State Level Activities
State Leadership Activities
Program Goal Areas
Activities of the States Regarding Current and Planned Section 508 Activities
Last Updated: 5/14/02
The RESNA Technical Assistance Project encourages the AT Act Grantees to notify the T.A. Project on changes and updates to this report. Contact: email@example.com
The Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP) along with the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is currently working on passage of 508 legislation that is applicable to all state agencies and branches of government Currently the Arizona Government Information Technology Agency has adopted policies that apply to state agencies but excludes the university system, the Arizona Supreme Court, and the Arizona legislature. AzTAP will be working to have at least the university system and the Supreme Court in the legislation. In addition, when the guidelines for 508 take effect, the project will be working with the Government Information Technology agency and its advisory boards to ensure that similar guidelines will be adopted. AzTAP is conducting a statewide effort to educate consumers as well as legislators regarding the need for this legislation and to garner support for the bill.
Ensuring that California legislation and state agency practice comply with the requirements of section 508.
Addressing access to polling stations and voting machines, especially for persons with visual disabilities.
Currently involved in HB99-1362 to set standards for accessibility of state information for persons with visual impairments and SB99-165 to provide funding through the state library system for reading services for persons with visual impairments.
The project assisted in providing web accessibility resources to the state in the state's review of making the state system of web sites accessible. Under the initiative, passed on July 26, 2000, state agencies having a presence on the state's website, ConneCT, will incorporate the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0, which are among the most stringent accessibility standards available today. The new policy takes effect July 26, 2000, the tenth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The goal is for full accessibility to be met within 18 months. The bulk of the credit must go to Kathleen Anderson, Webmaster at the Comptroller's Office who chaired the sub-committee. The web site address for the CMAC Accessibility Subcommittee is: http://www.cmac.state.ct.us/access/; the current link to the State policy is: http://www.cmac.state.ct.us/access/policies/accesspolicy40.html
DATI has been asked to assist the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in making its procurement practices more responsive to access issues. This activity is one in which the project would like to see all branches of state government participate. With sufficient interest, DATI will host a conference for state agencies and business regarding accommodation through responsive procurement practices.
District of Columbia
Collaborated w/ DC Office Of Disability Affairs that provides oversight responsibility on disability issues in development of a 508 compliance policy directive for all DC government agencies
Facilitate full implementation of Section 508, electronic accessibility guidelines; using updated proposed standards developed by the Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee to the Access Board of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, when available.
The Illinois project conducted a session last year on accessibility at the State Agency Web Master Conference. The project met with one state agency director, and as a result, the state agency redesigned their web site to meet Bobby and W3C guidelines.
The Illinois AT Project's project director was appointed to the Illinois Community Technology Fund that was formed as a result of the Ameritech/SBC merger to take 1.7 million a year to distribute to not-for- profits serving rural and low income individuals to expand their technology/telecommunication skills. Now, as a result of the director serving on the Board, she has been able to include the AT focus for individuals with disabilities.
The project's work has resulted in HB1926 (Updated February 19, 2001)
ATTAIN, Inc. recently presented information on Section 508 at the Indiana Legislation 2001 Issues conference. ATTAIN, Inc. has also met with the State Department of Administration, Procurement Division regarding Section 508. The Indiana website, 'Access Indiana', is in the process of redesign. ATTAIIN, Inc. have met with those working on this redesign and they plan to meet at least Priority 1 of Bobby, see www.cast.org/bobby.
For more specific information on Indiana's activities, see:
In 1998, IPAT began a collaborative initiative with the Iowa Department of the Blind (DOB) on a project to increase access to information on the Internet by persons with disabilities, including state, county and city web pages. This project began when the Governor requested the Director of the DOB to make a presentation to the heads of the state agencies about the importance of accessible web pages. The DOB developed a module on how to create an accessible web page that was broadly disseminated by IPAT and the DOB and is available on IPAT's web site. In addition, the DOB provided technical assistance to more than 40 websites identified as providing important services or employment information for persons with disabilities.
Furthermore, IPAT has worked with the web master programs at two state universities to include principles of universal design into their training programs.
ATK (Assistive Technology for Kansans) expressed concern about the lack of clarity of the state's role in meeting their Section 508 obligations during a nationwide request for public comment. The Division of Information Systems of Kansas requested that ATK appoint three qualified persons with disabilities to the State Electronic Information Technology (EIT) subcommittees. ATK staff monitor the activities of the EIT Board. The EIT Board and its subcommittees are responsible for development, implementation, and evaluation of all electronic information dissemination for the state. A staff member from ATK serves on the state's Web Accessibility Subcommittee [http://da.state.ks.us/itab/was/].
Kansas' ITEC Policy 1210 was enacted on October 26, 2000.
The Kentucky Assistive Technology Services Network (KATS) helped to successfully pass an 'Information Technology' Bill through an amendment to SB 315, a larger bill to create the Governor's Office of Technology.
The amendment requires state and state-assisted entities to insure that information technology equipment and software used by the entity provide access to individuals who are blind or visually impaired and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The amendment requires technology access clauses in contracts for the purchase of information technology; requires the state Finance and Administration Cabinet to develop the contractual language and non-visual access standards; establishes that existing equipment when upgraded be brought into compliance and would permit a person injured by a violation of access requirements to seek injunctive relief. The bill with the amendment was signed by Kentucky's Governor, Paul Patton in April.
LATAN is actively involved in efforts to assure that the state's agency and department purchasing polices and practices for electronic and information technology are in compliance with Section 508.
In 1997, MaineCITE sponsored a statewide conference of national experts. Present at this conference were Maine State government staff, businesses, and education and disability leaders on the topic of information technology, universal design, and access for people with disabilities. The conference 'Universal Design: Maine's Opportunity to Lead the Way to Information Access for Everyone' produced a white paper, which concluded that accessible information technology is vital for Maine to maximize economic potential and to be globally competitive. The conference provided the context and framework for future actions related to accessibility. The findings and recommendations from the conference are found at www.mainecite.org/docs/wpaper.htm.
In January 1998, the State Government Information Services Policy Board (ISPB) recognized the State's commitment to meeting the needs of its employees and citizens with disabilities by adopting the Computer Application Program Accessibility Standard, an ADA Resolution, and by appointing a Standing Accessibility Subcommittee to the Policy Board's technical advisory committee, the Information Services Mangers Group (ISMG). The Subcommittee's charge was to:
Subcommittee membership includes MaineCITE project staff, state employees, and representatives from community-based disability organizations. The majority of members have disabilities.
In June 1998, under leadership of the State Government Division of Purchases, all state contracts and requests for proposals for information technology required that the Computer Application Program Accessibility Standards be included.
In November 1998 the Accessibility Subcommittee organized and supported a universal design and accessibility awareness seminar for more than fifty state government systems analysts and development teams as well as contracted vendors. Workshop evaluations recommended:
In July 1999, MaineCITE, with the support from Maine's Chief Information Officer and Director of Purchases, invited representatives from New York and Missouri to a meeting to explore the feasibility of an organized national collaboration among professional associations to facilitate recommendation of national consensus standards for electronic and information technology. The States Information Technology Access Coalition (SITAC) was represented by the Association of Tech Act States (ATAP), the National Association of State Information Resource Executives (NASIRE), and the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO).
In November 1999, the Accessibility Subcommittee reviewed its current charter and made recommendations to broaden the subcommittee's structure and scope of work. The subcommittee also recommended a state government staff position totally devoted to accessibility be established. The Information Services Policy Board approved the revisions. Membership to the subcommittee now includes representation from higher education and additional state agencies. It meets monthly and continues to discuss and make recommendations to the Managers Group and Policy Board. The subcommittee's scope of work includes:
In 1999, MaineCITE established an Accessibility web page whose link button appears on the Maine State Government Home Page www.state.me.us.
During 1999 and 2000, MaineCITE worked in collaboration with InforME, a contracted private vendor, that acts as the portal to Maine State Government. Accessibility is written into the company's contract. Activities include review of web pages being developed by the company to assure compliance and arrangement for InforME staff and selected state government web masters participation in existing on line training opportunities related to accessible web design.
In November 2000, MaineCITE submitted a web policy for review and approval by the Information Services Policy Board. Action is expected in January 2001.
