Statutory Basis for Accessibility
Several Disability Rights Laws have been passed at the Federal Level. See A Guide to Disability Rights Laws for a comprehensive list of those laws. Here is a short summary of the two primary federal laws that affect accessibility at the State of Minnesota.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (known as Section 508) - The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal Agencies and in programs receiving Federal financial assistance. In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (known as ADA) - ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in several areas, including State and local government, to give people with disabilities and equal opportunity to benefit from all programs, services, and activities. ADA provided a national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and setting enforceable standards.
MN Statutes 16E.03, Subdivision 9, effective 7/1/2009 or when standards become effective (which turned out to be 9/1/2010) requires all state agencies to adhere to standards for accessibility developed by the State Chief Information Officer. Those standards were to incorporate both Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 or to have an exception to the requirements granted by the State CIO.
MN Statutes 363A.42 effective 1/1/2013 provides additional penalties to agencies for inaccessible records or other documents modified or produced after 1/1/2013, regardless of physical form or method of storage. The term records is defined as any publicly available recorded information. Penalties are $500 per violation plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.
MN Statues 363.43 effective 1/1/2013 - requires any continuing education or professional development course, offering, material or activity administered by the state must be made available in an accessible format to individuals with disabilities. Penalties are $500 per violation, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.
State of Minnesota Accessibility Standard - Requires all State information systems, tools and information content to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance and to comply with selected provisions of Section 508 or to apply for a written exception.