Wednesday, August 4, 2010

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009

The US House and Senate have each passed their own version of this legislation. H.R. 3101 passed the House 348-23 with all NC members voting yes, except Shuler who did not vote and Foxx who voted No. S. 3304 passed the Senate unanimously. S. 3304 now goes to the House of Representatives for their vote.

The Act will:

– Require captioned television programs to be captioned when delivered over the Internet.
– Authorize the FCC to require 7 hours per week of TV video description on the top 4 network channels and top 5 cable channels nationwide.
– Allocate up to $10 million per year for communications equipment used by individuals who are deaf-blind.
– Require televised emergency information to be accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision.
– Require accessibility of advanced communications equipment and services, such as text messaging and e-mail.
– Require access to Internet services that are built-in to mobile telephone devices, like smart phones, if achievable.
– Require devices of any size to be capable of displaying closed captioning, to deliver available video description, and to make emergency information accessible.
– Require accessible user controls for televisions and set-top boxes, and easy access to closed captioning and video description.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Lots of Rulemaking going on around the ADA anniversary. Better regulations mean increased accessible design, and stronger enforcement.

The final revised ADA Title II and III Regulations (2010 Standards for Accessible Design) have been posted and will take effect 6 months after being published in the Federal Register. The new regulations revise the previous standards and add standards for recreation areas, swimming pools and other public facilities. The regulations and fact sheet are posted here.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice last week seeking input on the accessibility of mobile phones for people who are blind, deaf-blind or have low vision. Comments are due September 13. If you have input on this issue please contact me as soon as possible.

The US Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting information on how Federal contractors and subcontractors can conduct more substantive analyses and fully monitor their recruitment and placement efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Comments are due September 21.

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Board published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for accessible buses, over-the-road buses and vans. Comments are due November 23.

The Department of Justice published 4 ANPRMs on July 26 (the ADA anniversary). The comments for each are due January 24, 2011: