Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Galveston County, Texas, to Improve Accessibility of Services and Programs
The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with Galveston County, Texas. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In July 2015, the department celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ADA and the department’s PCA initiative has now resulted in over 200 agreements with cities, town and counties. Today’s agreement will enhance access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities in Galveston County.
The department’s PCA agreement with Galveston County requires the county to make physical modifications to county facilities to ensure that its parking, routes into buildings, entrances and public restrooms are accessible to persons with disabilities. Galveston County also agreed to provide effective communication for individuals who have hearing or visual disabilities; ensure that its emergency management procedures and policies include provisions for the evacuation of persons with disabilities; and, ensure that its emergency shelters are accessible to persons with disabilities. Notably, this agreement also requires the county to ensure that the county’s official website and other web-based services conform to industry guidelines – the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – for making web content accessible.
“This settlement reflects how much the law impacts the everyday lives of residents with disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Through Project Civic Access, the Justice Department has worked to ensure that all Galveston County residents and visitors with disabilities have the same access to parks, community centers, museums, libraries and county government buildings, programs, services and activities in these communities.”
“We are committed to ensuring accessibility under the ADA throughout this district,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas. “Our attorneys will continue to work with our local communities and businesses to ensure compliance.”
As we continue to celebrate the achievements towards ensuring equal access for persons with disabilities in the 25 years since the passage of the ADA, the department’s PCA initiative highlights the nation’s progress towards ensuring that persons with disabilities can enjoy equal access to state and local governments.
Today’s agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The agreement with Galveston County requires all actions to be completed within three years. The department will actively monitor the county’s compliance with the agreement.
For more information about the ADA, today’s agreement or the Project Civic Access initiative, individuals may access the ADA Web page at http://www.ada.gov/civicac.htm or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).