The Legislature finds that the use of interactive display terminals by state agencies is becoming a widespread means of access for employees and the public to obtain information available electronically, but that presentation of electronic data solely in a visual format is a barrier to access by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Individuals who are blind or visually impaired have the right to full participation in the life of the state, including the use of advanced technology which is purchased by the state for use by employees, program participants and members of the general public. The Legislature also recognizes that technological advances allow interactive control of computers and use of the information by visually impaired persons, but that nonvisual access is dependent on the purchase of hardware and software that is compatible with technology used for nonvisual access.
The following words have the meanings indicated:
(a) "Access" means the ability to receive, use and manipulate data and operate controls included in information technology.
(b) "Blind or visually impaired individual" means an individual who:
(1) Has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses or has a limited field of vision so that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than twenty degrees;
(2) Has a medically indicated expectation of visual deterioration; or
(3) Has a medically diagnosed limitation in visual functioning that restricts the individual's ability to read and write standard print at levels expected of individuals of comparable ability.
(c) "Information technology" means all electronic information processing hardware and software, including telecommunications.
(d) "Nonvisual" means synthesized speech, Braille and other output methods not requiring sight.
(e) "State agency" means the state or any of its departments, agencies or boards or commissions.
(f) "Telecommunications" means the transmission of information, voice, or data by radio, video or other electronic or impulse means.
(a) On or before September 1, 2001, the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration shall develop nonvisual access standards for information technology systems employed by state agencies that:
(1) Provide blind or visually impaired individuals with access to information stored electronically by state agencies by ensuring compatibility with adaptive technology systems so that blind and visually impaired individuals have full and equal access when needed; and
(2) Are designed to present information, including prompts used for interactive communications, in formats intended for both visual and nonvisual use, such as the use of text-only options.
(b) The Purchasing Division shall consult with state agencies and representatives of individuals who are blind or visually impaired in developing the nonvisual access standards described in subsection (a) of this section and the procurement criteria described in section four of this article.
(c) The head of each state agency shall establish a written plan and develop any proposed budget requests for implementing the nonvisual access standards for its agency at facilities accessible by the public.
(a) On or before January 1, 2002, the division shall approve minimum standards and criteria to be used in approving or rejecting procurements by state agencies for adaptive technologies for nonvisual access uses.
(b) Nothing in this article shall require the installation of software or peripheral devices used for nonvisual access when the information technology is being used by individuals who are not blind or visually impaired. Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the purchase of nonvisual adaptive equipment by a state agency.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, the applications, programs and underlying operating systems, including the format of the data, used for the manipulation and presentation of information shall permit the installation and effective use of and shall be compatible with nonvisual access software and peripheral devices.
(d) Compliance with the procurement requirements of this section with regard to information technology purchased prior to July 1, 2001, shall be achieved at the time of procurement of an upgrade or replacement of existing information technology equipment or software.