Skip to content

The DOJ and New Web Accessibility Regulations

I’ve noticed a couple of articles/blog posts popping up regarding the April 2023 date the DOJ intends to publish its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on new web accessibility regulations for state and local government entities under Title II. Some of those articles can leave a reader with a sense of urgency and, yes, even panic. As one of my colleagues put it, "scary-looking statements that give no detail."

Let’s unpack all this and see if we can dispel some of those "scary statements."

First, what exactly did the DOJ say in that notice in the Spring 2022 Unified Regulatory Agenda? The DOJ states

"...many websites from public entities (i.e., State and local governments) fail to incorporate or activate features that enable users with disabilities to access the public entity’s programs, activities, services, or information online. The Department intends to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its Title II ADA regulation to provide technical standards to assist public entities in complying with their existing obligations to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities."

Read the full Rule here.

There’s nothing scary in that statement. The DOJ is simply letting the current administration know they want to amend Title II to include accessibility standards that will help public state and local governments maintain their current level of compliance. That’s a good thing! And by the way, this announcement is scheduled to be released in April this year.

Next, the NPRM will be open for public comment via

"Some agencies also accept comments by mail, fax, or email. In a typical case, an agency will allow 60 days for public comment." ~  Learn About the Regulatory Process

The DOJ’s NPRM will close pubic comments in June.

"Some public comments contain one-sentence or one-paragraph comments, while others contain thousands of pages with detailed analysis, with supporting documents submitted as attachments." ~  Learn About the Regulatory Process

Clearly, this will significantly impact the timeline for moving into the post-comment stage of this process.

"After the comment period closes, the agency reviews all comments received and conducts a comment analysis. Then agencies decide whether to proceed with the rulemaking process or issue a new or modified proposal. In some cases, they withdraw the proposal." ~  Learn About the Regulatory Process

If the proposal becomes a final rule, it will be published in the Federal Register and made available to the public. Note - "No Final Rule becomes effective in less than 30 days of its publication in the FR, unless it grants an exemption, relieves a restriction, or for 'good cause,' which includes such things as emergencies." ~  Learn About the Regulatory Process

So, as you can see, this can be a long process. But regardless of the timeline, at the current moment, there are no specific details regarding the "...technical standards to assist public entities in complying with their existing obligations…" 

As accessibility practitioners, I am sure we are all reasonably confident those standards will be WCAG. So if your organization is currently complying with WCAG 2.1 A and AA, there should be no reason for concern.

This latest move by the DOJ should be celebrated as an opportunity to finally have the technical accessibility standards written into the ADA…giving our accessibility work the legal "teeth" we need.

"Codifying WCAG as the formal standard required by law, just like has been done at the federal government level via Section 508, would remove (or at least drastically reduce) any possibility of state or local governments defending inaccessibility due to lack of clarity in technical specifications and requirements." ~  DOJ Announces Title II Web Accessibility Regulations Are Coming: What’s It Mean?


Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner