DOJ Seeks Comments from the Public on Accessibility of State/Local Websites

How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply to digital accessibility?

Title II of the ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in state and local government services, programs, and activities–including many that relate to employment and workforce development. This includes programs, services, and activities that the public accesses online through the internet.

Do the ADA Title II rules include accessibility standards?

The current Title II regulations include guidance about physical structures. However, they do not include technical standards on how to make the services, programs, and activities offered on state/local government websites accessible–which is precisely the issue the Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to address.

What is DOJ doing to update the Title II regulations?

On May 9, DOJ announced a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPR) entitled Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities.  DOJ is seeking comments to help them shape and further its rulemaking efforts. 

The agency issued its previous notice of proposed rulemaking on web accessibility more than six years ago, and much of the information gathered then is now out of date. The internet, web accessibility, and assistive technologies have all evolved significantly, and are now less expensive and more widely used. State and local governments are increasingly providing online resources and services, and public usage has also increased significantly.

What are some of the key issues?

In addition to comments on technical standards for web accessibility (such as WCAG 2.0 AA), DOJ is seeking information about:

  • benefits to people with specific types of disabilities;
  • input on how to measure the benefits and costs of web accessibility; and
  • appropriate time frames for compliance.  

How can I share my comments?

The public has until October 7, 2016 to send in comments to DOJ (extended from the original deadline of August 8).  Instructions for submitting them are online at www.FederalRegister.gov.  Be sure to identify your comments with “RIN 1190-AA65” or “CRT Docket No. 128.”

Submit a Comment

I’m a serious policy wonk and would like more details. Where can I find out more? 

For those wanting to read a more in-depth summary and analysis of the SANPRM before commenting, PEAT has prepared a policy brief that provides an overview of  DOJ’s questions and the topics they’d like comments on relating to the accessibility of state and local government services, programs, or activities offered to the public through the web:

DOJ Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Governements under Title II of the ADA