During 1999 and 2000, the project continued to work with selected state government managers who have responsibility for validating and approving information technology contracts to monitor compliance with the Computer Applications Program Accessibility Standard.
MD TAP has been working to make the Internet more accessible to consumers and service providers and to assure that sites on the Web have useful information for Maryland user. MD TAP's own website meets or exceeds current accessibility guidelines. MD TAP's Executive Director serves on the Citizens' Equity and Access Task Force of the Governor's Information Technology Board and in this capacity promotes the accessibility features of state government information system and procurements.
MD TAP will represent Maryland's disabilities communities at decision-making levels of State Government in regard to information Technology. The Director of Office for Individuals with Disabilities will recommend, to the Governor, key personnel to appoint to committees designated to create policy for Information Technology for the State. The Director 's office will monitor legislation related to AT and individuals with disabilities. The MD TAP Director will be an active member of the Maryland's Governor's Information Technology Board.
Exec. Order 348 signed 1/1/93 establishes state policy for access to electronic equipment & IT for citizens' w/disabilities.
Trained 80 ADA coordinators on Section 508.
Developed 508-compliant PC Standards through the Gov.'s Advisory Council on IT.
Made GSA/COCA's Managing Information Resources manual available electronically & in print to state agencies upon request.
Provided TA to state agencies in purchasing 508-compliant equipment.
Provided TA in development of amendment to Sec. 508 on federal level. Advocated the U.S. DOE develop policy guidance to the state DOE re: accessibility of educational technology and widely distributed Sec. Riley's letter to MA Special Education Depts.
Two Local Projects are working with county library systems to provide systemic access and accommodations to computers and Internet. Project increased ability to identify and train other staff on accommodating people with disabilities in accessing computers and the Internet in public libraries. Public libraries are providing accommodations for access to computers and the Internet.
The web site www.copower.org has become a model of accessibility with many agencies and organizations contacting the project for technical assistance. Recently, the project met with a group that coordinates all the state of Michigan web sites and discussed ongoing consultation regarding accessibility.
The Minnesota STAR program was instrumental in working with the state on a DRAFT of the Final-Minnesota Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy. It was submitted for consideration and could be used as an example by other projects but it has not yet been adopted in Minnesota. The Office of Technology, state Webmasters, and others continue to work toward agreement on a statewide policy statement and the technical guidance to accompany it. Project continues to advocate for full compliance through a variety of activities within the department of Administration including:
Updates appropriate methods to implement Section 508 at Quarterly Operations Reviews with Executive Team.
Distributes World Wide Web Consortium standards and resource materials-to State Procurement Officer and Executive Team of the Department of Administrations.
Trains Materials Management personnel, the state's procurement workers, regarding procurement of accessible software and hardware at in-service training and an annual conference for 600 state procurement and accounting personnel.
The Governor's Advisory Council on Technology for people with Disabilities supported S.F. 3497/ H.F. 3149, which mandated state procurement of hardware and software, which is accessible to individuals with visual impairments. Governor Carlson signed this law in May of 1998. Follow up activities have included Training of the State's Web Masters on Accessibility, training of Material Management staff, reaching an agreement with the office of Technology to support a website on Non visual accessibility, garnering the support of the Secretary of State ensuring the accessibility of their Web site. A resource pool of consumers has been started to check accessibility and to serve as consultants and trainers on nonvisual access. The Secretary of State has documented her assurance that her office will comply with website accessibility and has addressed accessibility when identifying the specifications for replacement of the agency's computer hardware and software.
Telecommunications access for State, Counties, and Cities
STAR has offered to provide technical assistance to all local levels of government and businesses on telecommunications access. In particular, STAR has recruited speakers who are blind or visually impaired to present on the 1998 nonvisual access status. STAR has contacted the Minnesota Association of Counties to dissuade them from seeking a wavier from the nonvisual access law by offering technical support. STAR has partnered with SSB, the Office of Technology, and the National Federal for the Blind to advance telecommunications access in Minnesota. To date, these efforts have been very well received. An employee from 3M has spoken from the perspective of an employee with blindness describing how advances in technology for some create barriers for others.
