Pool Access for the Disabled Sparks Controversy

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A week ago, Justice announced that pool owners now have until Jan. 31, 2013, to comply with the rules.

"We got such an overwhelming response indicating the widespread misunderstanding of the law and indicating that the pool lift manufacturers are having trouble meeting the demand, so we wanted to make sure people had enough time," Eve Hill, a senior attorney in the Justice Department's civil rights division, said.

On Thursday, Justice said pool owners who bought a portable lift before the original March 15 deadline two months ago would be considered in compliance as long as the lift is in place whenever the pool is open. And it made clear that portable lifts can be used if they're attached to the pool deck.

The department also hopes to clear up confusion among hotel operators about whether their circumstances qualify them to get by with a somewhat less expensive portable lift or win exemption from the requirement altogether.

Hotel industry lobbyists, meanwhile, succeeded in getting the House to block the Justice Department from implementing the new regulation requiring permanent pool lifts as part of a spending bill for next year. The idea could get a Senate vote next month.

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