Meanwhile in Minnesota, friend and disability advocate Noah McCourt files lawsuits claiming city and county websites violate both state and federal disability law.

Photo credit.

It’s always instructive to check in on Noah McCourt. You’ll recall that in 2015, Noah and I got to know each other when he ran unsuccessfully for 6th district council (GOP) in New Albany. He later moved back to Minnesota and has stayed very much involved.

Even from afar, I’m richly enjoying Noah’s principled activism. Who says young people don’t get it?

Not me.

First lawsuits over disabled access to websites make their way to Minnesota, by Tad Vezner (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Echoing a recent trend in other states, for the first time a lawsuit has been filed in Minnesota alleging that websites — in this case, belonging to a county and couple of cities — violate disability law.

Much like lawsuits demanding such things as wheelchair ramps and handicap parking, the suits claim the defendants’ digital real estate is so inhospitable it denies access.

Late last month, Noah J. McCourt, a disability advocate with autism from Waconia, sued Carver County as well as the cities of Norwood Young America and Chanhassen in federal court, claiming their websites violated both state and federal disability law.

“I really think that this kind of issue is really a question of who we want to be as a community. Do we want a community that says we’re open to business or we’re closed?” said McCourt, who noted that he has 10 other disability-related suits pending against Carver County.

McCourt claims that the county and cities are violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, and a lesser-known federal law called the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which makes it illegal for entities to deny people with disabilities access to “programs or activities” that receive federal funding.

Officials with Carver County and Norwood Young America declined comment on the suits, noting they typically do not comment on pending litigation. Chanhassen officials did not immediately return a call for comment Friday …