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Digital Accessibility and Usability Law Anniversary

Celebrating Ten Years of Disability Inclusion as One Minnesota

6/7/2019 2:45:57 PM

Jay Wyant announcing award recipients at the Accessibility and Usability Law Anniversary Celebration in the Minnesota State Capitol.

May 7, 2019

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MNIT Communications


Celebration at the state Capitol marks ten years since the Digital Accessibility and Usability Law was passed, which defined the ways that digital information, like websites, applications, and documents, could be made accessible so all Minnesotans, disabled or not, have equal access to state services and programs.

St. Paul, MN: Accessibility advocates and State of Minnesota employees, led by Minnesota’s Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) Commissioner Tarek Tomes, gathered today in the Capitol Rotunda to celebrate 10 years since the passage of the Digital Accessibility and Usability Law. The law requires state government to develop and comply with a standard for delivering equal access to information for all Minnesotans.

“Government by nature exists to serve its citizens. That’s why the 2009 law calling for a statewide digital accessibility standard was so critical,” said Lieutenant Governor, Peggy Flanagan. “It is through the building of meaningful partnerships that we have come a long way these last ten years.”
“Digital accessibility is a key benchmark for us – if something is not accessible, then some people won’t be able to do their job,” said MNIT Commissioner Tarek Tomes. “MNIT’s Office of Accessibility has been an integral part of this work, leading trainings, providing resources, and serving as problem-solvers, strategists, and leaders in shaping the accessible landscape of Minnesota’s digital services.”

The celebration at the Capitol honored key legislators and advocates, and it provided opportunities for attendees to experience technology used by people with disabilities. The brief recognition ceremony honored advocacy champions critical in raising awareness of the need for legislation and the legislators who worked to draft and pass the law. Senator Ann Rest, Senator Torrey Westrom, Representative Bill Hilty, and Mary Hartnett, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, Deafblind & Hard of Hearing, were all honored, along with key government leaders and advocates who helped to frame the way the law works.

“We wanted to take the time to honor the folks who made the law possible,” stated Jay Wyant, the state’s Chief information Accessibility Officer. “The law raised awareness of the value of accessibility and made it possible for the state to dedicate resources toward implementing accessibility and usability throughout state services and systems.”

Following the ceremony, attendees were invited to immerse themselves in the Experience Lab, which featured interactive stations showcasing how people with disabilities use technology to read and understand information.

Honorees

Legislative Champions

  • Senator Ann Rest
  • Representative Bill Hilty
  • Senator Torrey Westrom

Accessibility Champions

  • David Andrews
  • Dana Badgerow
  • Chuk Hamilton
  • Mary Hartnett
  • Kim Moccia
  • Jamie Taylor
  • Colleen Wieck
  • Joan Willshire

All the honorees stressed that they were part of a larger group of individuals and organizations who worked to identify the need and ensure the law’s passage. They include:

  • Rep. Thomas Huntley
  • Rep. Jim Abeler
  • Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher
  • Rep. Phil Sterner
  • Rep. Jeremy Kalin
  • Rep. Melissa Hortman
  • Senator Dick Day
  • Senator Jim Vickerman
  • Senator Rick Olseen
  • Senator Tony Lourey
  • Steve Jacobson
  • Alicia Lane-Outlaw
  • Reggie David
  • Kim Peck
  • Alex Bartolic
  • Bruce Hodek
  • Meredith Anderson
  • Dan McCarthy
  • Joan Breslin Larson
  • Julie Dinger
  • Joan Gillum
  • Jo Erbes
  • Troy W. Mangan
  • Charlie Peterson
  • Barbara Skoglund
  • Margot Imdieke Cross
  • Cristyn Rybak
  • Nancy Erickson
  • John Sherman
  • Jed Becher
  • Rebecca Slininger
  • Ed Valencia

About Minnesota IT Services

Minnesota IT Services, led by the state’s Chief Information Officer, is the Information Technology agency for Minnesota’s executive branch, providing enterprise and local IT services to over 70 agencies, boards and commissions. MNIT employs more than 2,000 people across 90 physical locations. Together, we build, maintain, and secure the State’s IT infrastructure, applications, projects and services. MNIT sets IT strategy, direction, policies and standards for enterprise IT leadership and planning. We also serve Minnesotans by connecting all 87 counties, 300 cities, and 200 public higher education campuses across the state on the MNET network. Through public-private partnerships, our team proactively protects the state’s information systems and the private data of 5.5 million Minnesotans.

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