IITAA Kick-off Meeting Minutes - 9/12/2007


Gene Walker, DHS Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), welcomed participants on behalf of Rob Kilbury, Director of DRS.

Participant Introductions

  • Patrick Beaird, CMS
  • Ray Campbell, NFB of Illinois & Chicago Lighthouse
  • Richard Chamberlain, WIU
  • John Cunningham, CMS
  • Robert Daniel, DHS MIS
  • MaryLou Grunwald, NFB of Illinois
  • Jon Gunderson, UIUC
  • Willie Gunther, IATP
  • Ron Hunsberger, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Jamie McCoy, DHS MIS
  • Audrey McCrimon, DHS CAWS
  • Kevin Price, UIC
  • Bill Reif, NFB of Illinois
  • William Richard, IATP
  • Melissa Romanotto, DHS DRS
  • Ron Sanderson, CMS
  • Susie Saputo, DHS MIS
  • TJ Schlouski, IATP
  • Mike Scott, DHS DRS
  • Gene Walker, DHS DRS

Review of IITAA

  1. Makes accessibility the law
  2. Expansion in scope of what we have addressed in the past. Includes software, web, telecommunications, audio, video, multimedia, self-contained devices, and computer hardware.
  3. This workgroup has a February 19, 2008 deadline for the deliverables.


  1. Functional performance criteria and technical standards for accessibility
  2. Recommendations for procurement language
  3. Recommendations for planning, reporting, monitoring, and enforcement


All communication will be open to the public.

The primary form of communication will be via the IITAA web site at https://www.dhs.state.il.us/iitaa. All tasks, meeting schedules, minutes, workgroup activities, etcetera will be posted on this site.

The Process

Two levels of involvement

  1. Workgroups - participation in the workgroups is open to any interested parties. The workgroup requires a commitment of weekly activity including participation in a weekly teleconference.
  2. Interest Group - participation in the interest group is open to any interested parties. Interest group members will monitor the web site and provide input and feedback to the workgroups. Interest group members will participate meetings every other month to discuss progress and direction.


We will begin with eight workgroups. Workgroups may be collapsed together in the future as appropriate

  1. Web & Intranet Workgroup
  2. Software & Operating Systems Workgroup
  3. Audio, Video & Multimedia Workgroup
  4. Telecommunications Workgroup
  5. Self-Contained Devices Workgroup
  6. Computer Hardware Workgroup
  7. Procurement Language Workgroup
  8. Monitoring & Enforcement Workgroup

History of Illinois Accessibility Standards

  • W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in 1999 - based on work of the Trace Center, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • Illinois decided that AA compliance (Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints) was goal and began training web developers to comply.
  • Federal Section 508 Standards in 2001 - scope is broader than just the web. Did not use the existing WCAG standards for the web.
  • Illinois tried to determine which standards to use. Meanwhile web developers just wanted to know what to do. This need let to the development of the Illinois Web Accessibility Standards (IWAS). The goal of IWAS was to roll the slightly divergent existing standards into one in a way that makes sense to developers, testers, vendors, etc.
  • Now both WCAG and Section 508 are being revised.

Guiding Principles

  1. Effective - we need to remember the job we need to get done. We do not want to lower the bar.
  2. Practical - act on what we have today.
  3. Harmonized - this principle is particularly applicable to hardware, copiers, ATMs, etc.
  4. Usable - write standards that are usable to our varied audiences (developers, procurement, etc).

Suggested 5th principle - Appropriate (?) - within the scope of the bill and the State rules.


  1. Think of others who may want to be involved (at either the workgroup or interest group level). Email their names, email addresses, and phone numbers to dhs.accessibility@illinois.gov by Friday, September 14th.
  2. Volunteer to participate in workgroups by emailing dhs.accessibility@illinois.gov with your name and the workgroups you want to join. Please indicate if we can post your contact information on the IITAA web site.
  3. Read through the reference materials posted on your workgroups web page and be prepared to discuss at the next meeting. Consider:
    • Can we use the existing standards? Do they meet our needs?
    • Do we need to create new standards? Or use some combination of existing and new?

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be an IITAA Workgroup Teleconference on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at Hay-Edwards Building, Room 325, 400 W Lawrence, Springfield from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM. The teleconference number is 1-800-930-8829. The passcode is 9125949#.

The first interest group meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, 2007. Check the web site for final date and location.

Questions & Discussion

  • Does this law affect application already in use?

    No. It is a go-forward bill affecting new systems or substantially changed applications purchased or developed after 8/19/2008.

  • Is there funding associated with the legislation?


  • Keep in mind the goal of providing the information the people need to determine whether products are accessible. Focus on how to operationalize standards so they can be implemented. Include criteria such as is the vendor will to work on accessibility.
  • What are other states doing for accessibility?

    Varies. Some have adopted existing standards (including IWAS), modified standards, or created new standards. Some states have policy statements and some states have laws. The workgroup will need to see what other states are doing. Deborah Buck (Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs) could act as a resource.

  • Does this act need to go through JCAR?

    The committee will find out.

  • We need to be aware of our limitations and the limitations of the law. We can only do that which implements the statute. We cannot legislate. We need to be careful not to overstep our bounds.
  • How much enforcement is available?

    How will we get items that meet the standards into the purchasing taxonomies? We don't want to be in the situation where we cannot purchase the items that these standards require.

    Our work is not done once the standards are written. We need monitoring to make sure that the language goes into contracts and that the requirements are met.

    The educational process is an important piece. We will need awareness, training, and resources.

    We need to include a grievance or complaint process in the monitoring process so we can find out about problems. We need a structure so people know who to complain to and provide a web site to inform people about reasonable expectations.

    Remember that Section 508 subpart C leaves states the functional performance criteria. This subpart is meant to leave room for innovation. The burden is not only on us (the State), but vendors must demonstrate that they meet subpart C.

    Independent accessibility testing/verification must be made available.

    We must remember that our goal is accessibility for people with all disability types. We also need to be aware of ethics issues.

    We should include representatives from the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

    Advocacy groups are not completely without enforcement options. In a lawsuit against the State of Arkansas, the case was decided based on a combination of Arkansas law and the ADA.

  • Should vendors be included in the workgroups and/or interest group?

    We will keep the process open and transparent. DHS will follow up with its ethics officer to discuss any issues.