TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the public service law and the state finance law, in relation
to enacting the accessible
electronic information act
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
Thousands of New Yorkers have disabilities (including blindness or
visual impairment) that prevent them from using conventional print
Low cost interstate telecommunication rates make distribution of
electronic text-based information to blind or visually impaired New
Yorkers both efficient and cost effective for the state. Use of this
accessible electronic information service will improve the state's
Current efforts to meet the needs of blind and disabled citizens for
access to information that is otherwise available in print, thereby
reducing isolation and supporting full integration and equal access
for such individuals.
The National Federation of the Blind established the NFB-NEWSLINE to
increase the ability of visually impaired individuals to receive
information provided by newspapers, magazines journals and other
print media which are traditionally unavailable in a limited
electronic broadcast. Since 2002, this vital service has provided
visually impaired New Yorkers with information on job listings,
self-help magazines, do-it-yourself guides, political magazines,
several newspapers, TV guide listings, and other literary necessities
that all sighted New Yorkers have enjoyed.
The intent of this legislation is provide a stable funding Source for
NEWSLINE New York.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Short title - The Accessible Electronic Information Act
Section 2: Sets for the legislative findings.
Section 3: Amends the public service law by adding a new section 92-g
states that the electronic information service, which is defined in
the legislation, shall be provided by a qualified and registered
not-for-profit organization. The service shall be intended for
continuation from year to year and make maximum use of federal,
state, private, and other funding available by obtaining grant or
in-kind support from appropriate programs, and by securing access to
low-cost interstate rates for telecommunications by reimbursement Or
This section also sets forth the definition of all major terms used in
Section 4: amends the state finance law by added a new section 99-u to
establish a special revenue fund to administer the Accessible
Electronic Information Act.
Section 5: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it
shall become law; provided, however that effective immediately, the
addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule of regulation necessary
for the implementation of this act on its effective date is
authorized and directed to made and completed on or before such
Thousands of, citizens in New York have disabilities (including
blindness or visual impairment) that prevent them from using
conventional print material.
The state fulfills an important duty by providing books and magazines
p:repared in Braille, audio, and large-type formats made available to
eligible blind and disabled persons. The technology, transcription
methods, and means of distribution used for these materials are labor
intensive and cannot support rapid dissemination to individuals in
rural and urban areas throughout the state.
Lack of direct and prompt access to information included in
newspapers, magazines, newsletters, schedules, announcements, and
other time-sensitive materials, limits educational opportunities, and
full participation in society by blind and disabled persons. This
constraint can best be overcome through use of high-speed computer
and telecommunication technology, combined with customized software,
providing a practical and cost-effective means to convert electronic
text-based information into synthetic speech suitable for statewide
distribution with modem telecommunication technology.
Use of this accessible electronic information service will improve the
state's current efforts to meet the needs of blind and disabled
citizens for access to information which is otherwise available in
print, thereby reducing isolation and supporting full integration and
equal access for such individuals.
Providing stabilized funding is absolutely imperative to ensuring that
this service can operate at maximum potential.
LEGISLATION IN OTHER STATES:
Several other states have introduced and/or enacted legislation
concerning accessibility to electronic information. The states
introducing and/or enacting such legislation include:
Texas, California, Alabama, New Mexico, Georgia, Hawaii, South
Carolina, Maryland, Kentucky, Oregon, Wisconsin, Vermont, Iowa, and
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-12: S.6392/A.9233 - Died in Energy & Telecomm
2010-11: S.1053/A.4161 - Passed Both Houses. Veto Message No.58
2009-10: S.2615A/A.2467- Finance/Rules
2008-09: S.5960 Energy and Telecommunications; A.3108A Ways & Means
2006-07: A.10172 Corporations, Authorities & Commissions
2005-06: A.1757A Corporations, Authorities & Commissions
2004-05: A.6464 Corporations, Authorities & Commissions
This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have
become a law, with provisions.