Digital Equity: Lawmakers Urge Action on Accessibility

House Democrats urge U.S. Department of Justice to address digital accessibility through regulations and administrative actions, emphasizing the importance of ensuring websites are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Attorney General Merrick Garland through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) received a letter from thirty-two House Democrats, to request the department address digital accessibility issues by making regulations and other administrative actions well known. In the letter, the Democrats addressed the recent DOJ’s issuance of guidance; the March 2022 Guidance on Web Accessibility, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is noted that while the DOJ issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2010 to increase clarity in ADA regulations, the notice was withdrawn in 2017 by the Trump administration and a proposed rule was never issued.
While the DOJ has stated that the Americans with Disabilities Act does apply to digital spaces like websites, there is currently a lack of specific requirements or compliance standards in regulation. The Democrats behind the letter believe DOJ needs to take further steps to improve website accessibility. The letter states that access to digital services for persons with disabilities ‘is not simply a luxury or convenience, but a necessity’.