As the nation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, both private and public organization are making efforts to show their initiatives. Yahoo! today announced its new accessibility blog, led in part by Alan Brightman, who works on accessibility issues at the Internet company. The National Council on Disability has gathered a group of 500 people and partners from 48 states to its policy summit on disabilities. The summit wants to encourage a national dialogue on disability policies and programs in the 21st century.
Later today there will be a celebration at the White House, with President Obama marking the ADA’s anniversary. There will be performances by Patti LaBelle, Marlee Matlin and others. The celebration, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live
The House is expected today to take up H.R. 3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, a bill that would make closed captioning mandatory for large Internet television and movie distributors, excluding user-based sites such as YouTube.
The Department of Justice also announced today four advance notices on proposed rulemaking covering key areas: Internet, movie captions, emergency preparedness and accessible furniture/equipment. The Department is seeking comment by the public on its possible plans to require the following:
Movie captions: DOJ is considering mandating that movie theater owners and operators to show movies with closed captions and video description in their theaters at least fifty percent of the time.
Internet: The DOJ is considering requiring public and private websites – including retailers and other e-commerce sites — to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
9-1-1: The DOJ is considering requiring emergency 9-1-1 call centers to become equipped to receive text or video calls over the Internet.
Equipment and Furniture: The DOJ is considering mandating that equipment and furniture including medical and exercise equipment and furniture, accessible beds in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes, accessible golf cars, and electronic technology, including ATMs, and point of sale (POS) devices is made accessible to people with disabilities.