Action Alert: January 12, 2022


January 12, 2022 | by Amber Smock

Support the Illinois Legislative Accessibility Act

Access Living friends and allies,

The opportunity to engage directly with your elected officials is one of the most important parts of our democracy. However, at the state level, many legislatures cannot fully engage with constituents with disabilities because in-person and/or remote proceedings are not accessible. This year, we want to change that in the State of Illinois.

For many years, advocates with disabilities have struggled with access to Illinois legislative offices and proceedings. Our State Capitol building and other key legislative buildings pre-date the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Illinois legislature’s website does not provide a way for the public to request reasonable accommodations for visits or legislative proceedings. The legislature’s live footage of its floor proceedings are not captioned, and typically neither are Zoom proceedings. There are no official disability logistics liaisons for either the House or the Senate. Despite these challenges, people with disabilities have “made it work,” but it is time for the Illinois Legislature to step up.

We need the Legislative Accessibility Act (SB180/HB855). 

It is beyond time for an active, ongoing process to phase in accessibility updates and ensure that the public can effectively engage with their state elected officials. The Legislative Accessibility Act would:

  1. Ensure that the House and the Senate designate a staffer who would coordinate disability access logistics for their respective chambers
  2. Create a reasonable accommodation request process for the legislature’s website, through which the public can request reasonable accommodations for hearings, meetings or visits
  3. Establish a working group to create an accessibility plan to phase in accessibility upgrades

If you live in Illinois, we need your help! Please let your State legislators know that we need to pass the Legislative Accessibility Act THIS YEAR. You can use this easy link to send an email. If you plan to connect with your legislators this spring in Illinois, please help make them aware of this bill.

Let’s help make sure that the Illinois legislative process will not leave anyone behind. Please share this action alert with your friends and colleagues. Thank you for your advocacy.