DOJ proposes rule on digital accessibility for state, local governments

The Justice Department last week issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the regulation implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to establish specific requirements for making state and local governments’ web content and mobile applications accessible. While the regulations would apply only to state and local governments subject to Title II, regulations applicable to private businesses subject to Title III, such as banks, may follow in similar form and substance.

If finalized, the proposal will generally require state and local governments’ web content and mobile apps to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level AA. The proposal includes some exceptions, such as for archived web content, preexisting conventional electronic documents and certain third-party content. It would also allow a public entity to show that its use of other design, methods or techniques as alternatives to WCAG 2.1 Level AA provides substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability. Additionally, the ADA’s general exception that entities are not required to make changes that would be a fundamental alteration or cause undue financial burdens would apply to the proposal.