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Thursday, March 31, 2016

NYC Mayor De Blasio Signs Bill Expanding Accessibility Laws for Disabled New Yorkers

At Seelig Law Offices, we fight tirelessly to ensure equal access and opportunities for all New Yorkers, regardless of physical limitation. Along the same lines, New York City’s Mayor De Blasio recently enacted several mandates ensuring the same equalities for residents across all five boroughs -- specifically with regard to access to services and events within New York City.

Interestingly, the first set of laws pertains to equal access to websites run by the city and state governments. The directives essentially mimic federal standards, and require municipalities to contract with web development experts to ensure everyone can access the important information found on government web pages. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines followed by the federal government, city and municipal sites must be accessible to those with visual and hearing impairment, as well as those with limited cognitive ability. Moreover, the laws require City websites to include a translation option to help readers better understand the content.

Secondly, De Blasio directed that city agencies and service providers implement a disability service facilitator as a point of contact for anyone in need of assistance. This position would also require staff training on various disability issues, as well as the development of agency-wide policies to promote an understanding of the unique needs of clients facing a disabling condition.

In addition, the new laws mandate that any publications or promotional materials concerning a city-sponsored event must include information as to accessibility for disabled participants.

In a statement by the Mayor: “New York City is an amalgamation of cultures, heritages and languages,” de Blasio said. “That is why we strive to increase inclusivity, especially when it comes to New Yorkers with disabilities. Whether it’s creating a more accessible City website, or ensuring that events hosted by City agencies have information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities, [these laws] strengthen our efforts to be more inclusive.”

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