Act's provision would postpone 508 deadline

Act's provision would postpone 508 deadline

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

A provision of the fiscal 2001 military construction appropriations bill Congress passed late last month would give agencies more time to make their systems accessible to the disabled.

The Military Construction Appropriations Act, HR 4225, includes a provision that would move the effective date of Section 508 to six months after the Access Board publishes its final rules [GCN, June 5, Page 1]. Sen. James M. Jeffords (R-Vt.) offered the amendment to the appropriations bill.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 requires agencies to make information technology accessible to disabled users. The rehabilitation law set Section 508 to take effect Aug. 7.

The Access Board, an independent federal agency, is reviewing comments of its draft rules and expects to publish a final version by the end of the year.

The bill was approved by lawmakers June 30 and awaits the president's signature. It includes $8.4 million for the reconstruction of lost White House e-mail messages that are the subject of a congressional inquiry.

Ready to spend

The bill said that the money would be used for 'restoration and reconstruction ' and for inclusion of such messages in the Automated Records Management System.'

The amount is more than double the $3 million that the White House estimated would be needed to recover the e-mail [GCN, April 3, Page 1].''The conferees are concerned that contractor error may be a causal factor in the White House e-mails not being properly archived into the Automated Records Management System,' the conference report accompanying the bill said.

The bill instructs the administration to report back within six months about the performance of the contractors responsible for operating and maintaining the records management system.

The White House has awarded contracts to ECS Technology of Baltimore and SRA International Inc. of Arlington, Va., to reconstruct missing presidential e-mail from about 5,000 backup tapes [GCN, June 12, Page 1].

Lawmakers subpoenaed the White House for the e-mail as part of Congress' ongoing campaign finance investigation.

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