Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is leading the charge on behalf of a group of senators calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to support online protections for Americans with disabilities.
Sen. Schatz and 12 of his colleagues are pushing for the DOJ to restart a rulemaking process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the law applies to online services.
“The United States has invested billions of dollars to develop technology and provide connectivity to all parts of the country, but that has little value for Americans who cannot access the online services on which we count so strongly”, the senators wrote to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who heads the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
The letter says more than 4,000 inaccessibility cases were filed in federal and state courts alleging ADA compliance last year, however, their resolution remains uncertain without DOJ regulation.
“When Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the Internet and digital technologies were in their infancy,” the senators said. “More than thirty years later, these technologies are now ubiquitous and we rely on them for our daily activities, such as communicating with friends and family, conducting business, accessing government resources and obtaining health care,” says the letter.
“New rules are needed to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to the digital world,” the senators said.
Joining Senator Schatz on the letter are Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Bob Casey, D-Penn., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Ben Ray Lujan, DN.M. , Ed Markey, D-Mass., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.