HB21 - 1110 Colorado's Accessibility Law for State Agencies

HB21 – 1110 Colorado’s Accessibility Law for State Agencies

Published: July 5, 2024

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    In a significant step towards digital inclusivity, Colorado has extended the deadline for its landmark legislation, HB21-1110, wherein all state-provided digital resources are to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. In this article, we will explain about HB21 – 1110 Colorado’s Accessibility Law for State Agencies.

    The compliance date set for July 2024 has now been moved to July 1, 2025, giving state agencies additional time to ensure comprehensive web accessibility.

    This extension shows Colorado recognizes the challenges for digital equity while reaffirming the unwavering dedication to creating an inclusive digital landscape for everyone. And a testament to their proactive approach to addressing the diverse needs of citizens

    At ADA Site Compliance, we break digital accessibility barriers down, ensuring your content is accessible to all. Our proactive approach prevents legal risks and expands your audience for greater engagement, accommodating your web compliance needs.

    HB21-1110 Digital Accessibility Timeline & Consequences for Non-Compliance

    Initially, Coloradian government agencies were required to formulate an accessibility plan by July 1, 2024. Failure to do so can potentially lead to a state civil rights violation.

    By July 1, 2025, all public-facing and internal hardware and software technologies must now be fully accessible. Ongoing testing and monitoring will also be essential to maintain compliance for equal access to government services and information for everyone.

    Government entities that do not comply with the Colorado Office of Information OIT web accessibility standards face consequences like:

    Users with disabilities, as the plaintiffs, can now pursue civil litigation against non-compliant government entities. The court can issue a court order requiring compliance for inaccessible websites, mandating the necessary modifications for accessibility.

    Furthermore, government entities may face financial repercussions and monetary damages awarded to plaintiffs from the disability community for inaccessibility. Each violation incurs a fine of $3,500 for the plaintiff.

    Who Does House Bill 21-1110 target?

    House Bill 21-1110 specifically targets government entities within Colorado like:

    1. State agencies

    These include state agencies managing administrative and public service functions and must implement the necessary changes to comply with the bill requirements. They include the Colorado Department of:

    • Education
    • Transportation
    • Public Health and Environment
    • Human Services
    • Natural Resources.

    2. Local government entities

    Local administrations are the backbone of a community, providing essential services and contributing to the well-being and development of the areas they serve. They include:

    1. City Councils and Departments: These administrative and regulatory bodies oversee city governance.
    2. County Governments: They manage large regions to address broader issues impacting the county and ensure cohesive management across various localities.
    3. Town Municipalities: They govern smaller regions to foster a close-knit environment, ensuring an attentive local government for the residents.

    3. Invisible Content Owners

    Did you know that the smooth navigation and user-friendliness in government websites you visit for permits or to renew a license is all thanks to these content owners’ efforts?

    These content owners behind various government departments are the invisible masterminds comprising:

    Website Architects: Webmasters and digital content managers meticulously craft website content, ensuring it is clear, concise, and accessible to everyone.

    Storytellers: Communications departments release press releases, public-facing documents, and social media content to update the public about policies, programs, and anything essential.

    Tech Wizards: IT departments build and maintain digital tools, applications, and platforms to make government services like license renewals, applications, and tax filing possible and convenient.

    These platform providers and content owners work together to ensure government information is readily available and effectively communicated to the public.

    HB 1110 and Web Accessibility

    While HB 1110 currently applies to government websites, its passage highlights a significant movement toward greater web accessibility, benefiting your businesses and your audience:

    • a) Possible Future Regulations

      Colorado is at the forefront of promoting digital inclusivity, suggesting that future legislation might extend to include private businesses. Staying ahead and ensuring web compliance can help avoid future legal issues.

    • b) Ensuring ADA Compliance

      Even without HB 1110, your website might need compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Several court rulings have interpreted the ADA to cover websites, as per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

    • c) Embracing Accessibility

      Website accessibility is not just about adhering to legal standards but is about expanding your reach to attract a broader audience and provide an inclusive experience for everyone.

    Digital Accessibility in Colorado: The Impact of HB21-1110

    With the Colorado HB21-1110 surpassing Section 508 and ADA Title II standards, it establishes a new digital accessibility benchmark within the state with:

    • i. Comprehensive Scope

      HB21-1110 mandates improved accessibility across all digital materials from state agencies for a more inclusive environment.

    • ii. Empowered Disabled Community

      Unlike many other state laws, HB21-1110 grants individuals with disabilities the right to take legal action for inaccessible government digital content. This provision ensures direct accountability and drives meaningful change.

