Regarding Accessibility of Minnesota State Technology

A2016-03: Regarding Accessibility of Minnesota State Technology

Adopted In : 2016

Topics : Accessible Technology

WHEREAS, in 2009, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation expanding the requirement that the state of Minnesota purchase software and establish processes that could be readily used by blind persons and other persons with disabilities as well as requiring the adoption of standards for such accessibility; and

Whereas, state and federal laws and regulations were in place much earlier than 2009 requiring that accessibility be a part of at least some of the processes used by the state of Minnesota; and

Whereas, the implementation of the SWIFT accounting package, the roll-out of SharePoint, and the implementation last year of the new Recruiting Solutions system for applying for state jobs all had significant accessibility shortcomings that were not addressed until after implementation and that still remain unresolved in many instances; and

Whereas, a recent communication from MN.IT proudly announced a “New & Improved Service Desk Ticketing Tool - COMING SOON” that would allow state employees to get help from MN.IT but also flatly stated that the software does not work with the current version of the JAWS screen reader and Internet Explorer; and

Whereas, the fact that the Remedy help desk software is not actually new but has been in some state agencies for some time now only makes the lack of planning for better means of accessing the software even harder to understand; and

Whereas, to our knowledge, the specific reasons have never been provided describing why SWIFT, SharePoint, Recruiting Solutions, and this latest software were the best choices even with their accessibility inadequacies, nor do we know if improvements to accessibility were required before purchasing; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, in convention assembled this second day of October in the City of Rochester, Minnesota, that we call upon MN.IT to explain to the public and to the affected state employees: (1) why, seven years after the enactment of legislation requiring the state to procure technology that is accessible, a help desk solution that is not accessible was chosen; (2) what discussions regarding accessibility took place before this option was chosen, and (3) what procedures are being developed to insure blind employees equal access to the help desk; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if this pattern of addressing accessibility after the fact continues that this organization take appropriate legal action.

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