Open laptop with hands pointing to the screen.
Open laptop with hands pointing to the screen.

Seyfarth Synopsis: Department of Justice (DOJ) issues proposed website accessibility regulations applicable to state and local governments under Title II of the ADA.

Almost precisely a year after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intent to begin the rulemaking process to enact website accessibility regulations applicable to state and local governments under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the DOJ has published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to the Federal Register for publication today, August 4, 2023.

We will follow up with another post with more substantive analysis, but here are some key points from the NPRM:

  • Entities Covered.  The proposed regulation would apply to public entities as defined by Title II of the ADA, which means state and local governments, as well as any department, agency, special purpose entity, or other instrumentality of a state, or state or local government.
  • Digital Properties Covered.  The content of websites and mobile apps, and specifically the information and sensory experiences (such as text, images, sounds, controls, and animations) that websites and mobile apps convey, as well as conventional electronic documents posted there, such as PDFs, Word documents, and Excel files.  Such web content that a public entity makes available to the public, or uses to offer its services, programs, or activities to the public, would be covered. 
  • Accessibility Requirements.  Covered websites and mobile apps will need to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Version 2.1, Levels A and AA.
  • Timeframe For Compliance.  Within two years of the publication of the final rule, public entities with a population of 50,000 or more (as per the U.S. Census) would need to comply.  Public entities with a population of less than 50,000, as well as special district governments (public entities that perform designated functions) would have up to three years to comply.
  • Exceptions.  Critically, there are a number of exceptions, both with general application, and directed at specific types of public entities.  We summarize the key exceptions to the WCAG 2.1 AA conformance requirement as follows:
    1. Fundamental Alteration/Undue Burden.  The requirements do not apply to any actions that would result in a fundamental alteration of a service, program, or activity of a public entity, or impose an undue financial and administrative burden.  That determination would need to be made by the head of the public entity or his or her designee, and set forth in writing;   
    2. Archived Web Content.  Content maintained exclusively for reference, research or recordkeeping (among other factors), as well as pre-existing conventional electronic documents (Word documents, Excel files, etc.) would not be covered, except for electronic documents that are used by the public to gain access to government programs, services or activities;
    3. Third Party Content.  Content posted by a third party that is available on a covered website or mobile app;
    4. Linked Third Party Content.  Web content by third parties that is linked to a covered website or mobile app also would not be covered, unless used by the public entity to allow the public to access its services, programs or activities; and
    5. Certain Password-Protected Files.  Certain online documents protected by passwords that are unique to the individual, or documents or information related to the coursework of a public school, college or university, would be excluded as well, subject to further conditions and exceptions.

The proposed regulations also provide that a public entity can alternatively use a “conforming alternate version” of a covered website or mobile app as defined by WCAG 2.1, or provide “equivalent facilitation” to provide access, which means using alternative designs, methods or techniques that result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability of the website or mobile app for individuals with disabilities. Public comments are due no later than October 3, 2023.  Stay tuned for further updates and analysis.

By Kristina Launey and John W. Egan

Seyfarth Synopsis: Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intent to begin the rulemaking process to enact website accessibility regulations applicable to state and local governments under Title II.

This week the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intent to begin the rulemaking process to enact website accessibility regulations applicable to state and local governments under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The rulemaking effort is a “long-term action”, with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (essentially, a draft regulation) scheduled to issue in April 2023 and DOJ to receive public comment by no later than June 2023. According to the DOJ announcement, because “many websites from public entities (i.e., State and local governments) fail to incorporate or activate features that enable users with disabilities to access the public entity’s programs, activities, services, or information online,” the DOJ intends “to amend its Title II ADA regulation to provide technical standards to assist public entities in complying with their existing obligations to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.”

This is very big news for a few reasons.

