Sending Office: Honorable Eric Swalwell
October 23, 2017
Supported By: Credit Union National Association
Current Signers (21): Swalwell,
DeSantis, Raskin, Watson Coleman, Sherman, Brownley, Bass, Carson, Schiff, Roybal-Allard, Bishop (Sanford), Lowenthal, Eshoo,
Woodall, Gohmert, Turner, Young (Don), Gomez,
Carter, LaMalfa, Barr
Deadline: COB Thursday, October 26
We urge you to join us in sending the letter below, asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue rules regarding proper compliance with the
Americans with Disabilities Act with regarding website access.
Since 1990, when the ADA was enacted, our lives have been increasingly dominated by interactions online. While the ADA remains a powerful force in improving the lives of disabled
Americans, it does not speak directly to how public accommodations must provide equal access to websites.
DOJ began the process of developing regulations to address this gap in 2010, with an
advance notice of proposed rulemaking. Unfortunately, it never completed this rulemaking process and recently declared this effort “inactive”.
The lack of clear rules of the road from DOJ on what public accommodations must do to provide access to the disabled on websites means that one critical sector of society remains potentially
shut off. Businesses are left with a lack of the certainty they feel they need regarding what they must do to comply and are put at risk for litigation. Small entities with limited resources, such as community banks and credit unions, are particularly vulnerable.
We encourage you to sign the letter below to DOJ, asking it to resume plans to issue regulations on website access under the ADA. Both the disabled and business communities would
benefit from clear rules enabling the disabled to take advantage of opportunities presented in our increasingly digital world.
To sign this letter, or if you have any questions, please contact Andrew Ginsburg with Rep. Swalwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or John Maniscalco (email@example.com)
with Rep. DeSantis. The deadline to sign on is the close of business this Thursday, October 26.
Eric Swalwell Ron DeSantis
Member of Congress Member of Congress
___ ___, 2017
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Sessions:
We are writing to express concerns and seek a remedy regarding the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to inactivate a July 26, 2010 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (“2010
ANPR”) with respect to website access requirements under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The failure to follow through on this notice, entitled “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability;
Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations” (75 Federal Register 43460-43467), has the potential to hamper full participation of the disabled in our modern economy and negatively impact the
business community as it tries to fulfill its obligations under the ADA.
The ADA is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation, through which the federal government said that no more would disabled Americans be kept on the outside of society looking in.
Specifically, Title III of the ADA requires equal access for the disabled to public accommodations, and millions of Americans have benefited from it.
Unfortunately, the ADA was written before the dramatic rise of the Internet and the critical role it plays in society. As such, it does not speak to the accessibility public accommodations
must provide via their presence on the Internet, specifically websites. Because every day more and more people interact and conduct their business online, it is increasingly important we clarify how the ADA applies to the Internet.
In fact, as DOJ points out in its 2010 ANPR, “Although [DOJ] has been clear that the ADA applies to websites of private entities that meet the definition of ‘public accommodations,’
inconsistent court decisions, differing standards for determining Web accessibility, and repeated calls for [DOJ] action indicate remaining uncertainty regarding the applicability of the ADA to websites of entities” included in Title III. For this reason
DOJ sought to examine “what regulatory guidance it can propose to make clear to entities covered by the ADA their obligations to make their websites accessible.”
Without regulation, the disabled community remains at risk of being shut out of certain parts of electronic commerce. And, members of the business community, including credit unions
and community banks, are vulnerable to lawsuits because they are left with no uniform standard by which compliance can be measured.
All consumers, including those with disabilities, benefit when they can shop online to learn about products and services available on company websites. Access is best achieved by
clear rules stipulating how businesses should serve those protected under the ADA.
We urge DOJ to restart the process of issuing regulatory guidance regarding the Internet under Title III of the ADA. To be credible the eventual regulation issued must be the product
of serious consideration of the comments offered by all stakeholders and provide a meaningful method to achieve equal access to the web of covered businesses for disabled Americans, with a reasonable implementation period, consistent with the obligations for
businesses under the ADA.
We thank you for your attention to this matter.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0