WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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RE: are accessibility audits mandetory in any nation?


From: Deborah Buck
Date: Sep 4, 2006 3:00PM

Just a point of clarification- the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 was
amended in 2004 and with those amendments the applicability of Section 508
to states was finally clarified. The AT Act solely requires state AT
Programs to comply with Section 508 - not the state in its entirety- which
was unclear in the past.

State AT Programs are required to develop a state plan and provide an
assurance to the US Department of Education that they will comply with
Section 508. However the AT Act limits states compliance with 508 only to
those activities which are required under the Act and that are supported
with grant dollars received under the AT Act. I've excerpted the pertinent
section of the AT Act below

Assistive Technology Act of 2004, as amended Public Law 108-364 29 USC

(6) ASSURANCES.-The application shall include assurances that-
(G) activities carried out in the State that are authorized under this Act,
and supported by Federal funds received under this Act, will comply with the
standards established by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers
Compliance Board under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (20
U.S.C. 794d); and

As pointed out, many states have adopted Section 508 either through state
statute, executive order or thru a policy and the majority of states have
"something" relative to web accessibility although the commitment and
clarity of the requirements run the full spectrum. The range of state 508
laws is as broad as the range of web accessibility policies that exist. For
example, some state 508 laws only address access for people who are blind or
have other visual disabilities. Some state laws include public universities
while some state 508 laws specifically exempt their public universities. At
the state level - an across the board adoption of Section 508 is still very

Deborah V. Buck, Executive Director
Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP)
PO Box 32
Delmar, NY 12054
518.439.1263 voice/TTY
518.439.3451 fax
518.441.7204 cell

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Thatcher [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2006 12:40 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: RE: [WebAIM] are accessibility audits mandetory in any nation?

Universities under 508? Nope. Only Federal agencies, not even the Judiciary
or Congress. Some argue that receipt of federal dollars requires 508
compliance - it doesn't.

There is one exception to that las statement - sort of. States that receive
funds through the Assistive Technology Act (see
http://www.ataporg.org/aboutus.asp) are required to provide an assurance of
508 compliance. From the ATAP site:

States which receive Federal funds under the Assistive Technology Act of
1998 are required by that Act to provide an assurance of compliance with
Section 508. Currently all states and territories receive Assistive
Technology Act dollars and all have some form of Section 508 assurance.
These state Section 508 assurances most frequently take the form of a simple
assurance statement with limited or no specifics regarding implementation.

Read extensive material on Accessibility and the law in chapters by Cynthia
Waddell in the new and exciting, "Web Accessibility - Web Standards and
Regulatory Compliance" by Thatcher, Burks, Heilmann, Henry, Kirkpatric,
Lauke, Lawson, Regan, Rutter, Urban and Waddell,


Accessibility Consulting: http://jimthatcher.com/

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Cheryl D Wise
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2006 10:03 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: RE: [WebAIM] are accessibility audits mandetory in any nation?

Aren't universities under section 504?

Cheryl D Wise
MS MVP FrontPage
Online instructor led training http://starttoweb.com

-----Original Message-----
From: John E. Brandt

In the United States, Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act only
currently applies to US federal government websites and IT services. Despite
the fact it has been "the law" for several years, there are still a number
of government websites that do not completely conform to Section 508. I know
of none being "sued."

There is a difference of opinion as to whether other governmental or
pseudo-governmental organizations need to also comply with Section 508. The
law does not require non-governmental organizations such as businesses or
individuals to comply.

In a number of states, the state governments have adopted Section 508 or
some form of web accessibility standards. Here in Maine, the web
accessibility standards are a combination of Section 508, WCAG and some of
our own unique requirements.

The issue of pseudo-governmental compliance is also at issue. For example,
should the state university system comply? Should all of the public schools
comply? Should non-governmental organizations that get most of their money
through grants from the state comply?

Also in the U.S. we have the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) which is
a more general law relating to accessibility. I believe that the recent
lawsuit brought against Target department stores' for having a
non-accessible website was based upon ADA compliance as well as some state
disability discrimination laws.

John E. Brandt
Augusta, Maine USA