August, 2005

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IT Accessibility Committee Meeting Notes
August 22, 2005
COB - Conference Room 300

Members:
Pauline Lamontagne, Chair
Carolyn Bebee, Co-Chair
Kathy Powers
Kathy Record
Floyd White
Ellen Wood - not able to attend
Eric Dibner
Bruce Prindall
Leigh Wilkinson - not able to attend
Val Wood - not able to attend
Alan Parks

GUEST: Jon Steuerwalt

Agenda Item #1: Annual Retreat Reminder

DISCUSSION: Members were reminded of the upcoming annual retreat being held on Monday, September 12, 2005 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Pine Tree State Arboretum in the Viles Conference Room. Morning brunch and afternoon lunch will be provided.

ACTION: Subcommittees were asked to prepare documentation of their accomplishments and upcoming goals and forward them to Pauline prior to the September retreat.

Agenda Item #2: Do we want to move forward with an Accessibility Law for the State of Maine?

DISCUSSION: The topic of an accessibility law for Maine was deferred to questions from the Committee, discussing the merits of doing this, possibility of some push back, had the CIO reviewed it and does the CIO have any response; concerns of costs, possibly giving up skill sets already accustomed to, anticipating the need for making things accessible and building an IT environment that is conducive to that.

Other concerns discussed were:

  • Who would be the sponsor(s)? We need high level support.
  • The need for accessibility funds to push this forward
  • This being a major effort, need to get buy in from the CIO, Commissioner, Legislative Counsel to help prepare the legislative document (bill)
  • The need for legislative sponsor(s) and co-sponsor(s)
  • Need for support from the Governor's Office
  • Need to consider "Enforcement of the Law"
  • A law would be the "Tip of the Iceberg", an education process and all stakeholders would need to get involved in the process.
  • Would require an implementation plan that would include training and education.
  • The state is moving forward in a positive way for web accessibility, however, we need to also focus on software application accessibility. A law would provide software application accessibility.
  • A law would, at a minimum, include the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of Maine State Government.
  • Software application accessibility could be included as part of the agency portfolios.
  • There is not structure in place for software application development especially as it relates to accessibility.
  • With the changing of high level government positions, we need a framework in place that will stay.
  • What are the next steps for this Committee? See the action items below.

Recommendations: Committee put together a package for the Governor's Council demonstrating the accomplishments made regarding web accessibility and the accessibility needs for software applications. Put a case study together identifying issues we have now that are not accessible.

Action Items:

  • Set aside time at the September retreat meeting to prepare presentation on what is solid, where the gaps are, and what a law could do. Build a foundation with recommendations from the Accessibility Law Subcommittee report.
  • Kathy Record meet with Dick, make sure he reads the report and see what his thoughts are on an accessibility law for Maine State Government, report back to the Committee.
  • Invite Dick at the October meeting (Carmen did put this on Dick's schedule).
  • Floyd will meet with Dick Thompson and Stephanie Parker on agency portfolio management and bring in software application accessibility as part of the portfolio. This might be the stream by which to test whether applications will be tested for accessibility.

Future Action Item: With the CIO's support, bring to DAFS' Commissioner for her support also.

Advantages of a proposed law:

1. The proposed law would extend the requirement that IT resources be accessible to all three branches of state government.

2. The proposed law would institutionalize the requirement for accessibility rather than have that requirement be dependent upon the priorities of the administration that's in power.

3. By adopting Section 508 compliance as one of the acceptable standards for accessibility, the proposed law would serve to further reinforce the requirements of Section 508 and provide further incentive to IT vendors to comply with those requirements.

Agenda Item #3: Charter

With a few recommended changes, Kathy Record will revise the charter and send out to the Committee for "final" review. The final draft of the Charter will be brought before the CIO Council at its September 1st meeting.

Agenda Item #4: Subcommittee Updates

The Membership subcommittee is working on two (2) awards: 1) Leadership award and 2) Special Project award. The Subcommittee will draft the content to request nominations and when final will forward to the ISMG, CIO Council, ADA Coordinators, and others as needed. Nominations will be brought before the IT Accessibility Committee. We will be going broad with award nominations. This will allow for visibility and awareness of what is going on out there for accessibility. Carmen will work on getting a plaque designed for the awards.

Recommendation: Research the possibility of having the Governor give out the awards. Need to bring accessibility successes and needs to the Governor's attention.

NexTalk: The process is going well within the Department of Labor.

HiSoft: Has the case study for HiSoft been finalized? Need to send out the "final" case study to the entire Committee.
Action Item: Pauline will check with Ellen Wood on this and get back to the whole Committee.

Web Coordinators (WCs): The WCs are using new tools such as Contribute and moving forward enthusiastically.
Action Item: Kathy Record will get the number of WCs for the Committee.

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