First, regulations providing guidance regarding entities’ obligations with respect to websites under the ADA have been long-desired by all interested parties—the disabled community, advocates, governmental entities, and private businesses.  The last effort to do this, begun by the Obama DOJ in 2010, drew on for years before it was unceremoniously withdrawn by the Trump DOJ at the end of 2017.  Just a few months ago, in March 2022, the Biden DOJ issued Guidance regarding website accessibility, in what many thought was the DOJ’s alternative to any regulatory effort.  Apparently rather than being an alternative, it was a warm-up for the main event.

Second, while the regulations would apply only to state and local governments subject to Title II, as in prior rulemaking efforts, regulations applicable to private businesses subject to Title III may well follow in similar form and substance.  We accordingly encourage public accommodations to submit comments on this rulemaking as this rule will have implications for them as well.

Some of the questions that we believe the Title II regulations (and/or any subsequent Title III regulations applicable to private businesses) should answer include:

  • At what point a website or app is considered accessible in compliance with the law and how is that measured?
  • What is the safe harbor period for websites to be brought into compliance with a standard for website accessibility without fear of lawsuits?
  • Will there be any special provisions for small covered entities to the extent compliance results in an undue burden or hardship?
  • What will be the treatment of third party content and/or crowdsourced material as it relates to compliance?
  • Will the regulations permit alternative access or “equivalent facilitation” for complex content such as detailed charts and graphs?

Businesses that want to prepare for the coming changes should continue to take cues from case law, the Guidance, and the prior DOJ rulemaking effort—that is, look to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 Level AA toward making and maintaining web content and apps that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Edited by Minh N. Vu

By Kristina M. Launey and Minh Vu

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Eleventh Circuit has refused to reconsider its decision to vacate its prior order and the trial court’s judgment because of mootness; meanwhile disability rights advocates demand regulatory action from DOJ on accessible websites.

On March 2, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied Winn-Dixie’s request that the full panel of judges reconsider a single Eleventh Circuit judge’s order dismissing the appeal and district court proceeding as moot.  This ends what had been an over-six year saga in one of the most-watched website accessibility cases in the country.  Here’s your Cliffs Notes version of this drama:

In June 2017 a Florida federal trial court ruled in favor of the blind plaintiff, finding Winn-Dixie’s inaccessible website violated the ADA, holding Winn-Dixie responsible for third party content on its website, and ordering, among other things, that the website be brought into conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA by December 1, 2017.  According to court filings, Winn-Dixie complied with the order.

As we previously reported, in April 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s verdict, finding that (1) the retailer did not violate the ADA because its website is not a place of public accommodation, and (2) the website did not pose an “intangible barrier” to his access to the goods, services, privileges, or advantages of Winn-Dixie’s physical stores.

Just a week later after the Eleventh Circuit’s order, the plaintiff filed a request that an en banc panel of judges reconsider the ruling, arguing that the issues in the case are of exceptional importance and that, among other things, the panel deviated from prior Eleventh Circuit precedent in rejecting the physical “nexus” standard.

At the end of 2021, the Eleventh Circuit dismissed the appeal as moot, vacated its prior decision as well as the district court judgment below, and remanded the case to the district court to dismiss as moot.  The Court concluded that the entire matter was moot because the injunction had expired while the appeal was pending for over four years.

Winn-Dixie apparently didn’t like this ruling and asked the Eleventh Circuit for rehearing en banc on whether the appeal and underlying case are moot.  The Eleventh Circuit has now denied that petition, putting an end to this six year saga unless Winn-Dixie decides to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision. Since the chances of the case being accepted by the Supreme Court are miniscule, this matter is likely over.

How does the Eleventh Circuit’s dismissal of the appeal and vacating of the judgment below affect the legal landscape?  The substantive decisions by the district court (often cited by plaintiffs) and the Eleventh Circuit (cited by defendants for a short time) are effectively erased from the case books and can no longer be cited for any purpose.  On balance, this is a good outcome for plaintiffs in the Eleventh Circuit because the decision set a very high standard for a violation.  The court had concluded, for example, the plaintiff’s inability to order prescriptions online for pick up at the store because of the website’s inaccessibility was not a barrier to his access to Winn-Dixie’s goods and services at the store.

