WHEREAS, Washington has a strong history of protecting the rights of people with disabilities through such laws and regulations as the Washington State Law Against Discrimination and the Barrier Free Design Standards; and
WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act strengthens and clarifies the rights of the over half a million Washingtonians with disabilities by further opening the doors of opportunity and Inclusion; and
WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that all services, programs, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, be readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, whether such services and programs are directly provided by state agencies or through purchase agreements or other contracts; and
WHEREAS, Washington will not be meeting its most basic responsibility until all Washingtonians can equally participate in and enjoy the benefits of state services and programs.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mike Lowry, Governor of the State of Washington, do hereby order and direct as follows:
1. No state agency, board, or commission under the executive branch shall discriminate against an individual on the basis of disability. Individuals with disabilities, whether state employees, applicants, clients of state services, or members of the general public, shall be treated with respect and dignity and provided meaningful access to state services, programs, activities, and employment opportunities.
2. Each executive branch agency shall appoint an ADA coordinator to execute a self-evaluation and transition plan and oversee implementation of the ADA.
3. Executive branch agencies shall ensure that public meetings, hearings, and conferences are held in locations free of mobility barriers, and that sign language interpreters and information in alternate forms (Braille, large print, or audio tapes) shall be provided upon request.
4. In communicating with employees, applicants, clients of services, or the general public, all state agencies shall ensure that Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDDs), sign language interpreters, and information in alternate formats shall be provided upon request.
5. The director of the Department of General Administration shall ensure that all newly-constructed buildings or those undergoing major renovation comply fully with the state barrier free code. The director shall submit the architectural design development plans for newly-constructed buildings and renovations in excess of $5 million over which he has oversight authority to a panel for review prior to final approval. The panel shall also provide barrier-free access review for plans submitted by the Department of Transportation, natural resource agencies, and institutions of higher education. The panel shall be comprised of representatives from the state Building Code Council, the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, and the Office of Financial Management.
6. The Governor's ADA coordinator shall establish a task force to assist state agencies to meet the objectives of this executive order. The task force shall develop consistent policies on the provision of reasonable accommodation and sign language interpreters, the location of TDDs and Braille printers, and other policies that affect all state agencies. The task force shall be comprised of state employees and citizens with expertise in particular ADA issues and shall be convened by the Governor's ADA coordinator as needed.
7. This executive order supersedes Executive Order 79-03, which is hereby rescinded.