On September 28, 2022, the Website and Software Applications Accessibility Act (S. 4998, H.R. 9021) was introduced in both houses of Congress!
AFB’s Public Policy and Research Institute has been working with the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, and the National Disability Rights Network to introduce and pass this legislation.Bill Summary
If passed, this legislation would require that employers, state and local governments, and most businesses open to the public make their websites and applications accessible. It would require the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to establish a clear and enforceable uniform national framework for website and software application accessibility and ensure that accessibility standards keep pace with new and emerging technologies.
The bill does not amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but it mirrors aspects of the ADA and uses a similar framework. The ADA itself still applies to websites. One of the most important new provisions of this bill is that third party web and application developers would be held accountable for making websites and apps accessible. Currently, they are not held accountable, which is problematic for both people with disabilities and business owners.
Take direct action by contacting your member of Congress.
You can advocate for this bill by encouraging your two Senators and one Representative to cosponsor the Websites and Applications Accessibility Act. Members of Congress need to know that their constituents support proposed legislation. Every call and every voice makes a difference!
Here are sample scripts you can use during your calls. Feel free to adapt it to share your challenges with inaccessible websites and applications. If your member of congress is already is a sponsor or cosponsor, you can also call or email them to thank them for supporting this bill.
When calling your two Senators:
“Hi, my name is____. I’m calling from____(insert your City and State). I’m calling to urge Senator ____ to cosponsor the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act. Lack of digital accessibility reduces employment, education, healthcare and community living opportunities for millions of people with disabilities. I hope that the Senator will cosponsor this bill, S. 4998, and support greater access for people who are blind or have low vision.”
When calling your Representative:
“Hi, my name is____. I’m calling from____(insert your City and State). I’m calling to urge Representative ____ to cosponsor the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act. Lack of digital accessibility reduces employment, education, healthcare and community living opportunities for millions of people with disabilities. I hope that you will cosponsor this bill, H.R. 9021, and support greater access for people who are blind or have low vision.”
You can find the name and contact information for your Senator here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
Alternatively, you can call the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You'll need to call three times to reach both Senators and your Representative.Additional Resources
- Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) (original sponsor)
- Robert Casey (D-PA) (original cosponsor)
- Edward Markey (D-MA) (original cosponsor)
- Brian Schatz (D-HI) (original cosponsor)
U.S. House of Representatives
- John Sarbanes (D-MD-3) (original sponsor)
Current supporters as of 9/28/2022:
- Access Living
- American Association of People with Disabilities
- American Council of the Blind
- American Foundation for the Blind
- Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
- Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
- Blinded Veterans Association
- Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
- Epilepsy Foundation of America
- Hearing Loss Association of America
- National Association of the Deaf
- National Council on Independent Living
- National Disability Institute
- National Disability Rights Network
- National Federation of the Blind
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.
- The Arc
- United Spinal Association
- Vietnam Veterans of America