Justice Department Settles with McLennan County, Texas, Regarding Accessibility of County Services Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Justice Department announced today an agreement with McLennan County, Texas, to improve access to all aspects of civic life for people with disabilities. McLennan County and the Department of Justice reached an agreement 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). Under the agreement, the county is required to ensure that people with disabilities can take full advantage of the county’s services, programs and activities. This year, as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, it is an ideal time to highlight the impact that the enforcement of this statute has made in the lives of people with disabilities.
“Twenty-five years after the passage of the ADA, we have seen tremendous strides in accessibility nationwide,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Because of the ADA, local governments like McLennan County are taking responsibility to provide citizens with access to programs, services and activities. Agreements such as this one will have a remarkable impact on the everyday lives of individuals with disabilities and allow them to fully participate as citizens of McLennan County.”
Under the agreement, McLennan County will develop and implement a new county website that is compliant with the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0; the county will also designate a web accessibility coordinator who will be responsible for coordinating the county’s web accessibility compliance. The county will also ensure that its polling locations are accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, the county will modify its emergency operations plan to ensure that it is accessible to all persons with disabilities in the event of an emergency. McLennan County will also adopt and implement its Sheriff’s Department Effective Communication Policy for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Finally, the agreement requires the county to ensure that its courthouses, buildings, parking lots, parks and toilet rooms are accessible to persons with disabilities.
This agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The three-year agreement will remain in effect until Nov. 16, 2018. The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement.
For more information about the ADA, today’s agreement, the Project Civic Access initiative or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for state and local governments, 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).