Accessibility Law for Colorado State and Local Government

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“We're talking about basic access, not convenience. Access that everybody else that's able-bodied takes for granted. This should be a priority.” – Rep. David Ortiz

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Impact of HB21-1110

HB21-1110 makes it a state civil rights violation for a government agency to exclude people with disabilities from receiving services or benefits because of lack of accessibility.

Any Colorado government entity that doesn’t meet OIT’s web accessibility standards could be subject to injunctive relief, meaning a court order to fix the problem; actual monetary damages; or a fine of $3,500 payable to the plaintiff, who must be someone from the disability community.  

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Summary

  • Legislation places responsibility for compliance on both platform providers and content owners.
  • OIT has statutory authority in C.R.S. 24-85-101 to establish statewide accessibility standards. Previously, there was no formal process and little enforcement. 
  • All state agencies and local governments must be compliant with state standards by July 1, 2024. 
  • OIT will provide resources, training on the state standards, and tools to assist with accessibility, but agencies and local government will need to make the changes and improvements to their online content.
  • FAQ: HB21-1110 Colorado Laws For Persons With Disabilities
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Important Terms

  • Platform Provider: Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT), SIPA (Colorado.gov websites), or other in-house development teams or vendors that are contracted to provide a platform.
    • A platform is what the website or application is built on. For example, Colorado.gov is built on the Drupal platform, which is supported by NIC/SIPA. 
  • Content Owners: State agencies and county governments
    • Content owners are individuals and teams that create, publish and maintain online content like text, links, images, forms, PDFs, documents and embedded third-party applications. 
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): International Web standards, current version 2.1, level AA criteria.
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How to Begin with Accessibility Compliance

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Platform Providers: OIT, SIPA & Vendors

  • Platform providers, including OIT, SIPA and vendor partners, are required to provide a platform that is compliant with the most recently published W3C, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  • OIT responsibilities:
    • Promote and monitor the access standards for individuals with a disability in the state's information technology infrastructure, including but not limited to architecture.
    • The OIT web content accessibility guidelines must conform with the most recent WCAG.
    • Approve or reject procurements by state agencies for adaptive technologies for nonvisual or other disability access uses.
    • Comply with accessibility standards when procuring products and services.
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State Agency Content Providers

Responsibilities for State Agencies

  • Compliance in the creation and publishing of any online content and materials. 
    • Including but not limited to text, links, images, forms, PDFs, documents and embedded third-party applications. 
  • Establish a written plan with OIT, as part of your annual IT Roadmap, for implementing the accessibility standards.
    • The first plan is due July 1, 2022.
  • Develop any proposed budget requests, if needed, to ensure compliance by July 1, 2024.

What You Can Do

Where to Start

  • Contact your platform provider (platform vendors other than OIT or SIPA) to make sure they are aware of the law.
  • Contact your IT Director to get connected to the OIT Accessibility Team.
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Local Government Content Providers

Responsibilities for Local Governments

  • Compliance in the creation and publishing of any online content and materials. 
    • Including but not limited to text, links, images, forms, PDFs, documents and embedded third-party applications. 

What You Can Do

Where to Start

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Resources for State of Colorado Agencies

Siteimprove: Siteimprove’s software helps to improve State website usability and accessibility by automating the process of finding errors and problems. Siteimprove alone will not make websites accessible but is part of a holistic approach to managing web services.

For questions about using Siteimprove or Siteimprove Academy, please contact Theresa Montano, OIT Solutions Architect of Accessibility at theresa.montano@state.co.us.

Don't have access to Siteimprove? Use these free browser extensions:

Siteimprove Academy, Siteimprove (Requires a login)

To request accessibility testing: