Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: May 3, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation to Change Virginians with Disabilities Act

RICHMOND—Governor Northam today vetoed House Bill 2296, which would change the Virginians with Disabilities Act (VDA) by requiring a claimant to provide at least 120 days of notification to financial entities prior to the commencement of a lawsuit regarding web accessibility.

The Governor’s full veto statement is below.

May 3, 2019

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 2296. This legislation changes the Virginians with Disabilities Act (VDA) by requiring a claimant to notify financial entities including banks, trusts, savings institutions, and credit unions, at least 120 days prior to commencement of a lawsuit regarding web accessibility.

This legislation recognizes that as more banking services move online, it is essential that websites are accessible for all Virginians, especially individuals with disabilities. The legislation takes a positive step in ensuring accessibility by establishing web content accessibility guidelines. However, the legislation also creates arbitrary delays in the administration of justice for individuals with disabilities. It creates onerous preconditions for the initiation of a lawsuit and shifts the burden of identifying VDA violations from covered entities to people with disabilities. Additionally, the bill will make it more difficult for people with disabilities to obtain legal representation to aid them in protecting their rights under the VDA. Finally, House Bill 2296 does not address the issue that it seeks to remedy. While the bill makes changes to the VDA, it does not and cannot override the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. With this in mind, I encourage stakeholders to work together to find a solution.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

 

Ralph S. Northam

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