U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Monday, U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) joined 11 Senate colleagues calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to support online protections for Americans with disabilities.
The senators asked DOJ to restart a rulemaking process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to establish new rules ensuring that the ADA applies to the Internet.
“The United States has invested billions of dollars to develop technology and provide connectivity to all parts of the country, but it is of little value to the Americans who are unable to access the online services that the rest of us so heavily rely on,” the senators wrote to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who leads DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “When Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the Internet and digital technologies were at a nascent stage. More than thirty years later, these technologies are now ubiquitous, and we rely on them for daily activities—such as communicating with friends and family, conducting business, accessing government resources, and obtaining health care. New rules are necessary so that individuals with disabilities are provided equal access to the digital world.”
In addition to Luján, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
In their letter, the senators cited a study analyzing the top one million most-visited websites which found the overwhelming majority of these websites were inaccessible in some way to people with disabilities. More than 4,000 cases were filed in federal and state courts referencing ADA compliance last year, but their verdicts remain uncertain without DOJ regulations.
The full text of the letter is available here.