route, the route must remain accessible and not blocked by obstacles such as furniture, filing cabinets, or potted plants. An isolated instance of placement of an object on an accessible route, however, would not be a violation, if the object is promptly removed. Similarly, accessible doors must be unlocked when the public entity is open for business.
- Mechanical failures in equipment such as elevators or automatic doors will occur from time to time. The obligation to ensure that facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities would be violated, if repairs are not made promptly or if improper or inadequate maintenance causes repeated and persistent failures.
Last updated: March 2, 2021