Colorado Digital Accessibility Law HB21-1110 FAST Approaching

Colorado state building. Colorado now mandates digital accessibility.

In 2021, Colorado became the first state in the country to legally mandate website accessibility for state and local governments by July 1, 2024. HB21-1110 specifically requires state and local agencies to remove any digital accessibility barriers or face legal repercussions at the state level. Representative David Ortiz, who introduced the bill, says, “Every Coloradan should be able to access state services and information online, but not all state websites and services are accessible to people with disabilities.’

Setting standards

Colorado’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has adopted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA as the standard with which state and local government agencies must comply in order to be accessible. 

What is required of State and Local Agencies?

By July 1, 2024, both state and local government agencies must make all of their digital resources accessible. Despite the name referring specifically to “web” content, HB21-1110 applies to ALL content that is digitally available. That means that this law applies to all departments, not just those that create and manage websites. 

HB21-1110 applies to all types of technology including but not limited to:

  • Websites 
  • Applications 
  • Kiosks
  • Digital signage 
  • Documents 
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Third-party tools

State and local government agencies are responsible for making the following types of content accessible (among others):

  • PDFs
  • Text 
  • Links 
  • Images 
  • Forms 
  • Documents 
  • Embedded third-party applications

Enforcing new standards

HB21-1110 also calls for consequences when agencies fail to follow OIT’s set standards. Violators could face injunctive relief in the form of a court order to fix the inaccessible website. Courts may also impose monetary damages or require the defendant to pay the plaintiff a fine of $3500. The key to these consequences is that injunctive relief comes first.  According to Colorado Newsline, Ortiz commented, “Injunctive relief is making it so that it’s not punitive: If you’re not accessible, just fix it.”

Handling it all

Because the law is robust and includes all digital content like PDFs, compliance seems overwhelming. Funneling all this content through IT departments would create a bottleneck and delay full compliance, possibly past the 2024 deadline. Distributing the responsibility among all content creators allows IT departments, webmasters, and other accessibility experts to work on the more difficult coding tasks. 

Procuring an easy-to-use software like Equidox, which automates much of the PDF accessibility process, means any content creator can make their PDFs accessible even without any accessibility experience. With easy-to-use software, they can work through archived existing PDFs and can make all their content accessible going forward as well. Automated features such as Page Match and Zone Transfer also allow users to easily replicate tag structures from existing similar pages or entire documents.

Equidox also works with a consulting agency that can help you manage digital accessibility for your entire website, making the short deadline more attainable.

Ready to see how Equidox PDF accessibility solutions can help you comply with HB21-1110? Call Equidox at 216-529-3030 or click here to schedule your free, personalized demo.


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Nina Overdorff

Nina comes to Equidox with years of sales and marketing experience from a variety of industries and holds a BS in Language Arts Education. Nina has a passion for words, storytelling, and information, which she believes everyone should have access to regardless of ability. After spending time as a teacher with a blind student, she became much more aware of the limitations and abilities of web accessibility, and how essential it is to those experiencing disabilities. “Being able to access information equally ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity for education, employment, and success in life.”

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Let's find a solution that will make complying with HB21-1110 easy for your organization. Contact us or call 216-529-3030 to schedule your free, personalized demo.