Training for State Procurement and Accounting Personnel:
STAR was invited to present to the Department of Administration Materials Management staff that enforce procurement policy. STAR provides information on legal mandates such as Section 508 the Rehab Act, the ADA, and Minnesota's nonvisual access statues. STAR also provided resource information to aid the staff in meeting their customer's needs for software and hardware information. This lead to an invitation to present at the annual Spring Fling on accessibility issues in purchasing software and hardware. Accounting software frequently uses form-based templates, which are difficult for screen readers and therefore can create barriers to employment or access information for an employee or consumer with visual impairment.
STAR conducted training for the state webmasters on how to create accessible web pages. STAR recruited consumers willing to test WebPages from home. The first Web Page consumers were involved in was for the new Governor. The new Secretary of State has given her assurances that her office intends to fully comply and requires accessibility in the purchase of new technology hardware and software. Her office alone is looking at $6,000,000 in technology replacement over the next biennium.
The Minnesota STAR program conducts a course for State Web Designers called 'Universal Accessibility Web Design' To date, the Minnesota STAR program has trained 163 web masters, including web managers at the state IT Symposium on December 8, 2000. The web masters work for at least 28 different state agencies. In addition, two web masters from big business have audited this course. The project sees little resistance and quick adoption of accessibility design features. The Minnesota Department of Administration has posted the project's accessibility policy and guidelines to their web site.
MATP and Office Technology Work In Tandem to Assure 508 Compliance:
Project staff assisted the Office of Information Technology in assessing the accessibility of Missouri state government's custom designed software; voice automated phone systems, and websites. Numerous difficulties in accessing state services via amplified telephone and/or relay services were discovered during a survey of state government voice automated systems undertaken by Project staff. Analysis of state agency websites also uncovered an array of problems, especially for visually impaired users. In both cases, a report on the accessibility barriers encountered was prepared and shared with the Office of Information Technology. In reference to custom designed software, the state's chief information officer implemented an accessibility review of each custom designed program being considered by state agencies during this year. Such an endeavor assures each program is accessible up-front, while also making agencies and software developers aware of access issues.
Advisory Committee of the Federal Access Board.
This committee will be instrumental in the development of standards for accessible electronic technology.
Council Comments on Federal Telecommunications Services:
The Missouri Assistive Technology Council submitted commentary to the FCC regarding rulemaking for Telecommunications Relay Services, Speech-to-Speech Services and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. In reference to Section 255, the Council encourages the FCC to adopt in full the Access Board's guidelines regarding equipment accessibility and adapt them to the extent necessary to appropriately address telecommunications services accessibility. Regarding relay services, the Council supported the concept of speech-to-speech, but pointed out that in order to assure accurate information transfer, speech-to-speech communication assistants will need to have the skills and knowledge necessary to be able to understand the speech and language skill of individuals with all types of speech production and expressive language disorders. Final FCC rules are pending.
Nebraska developed Technology Access Standards, LB 352, Sec. 19 (2000), which requires the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Nebraska Information Technology Commission, and the Chief Information Officer, in consultation with other state agencies (which includes the Nebraska Assistive Technology Partnership) to develop a technology access clause to be included in all contracts entered into by state agencies on and after January 1, 2001. The Nebraska Information System (NIS) published a response to questions about the accessibility of their new software system for Nebraska's state government as a result of a seminar the Nebraska AT Partnership sponsored in June 2002.
The Nebraska AT Partnership has a grant from the Great Plains DBTAC (Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center) to provide technical assistance to all state agencies on making electronic and information technology accessible. The project is working to make state employees aware of what the requirements are and how to meet those requirements when designing accessible information technology.
TARP has continued its representation on behalf of New Jersey Protection and Advocacy on the NJ Relay Service Advisory Board in order to monitor access to NJ's telecommunications relay service. This ensures that community service providers understand the use of the relay service and, when necessary, receive training on the benefits of this service. As New Jersey Protection and Advocacy's representative on the Relay Advisory Board, TARP can vote on proposed changes in service provision and make comments on regulations. TARP participated in making recent changes to regulations, which designate a new TTY relay access number, making it easier for customers, service providers, hospitals, and businesses to use. Monitoring access and participating in regulatory change has increased access to the TTY system across the state.
