United Spinal Association’s Arizona chapter gathered for an inaugural ‘Roll on Arizona’s Capitol’ on January 22, 2018 to advocate for progressive legislation that would bring down barriers and benefit wheelchair users and all people living with disabilities.

‘Roll on Arizona’s Capitol’ (ROAC) is Accessible Arizona’s first state legislative day bringing people with disabilities together to raise their concerns and priorities with their state legislators. “Far too long people with disabilities have been underrepresented in Arizona’s legislature,” said Gina Schuh, president of Accessible Arizona, United Spinal’s Arizona chapter.

United Spinal member advocates, many of whom use wheelchairs, encouraged Arizona legislators to pass a bill that requires a minimum of wheelchair accessible bathrooms in apartment buildings.

“Barrier-free bathrooms benefit a large community in Arizona, not only do wheelchair users benefit, but also the elderly and many other people with mobility impairments,” said Schuh.

Currently, there is no requirement to offer barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms in multi-family housing units. Many individuals with disabilities must pay out of pocket for modifications that fit their needs and must restore bathrooms to their original state once they leave, leading to thousands of dollars in construction expenses.

Attendees also advocated for already established government agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to inspect public buildings for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, and ensure parking, entrances and bathrooms meet accessibility standards.

“We want to ensure that the accessibility issues that affect the health and safety of people with disabilities, including entering and exiting buildings quickly and having access to bathroom facilities, are addressed,” added Schuh.

ROAC is a state version of United Spinal’s national policy event, Roll on Capitol Hill, which highlights advocacy priorities for its membership and the broader disability community to ensure people with disabilities are included in policy debates impacting their health, independence, and quality of life.

For more information, visit https://accessibleaz.org/roac.