Another Saga Begins (Anew?)

Meanwhile, on February 28, 2022, 181 advocacy groups—some of which had also at one time filed Amicus Briefs in the Winn-Dixie litigation—collectively published a “Joint Letter to Enforce Accessibility Standards” to Kristen Clarke, the head of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division which is responsible for enforcing the ADA.  The groups—led by the American Council of the Blind, American Federation for the Blind, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Federation of the Blind—asked DOJ to “adopt enforceable online accessibility standards by the end of the current Administration.”

Cliffs Notes version of the regulatory saga: In 2010, DOJ issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Title II and Title III website regulations for state/local governments and public accommodations, respectively.  While there was some non-substantive activity around issuing accessibility standards for the websites of state and local governments covered by Title II of the ADA in 2016, the DOJ did not issue a single proposed rule during the entire Obama Administration.  In 2017, the Trump DOJ terminated these rulemaking efforts altogether.

The absence of regulations regarding web accessibility has been problematic for public accommodations which were hit with over 7,851 federal website lawsuits from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2020.  This number does not include the numerous lawsuits filed in California state courts or demand letters that never turned into lawsuits.  The lack of clear standards has resulted in a body of law with conflicting decisions, and has made it very difficult for businesses to demand accessible websites from their web developers and web content from software vendors.  Thoughtful regulations that set clear standards and take into account the challenges businesses face in developing and maintaining accessible websites would be welcome by the business community and advocates alike.   While we have seen greater activity by the Biden DOJ in the website accessibility enforcement space recently, it would be surprising to see this Administration issue website accessibility final regulations in fewer than three years.  It is not impossible, but also not likely.


Seyfarth Synopsis:  An executive order from President Trump will likely halt the Justice Department’s public accommodations website rulemaking.

President Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) had stated that proposed regulations for public accommodations websites would be issued in 2018—eight years after the agency began its rulemaking process.  The likelihood of such a proposed regulation being issued now is virtually non-existent.

Among the flurry of executive orders President Trump signed this week was one entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”.  This EO virtually obliterates any chance that the DOJ will issue any website regulations for public accommodations websites during Trump’s Administration.

The EO directs all federal agencies to:

  • Identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed for each new regulation;
  • Ensure that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized in 2017 be “no greater than zero;”
  • Offset any new incremental costs associated with new regulations by eliminating existing costs associated with at least two prior regulations.

The EO exempts regulations relating to: (1) military, national security, or foreign affairs functions of the United States; and (2) agency organization, management, or personnel.  It also vests the Director of the Office of Management and Budget with the authority to grant additional exemptions.  The stated purpose of this EO is to “manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations”.  We therefore assume that the EO would not apply to regulations applicable to state and local governments that the DOJ has been working on and could issue under Title II of the ADA.  It is unclear what, if any, impact this EO may have on the Title II regulatory effort.

While our prediction may seem dire, we cannot fathom what two regulations the DOJ would repeal to make way for new public accommodations website regulations and offset their associated cost.  Though some may think that businesses are better off with no regulations on this subject, we disagree.  The current tsunami of lawsuits and demand letters about allegedly inaccessible websites is the result of uncertainly and absence of regulations that impose reasonable rules that provide adequate time for businesses to comply.  This is one issue upon which virtually all who practice in this space – on the legal, technological, or advocacy side – agree.

Edited by Kristina Launey.

Seyfarth Synopsis: New Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Regulations will require covered entities providing health care programs and services have accessible electronic information technology, including accessible websites.

While we continue to wait for new regulations for the websites of state and local governments, federal agencies and public accommodations, two new regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strongly suggest that health care provider websites must conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA to meet their non-discrimination obligations.