The Accessibility Guide to Electronic and Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities has been updated to address Section 508. This guide can be used to identify, determine and plan electronic and information technology accessibility for employers or consumers with disabilities or functional limitations in order to perform a job or use the services of a state agency or contract funded activity. The guide includes identification of disability needs, the determination of electronic and information technology accessibility accommodations, and a section on the development of an accessibility compliance plan. The plan includes a set of worksheets and planning guidelines for implementing compliance regarding the agency's capabilities.
Section 508 Compliance:
TRAID currently co-chairs the OFT's Information Technology Access Steering Committee. This committee has established three workgroups: policy, training and education, and marketing and public relations. Each group is currently formulating a work plan to improve access to information technology for persons with disabilities.
Staff also respond to issues regarding the impact and implications of the implementation of several systems that were developed without the consideration of 508 policies, and provide information and referral to agencies with questions on access issues regarding information technology.
Advanced Telecommunication Fund:
The NCATP director was appointed by the Lt. Governor to the Information Resource Management Commission (IRMC) Access Workgroup, a group established to improve electronic access in State Government for people with disabilities. The recommendations from the workgroup have been accepted by the IRMC Task Force. Areas addressed in the recommendations include: software, web pages, hardware, new technologies and statewide initiatives, support, training, understanding of law and policy, training on accessibility, planning process, project certification, continuation of the accessibility workgroup, post project completion, public access to electronic information and technology, scope of compliance, and new employees. The following recommendations are excerpts from the Final Report of the IRMC Workgroup on Accessibility:
The state assembled a small workgroup to address website accessibility and the North Dakota Interagency Program for Assistive Technology has worked with this workgroup to expand the focus of that work group to include all IT. On September 25, 2001, North Dakota issued its website accessibility policy.
IPAT staff provides information and technical assistance on an ongoing basis with regards to accessibility of IT to the State Procurement Officer and Director of IT services. Information Technology Accessibility: A Guide for Assuring Equal Access for People with Disabilities was printed in response to their information needs. This publication provides recommendations to assist entities with ensuring their Information Technology is accessible to people with disabilities until state or federal accessibility standards are established. North Dakota Public Accommodations-Discriminatory Practices Law (Sec. 14-02.4-14 NDCC), cited within this document, addresses accessibility for people with physical or mental disabilities to services and facilities.
The Cleveland office will conduct a critique of accessibility of the AT Ohio web site for consumers. This will be done by surveying selected individuals with disabilities and developing a report on their feedback. The objective of this initiative is to make sure that AT Ohio is as accessible to as many types of disability as possible. The Northwest Region will establish web site that will be a more focused page on those resources and services available specific to the region. It will serve as an efficient means of disseminating information in a quick and inexpensive manner. This page will also have information about AT that is available within the Northwest region and provide information on regional agencies and services that are available.
ABLE Tech has worked diligently with the Oklahoma State Department of Education on assistive technology and information technology for the past five years. As a result of the project's work, there are many activities, including dissemination of accessible IT information to all 547 local school districts, on-going collaborative training initiatives, and statewide information/referral that have produced positive outcomes for students with disabilities in Oklahoma.
ABLE Tech provided to the Department of Central Services personnel training with specific Section 508 curriculum for use in their certification program. ABLE Tech also provided Section 508 language for the Department of Central Services to include in their purchasing procedure policy. ABLE Tech hase also been quite involved in the statewide effort to assist the One-Stop Career Shop sites with regard to IT accessibility.
In 1994, the governor issues very specific assurances that the state would comply with Section 508. These include statements on accessibility of work areas and equivalent access. It describes in broad terms functional requirements for equipment and which department will provide guidance and oversight. It also delineates what department will issue purchase guidelines, which will conduct a needs assessment, and lists which contractors, including TALN, that will provide information and training.
Efforts to increase the availability of devices for telecommunication culminated in the passage of the Telecommunications Devices Distribution Act (Act 34 of 1995) signed into law July 1995. Additional telephone line usage taxes were levied on PA telephone customers effective July 1996, but repealed in 1998 due to underutilization of the program and accumulated revenue in excess of one million dollars. The Telecommunication Device Distribution Program (TDDP) is administered by the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and implemented through OVR's contact with the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC).