    • iii. Stricter Penalties

      HB21-1110 penalties for non-compliance are notably more stringent than those in other states and a strong incentive for state agencies to prioritize and maintain accessibility.

    • iv. Prioritizing User Experience

      HB21-1110 emphasizes enhanced user experience to ensure accessible and inclusive digital interactions for all Colorado residents.

    • v. Colorado Office of Information Technology Support

      The Colorado OIT offers resources, reviews, and recommendations to assist agencies in streamlining, achieving, and maintaining accessibility compliance.

    Enhancing Digital Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities in Colorado

    The Colorado House Bill 21-1110 ensures digital inclusivity for individuals with disabilities by implementing stringent inclusivity requirements for state government agencies. The bill thus prohibits state agencies from:

    • Not including individuals with disabilities in government services, programs, or activities.
    • Neglecting strategizing to ensure their digital platforms are accessible by July 1, 2025.
    • Failure to adhere to the prescribed accessibility standards by July 1, 2025.

    House Bill 21-1110 is thus integral in guaranteeing that digital information and services in every Colorado government entity are effortlessly accessible and utilized by all residents. This initiative dismantles digital barriers, promoting a more inclusive and accessible digital environment.

    Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and HB21-1110

    HB 21-111 requires all state agency digital documents, websites, and mobile applications to maintain compliance by using tools or hiring vendors who specialize in document remediation. Even training digital content creators in the best accessibility practices helps ensure compliance.

    House Bill 21-1110 and OIT Accessibility Standards

    House Bill 21-1110 and the OIT guidelines mandate that everyone must be able to access all Colorado government entity digital tools. The digital resources intended for public or government employee use are fully accessible to provide everyone with equal access to information and services.

    Examples include:

    • Government websites
    • Software applications and third-party tools
    • Interactive kiosks
    • Digital signages
    • Downloadable electronic files
    • Videos

    Colorado OIT and HB 21-1110

    House Bill 21-1110, and the OIT leading the effort, mandates web accessibility for Colorado local governments by:

    • Setting Standards: OIT establishes clear and consistent accessibility guidelines for state agencies for uniformity across all government platforms.
    • Guidance and Evaluation: OIT reviews and offers expert advice and direction for all compliance proposals agencies submit.
    • Ongoing Promotion and Monitoring: OIT actively promotes and monitors the continuous accessibility plans of the state’s information technology infrastructure for continual compliance and improvement.
    • Collaborative Approach: OIT works closely with state agencies to address challenges by developing effective accessibility strategies.

    Enhancing Department Accessibility Beyond Digital Content

    While House Bill 21-1110 mandates digital content accessibility, it is essential to think broadly and ensure all departmental information and work is accessible, regardless of format. It includes taking steps like ensuring:

    • Forms and documents are available in Braille or large print upon request
    • The visually impaired can navigate the workspace
    • Those with hearing impairments can use email or video conferencing instead of phone calls

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the Accessibility Law in Colorado 2024?

    The Colorado House Bill 21-1110, passed in 2021, ensures accessibility for individuals with disabilities to government digital content. By July 1, 2025, all government websites, documents, and online forms must meet specific accessibility standards.

    What is the House Bill 21 1110 in Colorado?

    House Bill 21-1110 is a Colorado law ensuring online accessibility for individuals with disabilities. By July 1, 2025, all government websites, documents, and online forms must be fully accessible.

    What is the United States Accessibility Law?

    There is no single law covering all accessibility requirements in the United States. However, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates that federal agencies ensure individuals with disabilities can access their websites and electronic information. There are also various state and local laws addressing website accessibility standards.

    What is the ADA law in Colorado?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Colorado prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public services, employment, and public spaces. It does not explicitly cover website accessibility but can be used to file lawsuits against state and local governments for website inaccessibility.

    Making Colorado Digitally Inclusive

    Embracing digital accessibility offers immense benefits and is an ongoing process. The best way to ensure digital inclusivity in Colorado is to avoid quick fixes as they overlook deeper issues, delaying action and rushed efforts, and depending on inexperienced internal teams to ensure compliance.

    Instead, take proactive steps by collaborating with an accessibility expert like ADA Site Compliance, who fully understands HB21-1110, to ensure your website meets accessibility standards.

    Our experts are well-versed in current legislation and can guide you in creating a compliant and inclusive online presence. Contact us today to discuss your website accessibility needs and help achieve digital equality for all Coloradans.

    Contact ADA Site Compliance today for all your website accessibility needs!

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