Effective July 18, 2016, a new “Meaningful Access” rule interpreting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Section 1557 Anti-Discrimination requirements will require providers of health care programs and services that receive federal financial assistance comply with new requirements for effective communication (EIT) (including accessible electronic information technology), and physical accessibility.  Because most health care providers do receive federal funds through Medicare reimbursements, this rule has broad coverage.  Effective July 1, 2017, new Medicaid rules will require managed care programs to have (EIT) that complies with “modern accessibility standards,” and impose other effective-communication requirements such as large print and other alternative formats.

Section 1557 of the ACA requires covered entities to ensure that health programs and services provided through EIT be accessible to individuals with disabilities unless doing so would result in undue financial and administrative burdens (in which case the entity must provide the information in an equally accessible alternative format) or a fundamental alteration in the nature of the health program or activity.   HHS did not specify a website accessibility standard in the new rule.   However, the agency said that compliance with accessibility requirements would be “difficult” for covered entities that do not adhere “to standards such as the WCAG 2.0 AA standards or the Section 508 standards,” and “encourages compliance” with these standards. Moreover, recipients of federal funding and State-based Marketplaces” must ensure that their health programs and activities provided through websites comply with the requirements of Title II of the ADA — requirements that are the subject of a pending rulemaking at the Department of Justice.  The Rule also requires providers to give “primary consideration” to the patient or customer’s auxiliary aid or service for communication.

The new Medicaid Rule will require that entities providing managed care programs provide information in a format that is “readily accessible”, which it defines to mean “electronic information and services which comply with modern accessibility standards such as section 508 guidelines, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA and successor versions.”  The agency intends this definition to be more clear, reflect technology advances, and align with the requirements of Section 504, and recommends entities consult the latest section 508 guidelines or WCAG 2.0 AA.

While both rules make reference to the Section 508 standards for accessible websites which has been the standard for federal agency sites for many years, all indicators point to WCAG 2.0 AA as the standard to use when working to improve the accessibility of a website.  The federal government has issued a proposed rule to replace the existing Section 508 standards with WCAG 2.0 AA.  Most experts we deal with consider the Section 508 standards outdated.  WCAG 2.0 AA was developed by a private consortium of experts called the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), and is the website access “standard” in all U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement agreements. It is also the legal standard for all airline websites covered by the Air Carrier Access Act.  Moreover, DOJ has indicated in its Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for state and local government websites that WCAG 2.0 AA should be the legal standard for such websites.

As we reported in July of 2014, the DOJ is working on final regulations that would require movie theatres with digital screens to show movies with closed captioning and audio description.

At a cost to the industry that DOJ estimated will be between $138.1 and $275.7 million, the proposed regulations would require that all movie theatres with digital screens (other than drive-ins) provide a minimum number of devices for visually and hearing impaired moviegoers based on seating capacity, acquire movies with these features where available, ensure that there is at least one person on-site to locate and operate this equipment, and inform customers of the availability of these features in movie times shown in wide variety of advertising materials.

We just learned that a draft Final Rule has gone to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, which is the final stage of the rulemaking process.  The projected Final Rule publication date is May of this year.  That said, these projected dates have often been moved before (especially when it comes to website regulations), so we are not holding our breath.

Stay tuned to the blog for more updates.

Edited by Kristina Launey and Minh Vu.

There is more bad news for businesses that thought that they could wait for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue specific regulations before making their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Federal Magistrate Judge Robertson in the District of Massachusetts recently denied motions by Harvard and MIT to dismiss or stay website accessibility class action lawsuits, and recommended that the lawsuits move forward to discovery.  The judge found that the existing law and regulations provide a basis for the deaf advocates’ claim that the universities violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide closed captioning for thousands of videos on their websites. The judge rejected the universities’ arguments that the court dismiss or stay the case while DOJ works on its proposed rules for website accessibility, finding that the court did not need the agency’s expertise to adjudicate the cases.  The judge did, however, give weight to the DOJ’s interpretation of the ADA expressed in its Statement of Interest filed in the Harvard and MIT lawsuits.

