The bill would provide funding to the Minnesota Council on Disabilities for training, assistance, and support to cities and counties in meeting website accessibility standards.
The House Human Services Finance Committee on Jan. 24 heard HF 480 (Rep. Steve Elkins, DFL-Bloomington), which would provide the Minnesota Council on Disability (MCOD) with funding to help cities and counties with outreach, training, assistance, and auditing related to website accessibility.
What’s included in the bill
The bill calls for one-time funding of $250,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2024 and $250,000 in FY 2025 to the MCOD. The funds would be used to hire to full-time employees that would help develop statewide training for cities and counties and provide outreach and technical assistance on meeting website accessibility standards.
The bill also requires the MCOD to report annually to the Legislature regarding:
- Numbers for website accessibility training, technical assistance, and outreach.
- Estimated costs to make recommended changes city and county websites.
The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus health and human services bill.
League testimony supported the bill
League staff testified in support of the bill at the hearing and in written testimony from League and the Association of Minnesota Counties (pdf).
League testimony focused on supporting the provision as a good first step in assisting cities, especially less-resourced cities, with ensuring city websites and their content are accessible to all residents.
The League also stressed the importance of using the MCOD reporting requirements to better inform the Legislature on potential city costs to upgrade websites to ensure accessibility, as well as what the state role might be in assisting smaller, less-resourced cities with those costs.