Accessibility deadline may move
- By William Matthews
- May 25, 2000
Hold the lawsuits.
An amendment passed by the Senate and likely to be accepted by the House
would push back by several months the date federal agencies can be sued
for failing to have office equipment that can be used by disabled people.
The date now is Aug. 7, but it is likely to be moved back to November
Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) tacked the deadline delay onto the annual
bill to fund military construction, passed May 11. A House version of the
military construction bill does not have a similar amendment, but a Senate
staffer said the amendment is expected to be accepted by a House conference
The move would push back the implementation date for Section 508 regulations
requiring federal agencies to provide computers, photocopiers, telephones
and other electronic equipment that can be used by people who are blind
or deaf or suffer from other physical impairments.
Although agencies now are required to comply by Aug. 7, it is still
unclear what they must comply with. Final regulations have not yet been
published by the federal Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance
Board. They are expected sometime in June.
The regulations were supposed to have been published Feb.7, giving agencies
six months to come into compliance by the Aug. 7 deadline. Jeffords' amendment
simply pushes the effective date back to six months after final regulations
are published — whenever that may be, the Senate staffer said.
Information technology companies, who lobbied hard to get the deadline
pushed back, said the delay may head off millions of dollars in lawsuits.