Effective March 1, 2020
Version 2.0 issued by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services
The Oklahoma Electronic Information Technology Accessibility (EITA) Act was passed into law in 2004, which was modeled after Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act. This law resulted in the creation of standards designed to make information and communication technology accessible for persons with disabilities. When the State of Oklahoma first published its standards in July 2005, it made Oklahoma one of the few states at the time to have its own standards aimed at improving the accessibility of information and communication technology used by the state.
Since that time, rapid technological advancements have occurred in our world. iPads and smartphones are examples of devices that are in wide use today-yet were not in use at the time Oklahoma adopted its information and communication technology standards. For Oklahoma to continue to be a leader in providing accessible technology to all of its citizens, it is necessary to update its standards.
Effective January 18, 2018, the federal Section 508 standards were refreshed in order to update information and communication technology accessibility requirements. One of the most significant changes was to incorporate the technical requirements of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 in reference to accessibility of websites and other digital content such as software applications and electronic documents. This was important, because the previous Section 508 standards were outdated.
By adopting standards based on refreshed Section 508 standards-which includes both information and communication technology-the State of Oklahoma will make government more transparent, available, and useful for those with disabilities, in accordance with the purpose of Oklahoma law. Therefore, effective March 1, 2020, the Information Technology Accessibility Standards as published July 1, 2005 and revised on June 2012, shall be repealed and replaced with the Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Standards as contained in this document.
The standards apply to all state agencies, as defined. As such, they apply equally to all state employees, contractors or any entity that deals with the State of Oklahoma.
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services will communicate the standards to all state agencies. In turn, all agencies are required to review the standards and make all staff members aware of their responsibility.
These standards are intended to advise agencies on the procedures necessary to ensure compliance with Oklahoma law requiring information and communication technology accessibility and related standards. The purpose of the law indicates that state agencies shall ensure that information and communication technology allows employees, program participants and members of the general public with disabilities access to and use of information and data unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency or fundamental alterations to the information and communication technology are required. The law applies to agencies when developing, procuring, maintaining or using information and communication technology, or when administering contracts or grants that include the procurement, development, upgrading or replacement of information and communication technology. The law applies to both paid and free third-party products and services.
The law covers all state agencies. “State agency” is defined in the law as any office, officer, bureau, board, counsel, court, commission, institution, unit, division, body or house of the executive or judicial branches of the state government, whether elected or appointed, excluding political subdivisions of the state. State agency shall include the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the institutions, centers or other constituent agencies of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, and the State Board of Career and Technology Education and Technology Center school districts.
At minimum, information and communication technology shall conform to the standards defined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, effective January 18, 2018, and as may be amended from time to time.
Federal Section 508 Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards can be currently located at: https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and...
These standards cover information and communication technology procured, developed or maintained by state departments or agencies.
An exception clarifies that the standards do not apply to technology that is incidental to a state contract. Thus, those products that are not specified as part of a contract with a state agency would not need to comply with the standards. For example, a firm that produces a report for a state agency under a contract would not have to procure accessible computers and word processing software even if they were used exclusively for the contract; however, compliance would be required if such products were to become the property of the state agency as contract deliverables or if the state agency purchased the products to be used by the contractor as part of the project. If a state agency contracts with a firm to develop its website, the standards would apply to the new website for the agency but not to the firm's own website.
These standards also cover technology procured by grantees or contractors who receive dollars from a state department or agency administering a grant or contract program when the program includes the allotment of funding for the procurement, development or upgrading of information and communication technology. As with the previous example, if the grantee’s purchase or development of information and communication technology is incidental to the grant program purpose, these standards do not apply. However, if the purchase or development is an integral part of the grant program the standards do apply.
Application of the Standards
The following defines the application of the standards:
- Information and communication technology products covered by these standards shall comply with all applicable provisions. When developing, procuring, maintaining or using information and communication technology products (either directly or through administration of contracts or grants), each state department or agency shall ensure that the products comply with these standards, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency or fundamental alterations to the information and communication technology are required.
- Information and communication technology products are those as defined by Oklahoma’s legislation regarding accessible electronic and information technology.
- State departments or agencies are those as defined by Oklahoma’s legislation regarding accessible electronic and information technology.
- Undue burden represents significant difficulty or expense, including, but not limited to, difficulty or expense associated with technical feasibility. Fundamental alteration represents a change so significant that it alters the essential nature or functionality of the information and communication technology.
