The act adds language to strengthen current Colorado law related to protections against discrimination on the basis of disability for persons with disabilities, specifically as those laws relate to accessibility to government information technology. The added provisions include:
- Prohibiting a person with a disability from being excluded from participating in or being denied the benefits of services, programs, or activities of a public entity or a state agency;
- Clarifying that such prohibition includes the failure of a public entity or state agency to develop an accessibility plan and fully comply, on or before July 1, 2024, with accessibility guidelines established by the office of information technology (office);
- Any Colorado agency with the authority to promulgate rules shall not promulgate a rule that provides less protection than that provided by the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990".
Definitions related to disabilities are added to the statutory sections for the office. The chief information officer in the office is directed to maintain accessibility standards for individuals with disabilities (accessibility standards) for information technology systems employed by state agencies that provide access to information stored electronically and are designed to present information for interactive communications, in formats intended for visual and nonvisual use.
The chief information officer in the office is directed to promote and monitor the accessibility standards in the state's information technology infrastructure. The act directs each state agency to comply with the accessibility standards established by the office. The accessibility standards must be established using the most recent web content accessibility guidelines promulgated and published by the world wide web consortium web accessibility initiative or the international accessibility guidelines working group.
The act directs each state agency, on or before July 1, 2022, to submit its written accessibility plan to the office. The office shall then work collaboratively with the state agency to review sections related to accessibility standards and to establish implementation methodology. On or before July 1, 2024, each state agency shall fully implement the sections of the state agency's plan related to accessibility standards. The act states that any state agency that is not in full compliance by July 1, 2024, is in violation of the state's laws concerning discrimination against individuals with a disability and is subject to the remedies set forth in statute.
Liability for noncompliance as to content lies with the public entity or state agency that manages the content, whereas noncompliance of the platform hosting the content lies with the public entity or state agency that manages the platform.
For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $312,922 to the office of the governor for use by the office of information technology. This appropriation is from the general fund and is based on an assumption that the office will require an additional 0.9 FTE. To implement this act, the office may use this appropriation for enterprise solutions.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)