PIAT's efforts in this area have been to improve access to the program and assure implementation consistent with the intent of the legislation. PIAT is a member of the TDDP Task Force that also includes representatives of the OVR, the SILC, the Pennsylvania Telephone Association, and the Public Utilities Commission. PIAT is presently involved with development of implementation, outreach, and evaluation activities, which will increase awareness of this law and increase the probability that individuals secure and maintain possession of assistive technology devices.
As of September 2000, the Pennsylvania Office of Information Technology Policy Bulletin has announced that all Pennsylvania state inter- and intra-net sites are expected to comply with Section 508 by 6/30/01.
According to the Pennsylvania Initiative for Assistive Technology project director, Amy Goldman, "I believe these are very strong, and are written in an informational way, as well. We are especially delighted with the leading role of our staff, Len Kasday."
The National Federation of the Blind of Puerto Rico approved a resolution stating that the Vocational Rehabilitation Agency is not providing appropriate services for the incorporation of the blind population into the workforce. The resolution demands that VR create a sound and state-of-the-art curriculum, which will adequately prepare consumers who are blind using high technology systems, which will increase their competitiveness in the workforce.
Various activities are being accomplished in Puerto Rico to improve the access of individuals with disabilities to telecommunications, among them:
-Meetings with Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (the largest financial institution in the Island) to improve access to their Web Page, automated services and ATM machines.
-Meeting with personnel from the Government of Puerto Rico Electronic Systems Office to improve access to information kiosks. At the present, an option for close captioning is being included in the programming for the kiosks adaptation. PRATP submitted recommendations for universal access to be included in the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Law. Presently, the Telecommunications Committee is evaluating the request.
The project also has Section 508 and accessibility info in Spanish on its PRATP web site. PRATP is also planning a series of training on Section 508 in Spanish.
SC Assistive Technology Project, Center for Disability Resources, USC School of Medicine is working with the SC Office of Information Resources under a newly passed state Proviso(PSC)42.7 as a member of the SC Access to Information Technology Partnership Coordinating Committee. The partnership was formed to begin the process of making sure that its government information technology is accessible and useable by South Carolinians with disabilities. SCATP is participating in a variety of ways.
For additional information, please contact the SCATP at 803-935-5273 or Evelyn Evans, Director, at 803-935-5340.
DakotaLink is working with other state agencies to develop a telecommunications policy for the state. It is expected that the policy will describe the state's intention to comply with the federally adopted laws and regulations concerning individuals with disabilities and access to electronic telecommunication equipment. This policy will affect all state employees as well as the general public who utilize state services. Developed an AT list of accessible devices used by the state purchasing office.
A grant from the Alliance for Technology Access was given to East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC) to address providing access to Internet services to rural and underrepresented populations. These efforts will assist in compliance with Section 504 and 508 in regard to issues related to access.
Electronic Information Access:
- Request for proposals issued by the Texas Telecommunication Infrastructure Fund (TIF) now include required assurances, guidelines and training requirements pertaining to access by persons with disabilities
- Texas Civil Rights Project (legal services organization) now advocates for Internet access by person with disabilities and is willing to pursue ADA related litigation on behalf of persons denied access.
- Curricula have been developed by project for use in training required of TIF grantees.
- Consumer checklists developed and provided by project enable persons with disabilities and families of students with disabilities to evaluate Internet access in their local libraries and schools.
- Disability advocacy organizations are gaining recognition and knowledge of Internet access issues concerning their constituents.
- Vendors of equipment to school and libraries have increased awareness and knowledge of requirements to provide for accessibility.
Access to work site accommodations to obtain and maintain employment:
In collaboration with the Texas Pass Network, project is increasing the use of the SSI Plans for Achieving Self-Support for individuals who need assistive technology for employment purposes.
- HB 633 which has been developed and promoted by the project has recently passed the Texas legislature and been sent to the governor. HB 633 promotes rehabilitation and employment agencies' purchase and transfer of appropriate assistive technology with graduating and transitioning special education students.
- Increase website access for persons with disabilities, particularly in compliance with Section 508 pertaining to state government websites.
