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DOJ/CRT RIN: 1190-AA65 Publication ID: 2012 
Title: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Governments 
Abstract: The Department published an ANPRM on July 26, 2010, RIN 1190-AA61, that addressed issues relating to proposed revisions of both the title II and title III ADA regulations in order to provide guidance on the obligations of covered entities to make programs, services and activities offered over the Web accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Department has now divided the rulemakings in the next step of the rulemaking process so as to proceed with separate notices of proposed rulemakings for title II and title III. The title III rulemaking on Web accessibility will continue under RIN 1190-AA61 and the title II rulemaking will continue under the new RIN 1190-AA65. This rulemaking will provide specific guidance to State and local governments in order to make services, programs, or activities offered to the public via the Web accessible to individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires that State and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. 42. U.S.C. 12132. The Internet as it is known today did not exist when Congress enacted the ADA; yet today the Internet is dramatically changing the way that governmental entities serve the public. Taking advantage of new technology, citizens can now use State and local government websites to correspond online with local officials; obtain information about government services; renew library books or driver's licenses; pay fines; register to vote; obtain tax information and file tax returns; apply for jobs or benefits; and complete numerous other civic tasks. These government websites are important because they allow programs and services to be offered in a more dynamic, interactive way in order to increase citizen participation; increase convenience and speed in obtaining information or services; reduce costs in providing information about government services and administering programs; reduce the amount of paperwork; and expand the possibilities of reaching new sectors of the community or offering new programs or services. Many States and localities have begun to improve the accessibility of portions of their websites. However, full compliance with the ADA's promise to provide an equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities to participate in and benefit from all aspects of the programs, services, and activities provided by State and local governments in today's technologically advanced society will only occur if it is clear to public entities that their websites must be accessible. Consequently, the Department intends to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its title II regulations to expressly address the obligations of public entities to make the websites they use to provide programs, activities, or services or information to the public accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities under the legal framework established by the ADA. The proposed regulation will propose the scope of the obligation to provide accessibility when persons with disabilities access public websites, as well as propose the technical standards necessary to comply with the ADA. 
Agency: Department of Justice(DOJ)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 28 CFR 35 
Legal Authority: 42 USC 12101, et seq 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Many people with disabilities use "assistive technology" to enable them to use computers and access the Internet. Individuals who are blind or have low vision who cannot see computer monitors may use screen readers--devices that speak the text that would normally appear on a monitor. People who have difficulty using a computer mouse can use voice recognition software to control their computers with verbal commands. People with other types of disabilities may use still other kinds of assistive technology. New and innovative assistive technologies are being introduced every day. Websites that do not accommodate assistive technology, for example, can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as buildings not designed to accommodate people with disabilities prevent some individuals from entering and accessing services. Web designers may not realize how simple features built into a website will assist someone who, for instance, cannot see a computer monitor or use a mouse. In addition, in many cases, these websites do not provide captioning for videos or live events streamed over the web, leaving persons who are deaf or hard of hearing unable to access the information that is being provided. Although an increasing number of State and local governments are making efforts to provide accessible websites, because there are no specific ADA standards for website accessibility, these websites vary in actual usability.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The ADA requires that State and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. 42. U.S.C. 12132.

Alternatives: The Department intends to consider various alternatives for ensuring full access to websites of State and local governments and will solicit public comment addressing these alternatives.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The Department anticipates that this rule will be "economically significant," that is, that the rule will have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million, or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, the environment, public health or safety or State, local or tribal governments or communities. However, the Department believes that revising its title II rule to clarify the obligations of State and local governments to provide accessible websites will significantly increase the opportunities for citizens with disabilities to participate in, and benefit from, State and local government programs, activities, and services. It will also ensure that individuals have access to important information that is provided over the Internet, including emergency information. The Department also believes that providing accessible websites will benefit State and local governments as it will increase the numbers of citizens who can use these websites, and thus improve the efficiency of delivery of services to the public. In drafting this NPRM, the Department will attempt to minimize the compliance costs to State and local governments while ensuring the benefits of compliance to persons with disabilities.

Risks: If the Department does not revise its ADA title II regulations to address website accessibility, persons with disabilities in many communities will continue to be unable to access their State and local governmental services in the same manner available to citizens without disabilities, and in some cases will not be able to access those services at all.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  07/26/2010  75 FR 43460 
ANPRM Comment Period End  01/21/2011   
NPRM  07/00/2013   
Additional Information: Split from RIN 1190-AA61.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Local, State 
Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Gregory B. Friel
Acting Chief
Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section, 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW,
Washington, DC 20031
Phone:800 514-0301
Fax:202 307-1198

 
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