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Federal Laws

Air Carrier Access Act
Metropolitan Airports Commission  
The Air Carrier Access Act is a federal law that applies mostly to airlines. The law regulates an airline's aircrafts and any potion of an airport that the airline owns, leases or controls. Airlines must ensure that deaf and hard of hearing people have prompt access to the same information it provides to other people. However the airline only needs to provide accessible communication services if a traveler who is deaf or hard of hearing alerts the airline that s/he needs additional services. In the areas owned or leased by an airline, televisions and video monitors must have captioning on at all times. The law applies to some but not all of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) operations. MAC controls the MSP airport, and is affected more by accessibility rules in the Americans with Disability Act than the ACAA law. Under the ADA, MAC must ensure effective communication when it applies to information about MAC's services or is information that is communicated with equipment or in a facility owned by MAC. MNCDHH provided in-depth consultation to MAC about how to implement ACAA. MAC invested a lot of time and money into making the MSP airport accessible for travelers that are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. For more information about accessibility at the MSP airport, visit the Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport website. To read the ACCA law, click on this description's heading.
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Americans with Disabilities Act
Justice Dept., U.S.  
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and states that people cannot be discriminated on the basis of a disability. There are five parts to the ADA, which includes laws concerning employment, public entities, public accommodations, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions. To find more information about the ADA visit the U.S. Department of Justice's website by clicking on this description's heading, "Americans with Disabilities Act." Another good resource is the National Association of the Deaf, which has a thorough summary of the ADA and information on how to file complaints about ADA violations. Visit the NAD's website here.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Rehabilitation Services Administration  
The stated purpose of the Rehabilitation Act is to "empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society." Some of the important rights established by the act are in sections 504 and 508. Section 504 prohibits organizations and employers that receive federal funding from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. Section 508 requires federally produced/owned electronic and information technology must be accessible for people with disabilities. One result of this section is that federally produced video needs to have closed captioning. To learn more about the Rehabilitation Act, click on this description's header "Rehabilitation Act of 1973" which will take you to the National Association of the Deaf's description of the law.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 is a federal law that creates new accessibility requirements for several technology areas. The following includes a brief description of the different sections within the new law. Section 102 requires that newly manufactured/imported telephones to be compatible with hearing aids. Section 103 expands the obligation to pay into the Telecommunications Relay Services Fund to all providers of IP-enabled communication services. In addition, 103 clarifies that telecommunication relay services should allow people with speech or hearing disabilities to use its services to communicate with all people, not just people without a hearing or speech disability. Section 104 requires Internet-based communication technology to be accessible by people with disabilities. Section 105 authorizes the creation of programs to distribute specialized equipment to help with telecommunications/Internet-based communication. This section also includes broadband services as potential services that can be covered in programs such as Lifeline and Linkup. Section 106 supports a committee to research and then recommend the best technologies and methods for people with disabilities to access emergency services (i.e. text messaging). Section 202 requires all devices that receive or display video and sound simultaneously to have closed captioning abilities. Section 203 requires video programming that is distributed or re-distributed on the Internet to have closed captioning and video description services available. It also requires non-visual access to on-screen emergency warnings. For more information on the law visit the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology website or read the law by clicking on this description's heading.
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