A. The General Assembly finds that (i) the advent of the information age throughout the United States and around the world has resulted in lasting changes in information technology; (ii) use of interactive visual display terminals by state and state-assisted organizations is becoming a widespread means of access for employees and the public to obtain information available electronically, but nonvisual access, whether by speech, Braille, or other appropriate means has been overlooked in purchasing and deploying the latest information technology; (iii) 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; (iv) alternatives, including both software and hardware adaptations, have been created so that interactive control of computers and use of the information presented is possible by both visual and nonvisual means; and (v) the goals of the state in obtaining and deploying the most advanced forms of information technology properly include universal access so that the segments of society with particular needs (including individuals unable to use visual displays) will not be left out of the information age.
B. It is the policy of the Commonwealth that all covered entities shall conduct themselves in accordance with the following principles: (i) individuals who are blind or visually impaired have the right to full participation in the life of the Commonwealth, including the use of advanced technology that is provided by such covered entities for use by employees, program participants, and members of the general public, and (ii) technology purchased in whole or in part with funds provided by the Commonwealth to be used for the creation, storage, retrieval, or dissemination of information and intended for use by employees, program participants, and members of the general public shall be adaptable for access by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The implementation of nonvisual access technology under this chapter shall be determined on a case-by-case basis as the need arises.
1999, cc. 769, 773, § 2.1-807; 2001, c. 844.