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A2014-01: Regarding Accessibility of the State's Information Technology

Adopted in: 2014

Topics: Accessible Technology, Government

WHEREAS, Minnesota's Information Technology agency (MN.IT) has become the centralized agency in charge of procuring and implementing information technology for Minnesota state government and is therefore in charge of insuring that such technology is accessible to all; and

WHEREAS, due in large part to the leadership of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, the Minnesota legislature has adopted a strong law (Minn. Stat. § 16E.03 subd. 9)  which mandates that all information technology be accessible to state employees as well as members of the public; and

WHEREAS, MN.IT has procured a license for Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and intends to roll it out to all state agencies in the near future; and

WHEREAS, state agencies intend to expand their use of SharePoint, not only internally but also externally, having outside contractors interact with the state through SharePoint; and

WHEREAS, SharePoint is not accessible to blind individuals using assistive technology because SharePoint does not allow such individuals to use critical aspects of the program with substantially equivalent ease of use thereby making it difficult to do important parts of their job compently; and

WHEREAS, although MN.IT has been examining how to make SharePoint accessible, it has not adopted any solution; and

WHEREAS, even though it has no plan to deal with the barriers Sharepoint creates for blind employees, nonetheless, MN.IT apparently plans to roll out SharePoint and does not know when accessibility will be achieved; and

WHEREAS, SharePoint is not the only problem in that there are several other information technology packages that have been procured which are not accessible; and

WHEREAS, The State of Minnesota has significant economic clout that could force outside vendors to provide accessible information technology but has not been exercising that power; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this 2nd day of November, 2014 in the city of New Ulm, Minnesota, that this organization insist that Minnesota's Information Technology agency (MN.IT) take all necessary steps to make Microsoft SharePoint accessible to blind state employees (and anyone else using SharePoint to interact with the State) and cease further expansion of its use until this has been accomplished; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that the State of Minnesota, through MN.IT, exercise its leadership and fully enforce the information technology law it has adopted by requiring that all information technology used by state employees or by the public be accessible in a nonvisual manner; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the State of Minnesota to procure information technology only when the State has verified through thorough user testing that said technology is accessible nonvisually; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the State to conduct a full accessibility audit to determine which of its technology is not accessible and adopt plans to remedy these issues.

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