By Minh N. Vu
Title II Changes Come First: The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a new July 2013 date for issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its Title II ADA regulations that would address the obligations of state/local governments to make their websites accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The DOJ stated that the NPRM 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.”
Then Title III: The DOJ also stated that it will issue a separate proposed regulation in December 2013 to address the obligation of public accommodations (entities that do business with the public) to provide accessible websites and the technical standards that they must follow.
Why the Difference? It is not clear why the DOJ decided to conduct separate rulemakings for state/local governments and public accommodations, especially since there is no apparent reason why DOJ would adopt different technical standards for the websites of state/local governments versus public accommodations. In light of that, the technical standards adopted for the former should provide a preview of the technical standards that will be adopted for public accommodations. As we stated in our earlier blog posts, the standard will most likely be some form of the Worldwide Web Consortium’s (WC3) Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0.