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May 16, 2024Advocacy Matters

Final Web Accessibility Rule for State and Local Governments

Final Web Accessibility Rule for State and Local Governments

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

 #AdvocacyMatters

Final Web Accessibility Rule for State and Local Governments

State and local governments provide many key services to constituents through websites and mobile applications. Title II of the American with Disabilities requires State and local governments to ensure their services are accessible to people with disabilities, including services and information through websites and mobile apps. However, the U.S. Department of Justice has never issued a regulation to tell State and local governments what the Department of Justice expects and what the requirements are for web and mobile apps.

To remedy this issue, the U.S. Department of Justice published a proposed rule in 2023. The Department of Justice reviewed comments and published a final rule on April 24, 2024.

As your listeners know, State and local governments provide so many services through websites and mobile apps. The Americans with Disabilities Act says all services must be accessible. Now there are technical standards to support the ADA.

Here is an overview of the requirements.

This rule applies to public entities covered by Title II of the ADA.

The rule applies to web content and mobile apps developed directly by the entity or through contract.

The rule provides technical standards that specifies what is needed to be accessible.

While Title II entities currently have existing obligations, the final rule gives entitles some time, depending on their size. If the jurisdiction has 50,000 people or less, they have 3 years to comply. If the jurisdiction has 50,000 people or more, the entity has until April 24, 2026. The Justice Department provided additional time for small entities based on unique budgetary challenges of small entities.

The final rule carved out an exception. The Justice Department wants entitles to prioritize making the most important content accessible quickly. Less important content has more time.

Even where content is subject to exception, entity still must provide content in an accessible format for users who need it.

These are some examples of exceptions.

  1. Archived web content, physical media before compliance date.
  2. Preexisting documents before compliance date unless the documents are used to apply for program and services.
  3. Content posted by a third party unless the party is posting based on contractual relationship with entity.
  4. Password protected individualized documents. Like a water bill, would fall under that exception.
  5. Social media posts before compliance date.

The Department of Justice still emphasizes that the entity must provide reasonable accommodation. In other words, it provides an equal opportunity to participate, even if content is subject to an exception. For example, utility bills. The entity needs to provide in a format accessible to them.

#AdvocacyMatters

Advocates were key in advocating for a final rule for web accessibility. This is why your advocacy matters. To read more about the final web accessibility rule, visit www.disabilityrightspa.org.  Click on the Advocacy Matters segment for today, located on the middle of our homepage.

Links

Fact Sheet: New Rule on the Accessibility of Web Content and Mobile Apps Provided by State and Local Governments

Fact Sheet: New Rule on the Accessibility of Web Content and Mobile Apps Provided by State and Local Governments | ADA.gov

Final Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Web Accessibility Rule

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities (ada.gov)

U.S. Department of Justice Department Press Release

Office of Public Affairs | Justice Department to Publish Final Rule to Strengthen Web and Mobile App Access for People with Disabilities | United States Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Justice Americans with Disabilities Act Website

The Americans with Disabilities Act | ADA.gov