Bill Text: NY A04590 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Enacts the accessible electronic information act for blind and disabled persons; creates a new fund in the state finance law; authorizes a not-for-profit entity to administer the program.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 15-6)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-04 - referred to corporations, authorities and commissions [A04590 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A04590-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 4, 2019
        Introduced  by  M.  of A. PRETLOW, ABINANTI, ARROYO, BENEDETTO, GOODELL,
          --  read  once and referred to the Committee on Corporations, Authori-
          ties and Commissions
        AN ACT to amend the public service law and the  state  finance  law,  in
          relation to enacting the accessible electronic information act
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Short title.  This act shall be known and may be  cited  as
     2  the "accessible electronic information act".
     3    §  2. Legislative finding. The National Federation of the Blind estab-
     4  lished the NFB-NEWSLINE to increase the  ability  of  visually  impaired
     5  individuals  to  receive  information provided by newspapers, magazines,
     6  journals and other print media which are traditionally unavailable in  a
     7  limited  electronic  broadcast.  Since  2002,  this  vital  service  has
     8  provided visually impaired New Yorkers with information on job listings,
     9  self-help magazines, do-it-yourself guides, political magazines, several
    10  newspapers, TV guide listings, and other literary necessities  that  all
    11  sighted  New  Yorkers  have  enjoyed. This legislation provides a stable
    12  means to bring NEWSLINE to New York.
    13    § 3. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 92-i to
    14  read as follows:
    15    § 92-i. Accessible electronic information; blind and disabled persons.
    16  1. A qualified not-for-profit entity capable of providing  such  service
    17  shall  provide an accessible electronic information service for eligible
    18  blind and disabled persons. This service shall be planned for  continua-
    19  tion  from  year to year and make maximum use of federal, state, private
    20  and other funds available, including obtaining grant or in-kind  support
    21  from  appropriate  programs  and  securing access to low-cost interstate
    22  rates for telecommunications by reimbursement or otherwise.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 4590                             2
     1    2. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the follow-
     2  ing meanings, unless otherwise indicated:
     3    (a)  "Accessible  electronic information service" means news and other
     4  timely information (including newspapers) provided to eligible  individ-
     5  uals  from  a multi-state service center, using high-speed computers and
     6  telecommunications technology for interstate acquisition of content  and
     7  rapid distribution in a form appropriate for use by such individuals;
     8    (b)  "Blind  and  disabled  persons"  means  those individuals who are
     9  eligible for library loan services through the Library of  Congress  and
    10  the  State  Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped pursuant to
    11  36 CFR 701.10(b);
    12    (c) "Director" means the director of the selected not-for-profit enti-
    13  ty;
    14    (d) "Qualified entity" means a not-for-profit entity within this state
    15  capable of providing accessible electronic information services which:
    16    (i) provides interstate access for  eligible  persons  to  read  daily
    17  newspapers producing audio editions by computer, and
    18    (ii)  provides  a means of program administration and reader registra-
    19  tion on the internet.
    20    § 4. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 99-ff to
    21  read as follows:
    22    § 99-ff. Accessible electronic information service fund.  1. There  is
    23  hereby  established  in  the  custody of the state comptroller a special
    24  revenue fund to be  known  as  the  "accessible  electronic  information
    25  service fund".
    26    2.  Funding  for  the  accessible  electronic information service fund
    27  shall be obtained from:
    28    a. The Targeted Accessibility Fund, Inc., established  by  the  public
    29  service  commission in its "order and opinion 98-10" in an amount deemed
    30  appropriate for the purpose  of  providing  electronic  distribution  of
    31  newspapers, periodicals, time sensitive materials, and other information
    32  which may be of benefit to the community; and
    33    b.  The  New  York  state commission for the blind in an amount deemed
    34  appropriate by the commissioner for providing electronic distribution of
    35  newspapers, periodicals, time sensitive materials, and other information
    36  which may be of benefit to the community.
    37    3. Nothing contained in this section  shall  prevent  the  state  from
    38  receiving  grants, gifts or bequests and depositing them into the acces-
    39  sible electronic information service fund according to law.
    40    4. The accessible electronic information service fund shall be  admin-
    41  istered  by  the  public  service  commission,  in consultation with the
    42  director and the commissioner, in accordance with this section.
    43    5. The public service commission shall require companies  who  provide
    44  telecommunication  services to blind and disabled persons, as defined in
    45  paragraph (b) of subdivision two of section ninety-two-i of  the  public
    46  service  law,  including but not limited to, certified telecommunication
    47  carriers, cable television companies that offer telephone  service,  and
    48  other  companies the public service commission deems to be a provider of
    49  telecommunication services, to contribute to the Targeted  Accessibility
    50  Fund,  Inc.  for  the purpose of increasing funding to comply with para-
    51  graph a of subdivision two of this section.
    52    § 5. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
    53  have  become  a  law.    Effective  immediately, the addition, amendment
    54  and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation
    55  of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before
    56  such effective date.