AAPD Applauds U.S. Congress for Passing New Accessibility Law for People with Disabilities
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) commends the U.S. Congress for passage of the “Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.” On September 28, the bill cleared its final legislative hurdle by passing the House and is expected to go soon to President Obama for signature.
“This legislation is a victory for civil rights in our increasingly digital world,” explains Andrew Imparato, AAPD’s President and CEO. “The bill makes clear that it is not okay for people with sensory disabilities to be second class citizens in 21st century America.” AAPD is the country’s largest cross-disability membership association and organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice of change-politically, economically, and socially.
The legislation requires captioned television programs to be captioned also when delivered over the Internet and requires video description on television for people with vision loss. The bill also allocates $10 million per year for communications equipment used by people who are deaf-blind, ensures emergency information is accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision, requires accessible user interfaces on mobile browsers that connect to the Internet, and requires hearing aid compatibility of ‘smart phones,’ among several other provisions.
The passage of the “21st Century Communications” legislation is a result of five years of cooperative work by AAPD, other non-profit groups, industry, and government. Led in part by AAPD, the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) spearheaded the advocacy surrounding this effort. COAT is an organization with more than 310 member affiliates that promotes full access by people with disabilities to evolving high speed broadband, wireless and other Internet Protocol (IP) technologies. COAT’s other co-founding organizations include the National Association of the Deaf, American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, and Communication Services for the Deaf.
“This is a major milestone in accessibility history,” said Jenifer Simpson, AAPD’s Senior Director for Government Affairs and a COAT Co-Founder and Co-Chair. “The new law will ensure more people with disabilities will not be left behind in our digital communications world.”
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).