On February 16, 2022, Associate Policy Director Brianna January submitted testimony to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of SB 617 – Local School Systems – Equivalent Access Standards – Digital Tools (Nonvisual Access Accountability Act for K-12 Education) with amendments. This bill requires a local school system to provide equivalent access to digital tools for students with disabilities, including the development, purchase, and provision of certain digital tools; requiring a local school system to establish a process to evaluate a digital tool under consideration for purchase for nonvisual access by a certain employee of the school system; requiring a vendor who provided a digital tool that fails to meet equivalent access standards to modify the digital tool at the vendor’s expense; etc.
From the MACo testimony:
MACo recognizes the desire to create accommodations for all students and each county school board and leadership approaches these access issues with the proper gravity. However, SB 617 would substitute a one-size-fits-all state policy for that local judgment. Additionally, it would potentially place a costly mandate on school systems and county governments to carry out this new uniform state policy to provide all students with accessible digital tools regardless of whether the student is in need of this specialized tool.
MACo will be testifying on the bill’s crossfile, HB 547, on February 24, 2022.
More on MACo’s Advocacy:
Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.
Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.
Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.