The Magistrate Judge’s recommendation will not be a final order of the court until U.S. District Court Judge Mastroianni adopts it.  Even after adoption, the decision will not be a finding that the universities have violated the law or that they must caption all videos on their websites.  The ruling would simply allow the cases to move forward to discovery.  As Judge Robertson noted, the schools will have an opportunity to assert various defenses later in the case.  For example, Harvard and MIT might show that they provide access to their videos in some alternative, equivalent matter.  They might also seek to establish that providing closed captioning for some or all videos on their websites would constitute an undue burden or fundamentally alter the nature of the goods and services that they offer.

There are many takeaways from Judge Robertson’s 45-page opinion, but we see two very basic, practical points:

  • Judges, at least thus far, have not been receptive to the argument that there is no obligation to make websites accessible until DOJ issues regulations on the subject. In 2015, a federal judge in Pittsburgh also denied a defendant bank’s motion to dismiss or for a stay of a website accessibility case, without any discussion or explanation.
  • Courts seem reluctant to dismiss website accessibility lawsuits at the beginning of the case. This means that the cases will likely continue to discovery and cause defendants to incur potentially substantial costs of defense, even if the defendants ultimately prevails on the merits.

The Harvard and MIT decisions will undoubtedly fuel the continuing explosion of website accessibility cases.  We are working to determine how many such suits have been filed and will report it to you as soon as we have it.

Edited by Kristina M. Launey.

By: Minh Vu

iStock_000016636778MediumIn late December, nine Democratic senators (Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.)) sent a joint letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that office “complete its review” of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (ANPRM) for public accommodations websites, online systems, and other information and communication technologies (ICT).

While the letter’s message is one with which everyone watching the issue can agree, we found the request rather odd because OMB reviewed the ANPRM before it was published in 2010. There is nothing more for OMB to do with that document. After OMB’s review, the ANPRM published in September 2010 and the public submitted comments to DOJ for consideration by early 2011.

The next step in the regulatory process is for DOJ to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would contain the actual language of the proposed rule. The DOJ must submit the NPRM to OMB for review before the NPRM is announced to the public in the Federal Register. Though we have been waiting for this step since 2011, DOJ has not yet submitted to OMB an NPRM that addresses public accommodations websites or ICT. We know this because OMB publicly announces on its website proposed regulations that are under review in its office, which it has not done for a public accommodations website/ICT NPRM.

Procedural clarifications aside, the letter makes clear that these Senators share the frustration of businesses and advocacy groups alike over DOJ’s failure to provide clear and binding regulations on the issue of website and ICT accessibility in a timely fashion. The Administrative Procedure Act requires DOJ to follow the legally-prescribed public notice and comment process in issuing regulations. Five years have passed since DOJ issued the ANPRM stating that it would issue regulations but we still have no proposed rules. Instead, DOJ has chosen to pursue an aggressive enforcement program in which it has pressured businesses to make their websites accessible. The plaintiff’s bar has also increasingly begun follow DOJ’s lead and take legal action against businesses that may have postponed making accessibility changes to their websites until DOJ issues a final rule. The number of demand letters and lawsuits concerning allegedly inaccessible websites has surged in the past six months.

In their letter, the Senators urge the administration to adopt the privately developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA as the legal standard for accessible public accommodations websites, and then went one step further: They insisted that in addition to conforming with WCAG 2.0 level AA, public accommodations should also be required to make further reasonable modifications on a “case-by-case” basis to ensure access for individual website users who may still have problems accessing a WCAG 2.0 level AA conforming website unless they can demonstrate that doing so would be an undue burden. (Those who are familiar with the practical challenges of making a website conform with WCAG 2.0 level AA and keeping it that way should be cringing at this thought.) Finally, the Senators urged the Administration to make clear in the proposed rule that the websites of online-only businesses are also covered by Title III of the ADA (contrary to the law in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as we’ve previously reported) and must be accessible.

We seriously doubt that the Senators’ letter will do much to expedite the glacial pace of this rulemaking, but if we see any change in the pace we will report it to you here.

