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[press release] NEW ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS ADOPTED FOR (CONNECTICUT) STATE WEB SITE

From: Kathleen Anderson <kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 14:47:17 -0400
Message-ID: <00b001bff731$eeb10520$e924f79f@STATE.CT.US>
To: "'Web Accessibility Initiative'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Contact: Nuala Forde
July 26, 2000      Phone: 860-622-2417

NEW ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS ADOPTED FOR STATE WEB SITE

Rock Regan, Chief Information Officer of the State Department of Information
Technology (DOIT), announced an initiative to improve the accessibility of
the state web site (www.state.ct.us) to people with disabilities, including
more than 100,000 state residents with visual impairment.

Under the initiative, state agencies having a presence on the state's
website, ConneCT, will incorporate the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0, which are among the most
stringent accessibility standards available today. The new policy takes
effect July 26, 2000, the tenth anniversary of the Americans with
Disabilities Act.

"When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law ten years ago,
the internet as we know it today did not exist," Regan said. "Today it is an
everyday tool for delivery of information and government services."

The ConneCT web site was established in 1996 and receives more than 11,500
visits per day, or 29 million per year. On the site, citizens can download
over 240 forms to apply for licenses, permits and registrations through
Connecticut's Licensing Information Center.  The site offers thousands of
pages of useful information, from state park locations to public health
reports.

"The internet will be increasing in importance as we continue to lay the
groundwork for statewide e-government," Regan said. "We must work to ensure
people with visual impairment and other populations with disabilities have
access to this important resource."

Under the initiative, planned by the ConneCT Management Advisory Committee
(CMAC), agency webmasters will work to ensure web site content adheres to
these new standards and that existing content be upgraded by January 1,
2002.

DOIT, in conjunction with CMAC, is organizing training for state webmasters
in the use of the W3C standards.

Regan commended the work of CMAC'S Accessibility Subcommittee, chaired by
Kathleen Anderson of the Office of State Comptroller Nancy Wyman. The
subcommittee worked with the Board of Education and Services for the Blind
(BESB), the Office of Protection and Advocacy, the Connecticut State
Library, and other agency representatives in formulating the new standards.

The state web site is managed by the CMAC, a unique collaborative effort
between agencies and organizations across all three branches of Connecticut
state government.

"Since 1995, accessibility standards have been in place and continuously
refined," said John Forbes, Chairman of CMAC.  "This is the next step to
ensure Connecticut is being vigilant in opening up the web to all
populations."

##


Kathleen Anderson, Webmaster
State of Connecticut, Office of the State Comptroller
55 Elm Street, Room 101, Hartford, Connecticut  06106
voice: (860) 702-3355  fax: (860) 702-3634
email: kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us
URL: http://www.osc.state.ct.us
CMAC Access: http://www.cmac.state.ct.us/access
AWARE: http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Wednesday, 26 July 2000 14:47:44 GMT

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