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Colorado State Accessibility Laws

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    Colorado’s web accessibility policy was created to ensure all individuals with disabilities have equal access to all governmental services. They make consistent efforts to ensure the laws are up-to-date, requiring an annual review.

    The Colorado state accessibility laws are modeled from:

    Deaf and Hard of Hearing Requirements

    About 8.6% of the population in Colorado is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Colorado is tasked with providing equal access to the deaf and hard of hearing to all governmental services. The Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was established under Section 26-21-102 C.R.S.

    State agencies and state departments must provide “auxiliary services, telecommunications equipment, and other resources in order to enable access for the deaf and hard of hearing community.”

    As defined by 12 CCR 2516-1 auxiliary services includes “qualified interpreters, Communication Access Realtime Translation Provider, assistive listening devices/systems, or other effective methods of making spoken or written information available to Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals.”

    Web Accessibility Requirements

    On January 19, 2001, the Colorado Commission on Information Management (IMC) adopted the Colorado Information Technology Accessibility Standards for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The standards emulate Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and WCAG 2.0 guidelines, and are focused on “design criteria for web-based publicly accessible information.”

    The standards are to be reviewed and updated annually “due to the changing nature of technology.”

    Under House Bill 00-1269, passed on June 1, 2000, the IMC was tasked with several requirements to be completed by February 1, 2001.

    • The IMC adopted the Colorado Information Technology Accessibility for the Blind and Visually Impaired on January 19, 2001.
    • Compliance requirements were set and put into effect July 1, 2001. They require state agencies to comply with IT Accessibility Standards on their websites “only when developing new web pages and websites, or when changes are made to web pages,” such as a file is written/re-written to the server.
    • The cost impact is determined by: (1) staff labor hours and (2) HTML and/or accessibility training.
    • The Governor’s Office of Innovation & Technology (OIT) developed a 2-day accessibility training workshop for state masters and web designers on May 2001.

    The OIT standards “only apply to software, peripheral devices, or other IT used by blind or visually impaired.” The law also states any applications, programs, and underlying operating systems procured by OIT must be compatible with nonvisual access software and peripheral devices.

    There are 24 standards that address website design. The standards include:

    • A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via alt, longdesc, or in element content).
    • Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
    • A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.
    • Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.
    • The initial web page shall provide a contact name and e-mail address for feedback.

    The standards are designed to provide blind or visually impaired individuals “with access to information stored electronically by state agencies,” and “be designed to present information in formats intended for both visual and nonvisual users.” The head of each state agency is required to develop a plan, within the annual IT plan, that proposes a budget request for implementing the accessibility standards.

    The Chief Information Office of OIT is required to consult with the agencies and representatives on the standards and procurement criteria.

    Web developers can use the suggested tools provided by the Colorado State Web Portal to check their compliance levels.

    An example of these standards put into practice can be found on the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing web portal and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment portal.

    Guidelines and documents relating to web accessibility in education can be found on the Colorado Department of Education web portal.

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    Learn About Other U.S. State Accessibility Laws

    Click on the map below to learn more about captioning and web accessibility laws in other states.


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