2021 Policy Memorandum
Date: 92nd Legislature, 2021 session
Re: Website Accessibility Advisory Council
This bill establishes the Website Accessibility Grants Program, administered under MCD. A Website Accessibility Advisory Council would review grant applications and distribute money to improve the accessibility of city and county websites.
Many Minnesotans with disabilities rely on their city’s or county’s websites to learn about local services, receive news alerts, and interact with local officials. Due to budget constraints and limited resources, many small cities, towns, and counties cannot dedicate funds to ensure that their websites are accessible. Such barriers can lead to the underrepresentation of disability issues in local government because people cannot engage with their local officials. It can also be dangerous because Minnesotans with disabilities may miss local emergency alerts or not have access to critical emergency phone numbers and points of contact. Inaccessible websites can also cause insurmountable barriers to paying fees, taxes, and fines to local governments that use websites to conduct these services.
League of Minnesota Cities
In a budget year, it may be difficult to convince legislative leaders to appropriate funds to a new grants program.
Goal of Policy
The goal of the policy is to establish a Website Accessibility Grants Program which would be administered by the Website Accessibility Advisory Council under the Minnesota Council on Disability. The Website Accessibility Advisory Council would review grant applications and distribute funds to city and county governments based on the greatest need and the best action plan to make their websites accessible. This goal would then create a foundation of accessible website resources that all cities and counties could utilize, which would lead the way to better website accessibility across the state of Minnesota and at all levels of government.