[Note: See the United States – federal (national) section of this page for laws applying across the United States, as well as resources for keeping up with U.S. digital accessibility legal developments.]
There are fifty states in the United States and many of them have laws preventing disability discrimination that have been used to advocate for digital accessibility. Many states also have state accessible procurement laws similar to Section 508 (the federal accessible procurement law). In addition to state law requirements, a few cities have laws impacting digital accessibility.
Some state laws allow a person with a disability to seek damages (money payment) in a lawsuit for disability discrimination in the digital space. Most web accessibility lawsuits are filed in these states, because the Americans with Disabilities Act does not provide for this type of money damages. New York, California, and Florida have the largest number of lawsuits filed.
This section of the LFLegal global accessibility law and policy page has examples of these state and local laws in the United States. It is not at all exhaustive. It is important to learn about the laws in states where you live and where your organization does business or makes digital content available. Organizations providing websites and mobile applications may be subject to laws of any state where the digital content may be accessed.
- The US General Services Agency (GSA), a federal government agency, has a page on its Section 508 website that lists some state laws and policies about procuring accessible technology. This website does not appear to be exhaustive, but is a good place to start when looking for states with state accessible procurement requirements. The GSA page is described as including “resources and links that may help you to see which states have published laws and or policies on developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology.”
- The Disabled Persons Act in California is an example of a State law that allows a disabled person to collect damages for disability discrimination related to digital barriers.The lawsuit against Target regarding the inaccessibility of Target’s website was in part based on this California statute. Read about the 2008 Target web accessibility settlement.
- As of July 1, 2019 California’s AB (Assembly Bill) 434 required all state agencies in California to post on their website a certification about the website’s accessibility. The law applies to both state agencies and contractors:
State entities, and any contractors working for them, are responsible for ensuring that their state entity’s public websites are accessible to the general public. State entities are to align with Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA Standards in addition to the requirements of Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794d).California AB 434
- New York state has a New York State Human Rights Law. New York City has the New York City Human Rights Law. Both these laws have been the subject of lawsuits brought by disabled people for lack of website and mobile app accessibility.
- In 2022 the state of Maryland passed the Local School Systems – Equivalent Access Standards – Digital Tools (Equivalent and Nonvisual Access Accountability Act for K-12 Education). The official summay of this law, which is an accessible procurement law for K-12 schools in Maryland, states:
Requiring a local school system to provide equivalent access to digital tools for students with disabilities, including the development, purchase, and provision of certain digital tools that are directly connected to student instruction; requiring a local school system to establish a process to evaluate a digital tool prior to purchase for nonvisual access by a certain employee or contractor of the school system; providing certain civil penalties for a vendor who fails to meet the equivalent access standards; etc.Maryland accessible K-12 procurement law
Read an article about this K-12 accessible procurement law, one of the first in the United States I am aware of.