Edited by Kristina Launey

By Minh N. Vu and Kristina Launey

internetIn an astonishing move, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will not issue any regulations for public accommodations websites until fiscal year 2018—eight years after it started the rulemaking process with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

As we previously discussed, DOJ made a number of statements in the 2010 ANPRM that led businesses to reasonably conclude that they could and should wait for the regulation to issue before taking action. Among other things, the ANPRM acknowledged a need to adopt a legal technical standard for an “accessible” website and asked how much time businesses should be given to comply. However, since issuing that ANPRM, DOJ’s enforcement attorneys have investigated numerous public accommodations, pressuring them to make their websites accessible. DOJ even intervened in recent lawsuits (e.g., here, here, and here) taking the position that the obligation to have an accessible website has existed all this time in the absence of any new regulations.

DOJ claims that it is delaying the public accommodations website regulations so that it can learn from the development of state and local government website regulations, which it will supposedly issue in January 2016. Specifically, DOJ states in its Fall 2015 Statement of Regulatory Priorities that “[t]he Department believes that the title II web site accessibility rule will facilitate the creation of an important infrastructure for web accessibility that will be very important in the Department’s preparation of the title III web site accessibility NPRM.” Whatever the reason, DOJ’s delay in issuing public accommodations website regulations perpetuates the murky waters businesses must navigate, with no regulatory guidance about what the law requires of them. Right now there is no legally binding technical standard that defines an “accessible” website. There is no rule about whether a business is required to ensure that third party content or software on its site is “accessible.” There is no rule about whether the existence of an occasional unintended barrier on a website which can arise from routine updates is a violation of the ADA.

In the meantime, the DOJ and private plaintiffs continue to pressure businesses, through enforcement actions and lawsuits, to bring websites into conformance with a standard no law requires, citing the ADA’s general principle of “equal access”. This puts businesses in an untenable position, as they struggle to prioritize what can often be considerable spend and business disruption to bring a website into conformance with this standard, against the multitude of other, established, regulatory requirements with which the business must comply upon risk of violating established laws. This external pressure has only increased of late—we have seen plaintiff’s lawyers initiated a virtual tsunami of demand letters and lawsuits against all manner of businesses (e.g., retailers, hotels, banks) alleging that their websites are not accessible to claimants with disabilities. We have seen (and reported) time and again—hence the dearth of case law in this area—businesses settle (most recently, as we had predicted, Scribd joined that club), quite simply (to the outside world; not so simple to the business’s interior decision-making) because it is less expensive to settle than to litigate in an uncertain legal landscape. These enterprising litigants know this.

For more on this surge of litigation activity, and what your business can do to mitigate risk, please join us for our webinar on December 2, 2015: Is Your Business the Subject of a Title III Lawsuit Yet?”.

Time concept: Hourglass on computer keyboard backgroundBy Minh N. Vu

According to the Spring 2015 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will issue no proposed regulations for public accommodations websites until least April 2016 — nearly a year from now. However, the proposed regulations for state and local government websites, originally slated for December 2014, should be out any minute. We know because the Unified Agenda has a May 2015 projected publication date for those proposed regs — which has already passed. This is frustrating news for all affected parties who have been clamoring for clarity while the DOJ has moved forward with enforcement activities against allegedly inaccessible websites in the absence of even a proposed rule. We suspect that the delay may be related to the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) (i.e., cost benefit analysis) that the DOJ must conduct for the proposed rule.

Any proposed rule requiring public accommodations’ websites to be accessible will have an enormous cost impact. Millions of businesses with a website presence will need to hire consultants to figure out what must be done to make their websites accessible, modify their websites or pay others to do so, pay consultants to test and verify the compliance of their websites, and maintain the accessibility of their websites going forward. Quantifying the cost of these efforts, in addition to any cost to society resulting from businesses choosing to provide less content or functionality on their websites, is no small task.

But alas, we will not be reading the proposed rule or the RIA for at least another eleven months.

Edited by Kristina Launey