Montana Code Annotated 2014

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     18-5-601. Findings -- policy. (1) The legislature finds that:
     (a) the advent of the information age throughout the United States and around the world has resulted in lasting changes in information technology;
     (b) the use of interactive visual display terminals by the state is becoming a widespread means of access for public employees and the public to obtain information available electronically, but nonvisual access, whether by speech, Braille, or other appropriate means, has not been systematically incorporated into the procurement process for new information technology;
     (c) presentation of electronic data solely in a visual format is a barrier to access by individuals who are blind or visually impaired, preventing them from participating on equal terms in crucial areas of life, such as education and employment;
     (d) alternatives, including both software and hardware adaptations, have been created so that interactive control of computers and the use of the information presented are possible by both visual and nonvisual means;
     (e) the goals of the state in obtaining and deploying new forms of technology properly include universal access so that segments of society with particular needs, including individuals who are unable to use visual displays, will not be left out of the information age; and
     (f) although access to programs, technology, and information is provided for under other state and federal law and, in many instances, compels the installation and availability of nonvisual technology adaptations, access to information technology is most effectively accomplished at the point of procurement, ensuring that funds are expended on information technology designed to be readily adaptable for nonvisual access.
     (2) It is the policy of this state that all state programs and activities be conducted in accordance with the following principles:
     (a) Individuals who are blind or visually impaired have the right to full participation in the life of the state, including the use of information technology that is provided by the state for use by employees, program participants, and the public.
     (b) Technology purchased in whole or in part with funds provided by the state that is to be used for the creation, storage, retrieval, or dissemination of information and that is intended for use by employees, program participants, and the public must be accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

     History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 429, L. 2001.

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