- Project evaluation of web sites found that of 178 examined by project, none met required or recommended standards of Worldwide Web Consortium; project provided a 'Top Ten list of website access problems' that was disseminated to all agencies in conjunction with Governor's Committee on Person with Disabilities. Individual technical assistance is continuing.
The associated guidelines for state websites
The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) is working with the state Chief Information Officer's office to ensure that electronic information on the WWW is accessible as per the proposed Section 508 guidelines. Where possible, the project encourages accessibility as per the WC3 guidelines. UATP has reviewed the initial draft, made policy revision suggestions, and will present/answer questions of state agency web masters at their meeting in January 2001.
Project staff has contacted the state procurement officer's office, but, as of this update, no response has been received. In 1994, this office wrote an assurance to the AT Act lead agency that it would ensure that information technology (software and hardware) purchased with state funds would be accessible to people with disabilities. Necessary, reasonable accommodations, and/or adaptations would be made, as needed.
Since 1994, when Virginia became the second state government to establish a web site, the Commonwealth has been a leader in using technology to deliver information and services to her citizens through the Internet. State agencies and institutions now provide a wealth of information and interactive services online. These efforts have continued and intensified under the direction of Executive Order 51(1999), which called in part for the development of plans by each Executive Branch agency and institution of higher education for the delivery or expansion of services through the Internet. While there has been significant progress in implementing the recommendations of the Governor's Commission on Information Technology, it is clear that the Commonwealth is only beginning the deployment of "electronic government."
The Virginia Assistive Technology System has been involved with cross agency task forces on the Governor's Executive Order 51 and 65, and functions in an oversight role to insure Virginia's compliance with Section 508. These task forces will help establish the need for information and interactive transaction services, design the appearance and layout of interactive output, provide input on policies, and provide input on the nature of any fees that may apply to new business-related interactive application. VATS will provide input to provide oversight and insure compliance with Section 508. It is probably just a matter of time before procurement rules for the Commonwealth of Virginia are affected. Just as Virginia is building principles of accessibility using the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and the Center for Applied Special Technology's Bobby Approval. These standards or a variant of them could be the standards in the Commonwealth.
WATA provides technical assistance and training and consultation to state agencies on the implementation of Executive Order 96-04 to improve accessibility of their electronic and information technology. Ten agencies have implemented changes based on WATA assistance. For example, WATA has worked with the Department of Social and Health Services Division on Aging and Adult Services regarding the accessible design and implementation of a customer service Web site. WATA provided technical assistance to develop a model web site for the Department of Services for the Blind and another for the Developmental Disabilities Council. WATA has developed accessible technology solutions, training materials, and web-based information on accessibility.
WATA is monitoring a state Department of Information Services project 'Access Washington' an interactive web-based product, as an earlier state information kiosk was not accessible and was the subject of a lawsuit against the state.
WATA provides technical assistance and consultation to the Office of the Secretary of State regarding voting solutions for individuals who cannot use paper ballots. WATA had collaborated with the state Council for the Blind to demonstrate a prototype for an electronic ballot.
In 2001, West Virginia passed SB 476 in the legislature. Other advocacy groups in West Virginia plan to broaden the language of the IT Access Act to include other disabilities.
A summary of Section 508 requirements was developed through a collaborative effort with the Wyoming Protection and Advocacy System during 1996. Systems change and advocacy initiatives regarding 508 were initiated. Training was provided to the State of Wyoming Division of Procurement Services which has resulted in better state practices. In 1998, the Governor of Wyoming signed a letter of assurance to work in partnership with WYNOT on activities necessary for the implementation of Section 508. This assurance letter has resulted in state purchasing personnel buying only equipment that is accessible or can be made accessible. WYNOT continues to provide information, training, and technical assistance regarding Section 508. Currently, WYNOT is part of a collaborative project which provides training on web site accessibility to key web developers and administrators in the Wyoming postsecondary education system. WYNOT is initiating plans to broaden the scope of its training and technical assistance related to 508.
The National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and RESNA. The grant (Grant #H224B050003; CFDA 84.224B) is funded under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended and administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education.
This website is developed with grant funds. The information contained on these pages does not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education or the Grantee and no official endorsement of the information should be inferred.