“I am being discriminated against,” Disabled Oklahoma man upset after being denied inside chamber at capitol

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OKLAHOMA CITY - John High visits the capitol often.

He advocates for the rights of those with disabilities. But. now, he's fighting for his own.

“I am being discriminated against, since I'm in a wheelchair, an electric wheelchair, I'm being discriminated to be able to go there,” High said.

He was going to the House Gallery to watch lawmakers, but staff quickly turned him away at the door.

The floor sergeants told High, because of his motorized chair, he can't watch session from the gallery seats.

“Is that right?” High said.

The wheelchair lifts in the capitol have a capacity limit of nearly 500 pounds. High and his chair exceed the limit.

“I have a right, as a citizen of this state and as a person with a disability, I have the right to participate on an equal level as much as anybody else,” said Jeff Hughes.

Hughes is the executive director of Progressive Independence, a group that fights for full inclusion for people with disabilities and their rights under the American Disabilities Act.

“28 years after the fact, and we're sitting here arguing about a lift,” Hughes said.

Speaker of the House Press Secretary Jason Sutton tells us an oversight committee will look into the cost and present ideas to make the gallery more ADA compliant.

“Certainly, we recognize it as a problem, and we want to make sure that we accommodate those who are handicapped and want access to the chamber and the floor,” Sutton said.

But, High said he's given capitol leaders enough time already.

"This has been addressed now for five years. This is my third time giving them enough time to fix it," High said.

We’re told ADA regulations said those lifts are actually supposed to accommodate up to 750 pounds.

High said he's now considering filing a lawsuit not for the money but for equality.

In the meantime, officials at the capitol have told him he can watch the debates on a television in front of the chamber doors.