SURPRISE! DOJ DELAYS WEB ACCESSIBILITY RULEMAKING, AGAIN

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In a not-so-surprise move, the Department of Justice has once again delayed issuing regulations on making government websites accessible to people with disabilities.

While insisting in a statement that making web accessibility rules is a “high priority,” DOJ announced that it has withdrawn its notice of proposed rulemaking addressing accessibility under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

The DOJ had planned to publish the rule in early 2016, according to last fall’s statement of regulatory priorities

Instead, the DOJ has put out a supplemental advance notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit public feedback on the current level of government website accessibility, and the costs and benefits of having an accessibility regulation.

The DOJ sought feedback on these issues back in 2010 and received 440 public comments.  But because six years have gone by, it wants comments that are “more current.” It also expects more detailed and focused comments, given the evolution of web accessibility technologies over time.

Meanwhile, website accessibility regulations for businesses—pursuant to Title III of the ADA—are expected in 2018.  It remains to be seen if those regulations will be delayed again as well, given how much technological change is bound to occur over the next two years.