- When procuring a product, if an agency determines that compliance with any provision of these standards imposes an undue burden or fundamental alterations to the information and communication technology are required, the documentation by the agency supporting the procurement shall explain why, and to what extent, compliance with each such provision creates an undue burden or fundamental alterations to the information and communication technology are required. This documentation must be maintained with the requisition.
- When compliance with these standards imposes an undue burden or fundamental alterations to the information and communication technology are required, agencies shall provide individuals with disabilities the information and data involved by an alternative means of access that allows the individual to use the information and data in accordance with other applicable State and Federal laws such as Title I and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 503 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- When procuring a product, the accessibility determination should be made in accordance with Oklahoma Administrative Code 260:115-7-54, accessible information and communication technology acquisitions.
- When developing software applications, web pages or other information and communication technology systems, each covered entity shall require conformance with the applicable technical access standards unless an undue burden would be imposed or fundamental alterations to the information and communication technology are required.
- Except as described under “Exceptions to the Standards” provided below, these standards apply to information and communication technology developed, procured, maintained or used by state departments or agencies directly; or used by a contractor under a contract with a state department or agency which requires the use of such product, or requires the use, to a significant extent, of such product in the performance of a service or the furnishing of a product; or when state departments or agencies administer contracts or grant programs that include a significant allotment of funding for the procurement, development or upgrading of information and communication technology.
- These standards apply to all information and communication technology purchased after the effective date of these standards, providing the solicitation process was not initiated prior to the effective date.
- These standards apply to all information and communication technology developed and/or substantially modified or substantially enhanced after the effective date of these standards, providing the procurement and/or development process was not initiated prior to the effective date.
Exceptions to the Standards
The following defines the exception to the standards:
- These standards do not apply to any information and communication technology operated by state departments or agencies, the function, operation or use of which involves intelligence activities, crypto logic activities related to public safety, command and control of law enforcement, equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons system or systems which are critical to the direct fulfillment of public safety or intelligence missions. Systems which are critical to the direct fulfillment of public safety or intelligence missions do not include a system that is to be used for routine administrative and business applications (including payroll, finance, logistics and personnel management applications).
- These standards do not apply to information and communication technology that is acquired by a contractor or grantee incidental to a contract or grant, provided the technology does not become State property upon the completion of the contract.
- Except as required to comply with these standards, state departments and agencies are not required to install specific accessibility-related software or attach an assistive technology device to information and communication technology products unless required by other applicable State or Federal laws.
NOTE: In general, compliance with these standards provides built-in access features in products or provides compatibility with add-on assistive technology devices. Compliance with these standards does not necessarily ensure access needed by individual people with disabilities as an additional assistive device may be required, a substitute product may be required or another type of accommodation may be needed to meet their individual needs. Provision of assistive technology, substitute products with specific access features and other types of accommodation should be done in accordance with the requirements of applicable State and Federal laws, e.g. the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 503 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- These standards shall not be construed to require a fundamental alteration in the nature of a product or its components. Products located in physical spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair or occasional monitoring of equipment are not required to comply with these standards.
Nothing in these standards is intended to prevent the use of designs or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed in these standards provided they result in substantially equivalent or greater access to and use of a product for people with disabilities.
Agencies may accept IT offered by vendors, which uses designs or technologies that do not meet the applicable technical provisions, but provide substantially equivalent or greater access to and use of a product for people with disabilities. This is referred to as "equivalent facilitation."
Equivalent facilitation is not an exception or variance from the requirement to provide comparable access. Rather, it is recognition that technologies may be developed or used in ways not envisioned by the technical provisions of this document but still result in the same or better functional access. Functional outcome – not form – is the key to evaluating whether a technology results in "substantially equivalent or greater access." The functional performance criteria set forth in Chapter 3 of Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act shall serve as a guide to determine when something that falls outside of standards is still functionally accessible.
Agencies shall designate an Accessibility Compliance Representative(s) responsible for ensuring compliance to Oklahoma law for electronic and information technology accessibility and the related information and communication technology accessibility standards.
Any individual may file a complaint alleging that a state agency fails to comply with Oklahoma law and the related information and communications technology accessibility standards pursuant to the provisions set forth in Chapter 15 of Title 260 of the Oklahoma Administrative Code.