Colorado Legislative Council Staff



replaces fiscal impact dated January 26, 1999

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 99-0675

Rep. Coleman

Sen. Feeley


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

February 24, 1999

House Appropriations

Steve Tammeus (866-2756)



Fiscal Impact Summary

FY 1999/2000

FY 2000/2001

State Revenues

General Fund



State Expenditures

General Fund

Cash Fund

Cash Fund Exempt

Federal Fund





FTE Position Change

0.0 FTE

0.0 FTE

Other State Impact: None

Effective Date: 90 days after adjournment unless a referendum petition is filed.

Appropriation Summary for FY 1999-2000: None

Local Government Impact: Requires any state-assisted entity to comply with technology standards for nonvisual access after February 1, 2001.

Summary of Legislation

            This bill (as amended by the House Business Affairs Committee, February 18, 1999) requires the Information Management Commission (IMC) in the Department of Personnel/GSS to develop nonvisual access standards by February 1, 2001, for information technology equipment and software acquired by state agencies and state-assisted organizations to meet the following conditions:


               provide blind or visually impaired individuals with access to information technology to be purchased in the future by ensuring compatibility with adaptive technology systems so that blind and visually impaired persons have full and equal access when needed; and

               is designed to present information in formats intended for both visual and nonvisual use, such as the use of TEXT-ONLY options.

            The bill requires the IMC to consult with agencies and organizations and representatives of blind and visually impaired persons in developing standards and purchasing documents. The head of each state agency or state-assisted organization is to establish a written plan and a proposed operating budget for implementing the standards for future purchases of upgrades or replacement of existing information technology equipment or software. The IMC is to evaluate the effectiveness of the standards and the use of technology clauses in purchasing contracts. The bill requires the IMC to report to the General Assembly by January 1, 2003.

            The bill requires the IMC to develop a technology access clause by February 1,2001, that state agencies and state-assisted organizations may use in purchase contracts for the procurement of information technology. The bill specifies certain compliance conditions that must be included in the technology access clause. The bill states that the law shall not be construed to require the purchase of nonvisual adaptive equipment by a state agency or state-assisted organization. However, the applications, programs, and underlying operating systems, including the data format, used for the manipulation and presentation of information must permit the installation and effective use of, and must be compatible with, nonvisual access software and peripheral devices.

State Expenditures

            Department of Personnel/GSS. The IMC will be able to develop nonvisual access standards and a technology access clause for the procurement of information technology by February 1, 2001, within existing resources.

            All other state departments. This bill will not affect state expenditures during FY 1999-2000. The costs for state departments to implement technology starting in FY 2000-01 to allow access to individuals who are blind or visually impaired will be dependent upon the standards developed by the IMC. This fiscal note assumes all state departments will be consulted during the development phase to identify system requirements that may be program specific.

            As departments acquire new or replacement systems or components, they may be required to identify specialized equipment in public locations and offices that are likely to serve individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The bill requires that information technology be "compatible with technology used for access by nonvisual means and provide for effective, interactive control and use of operating systems". In some cases, a department may provide this compatibility by acquiring and installing adaptive software to accommodate peripheral hardware used by a blind or visually impaired person. In other cases, a department may be required to acquire and install specialized hardware. This equipment may include screen magnification hardware and software ($340), magnification adaptations for printers ($3,585), speech synthesizers and software ($1,724), optical character recognition scanners ($339), and braille printers ($3-5,000).

            Many departments utilize a variety of offices and locations throughout the state where these system upgrades may be required. For example, the Department of Human Services currently utilizes, or is planning to utilize four main offices, 11 child care licensing offices, 30 county social services offices, and 22 vocational rehabilitation offices. The department estimates the cost to acquire and install a full complement of software and hardware upgrades for these locations to be approximately $531,000. The department would then incur some additional annual operating and maintenance expenses to support the system upgrades.

            Other state departments that utilize multiple facilities or provide public access to information, such as the State Legislature, Regulatory Agencies, Revenue, Natural Resources, Personnel, and the institutions of Higher Education may be affected in a similar manner. Some departments may have no public accessible hardware, while others may have equipment that is currently compatible with upgrades to serve the blind or visually impaired.

            In recent years, most state departments have developed and implemented Internet "home pages" to provide the public computer access to state information. Some state home pages are equipped with a "TEXT-ONLY" option that allows the viewer to delete graphics and pictorial content, and provide text only which can then be downloaded to a speech synthesizer, text magnifier, or brailler. Subject to the standards to be developed by the IMC, state departments may incur additional costs to provide access to public information via the Internet to the blind or visually impaired.

            The amount of the total costs for state departments to support the provisions of this bill are subject to the standards to be developed by the IMC in FY 2000-01. This fiscal note assumes state departments will identify any additional costs during the annual budget development process. Those costs may affect the state General Fund, cash funds, cash funds exempt, and federal funds.

Local Government Impact

            The bill defines "state-assisted organization" as a state-supported institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, school district, or other entity supported in whole or in part by state funds. Therefore, any governmental entity that meets this definition would be required to comply with the provisions of this bill in the same manner as state departments.

State Appropriations

            This fiscal note would imply no new state appropriations are required for FY 1999-2000.

Departments Contacted

            All departments

Technical Defect

            The bill states (page 7, lines 1-3) that "Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the purchase of nonvisual adaptive equipment by a state agency or a state-assisted organization". This fiscal note assumes that state departments, in order to comply with the provisions of the bill, will be required to acquire nonvisual adaptive software and/or hardware as they purchase, upgrade, or replace information technology software or hardware. The purchase and operating maintenance costs of nonvisual adaptive software and hardware are estimated to be more expensive than traditional software and hardware.