Subject to the enactment into law of the 2013 amendments to RCW 82.14B.040
in section 103, chapter 8, Laws of 2013 2nd sp. sess., the 2013 amendments to RCW 82.14B.042
in section 104, chapter 8, Laws of 2013 2nd sp. sess., the 2013 amendments to RCW 82.14B.030
in section 105, chapter 8, Laws of 2013 2nd sp. sess., the 2013 amendments to RCW 82.14B.200
in section 106, chapter 8, Laws of 2013 2nd sp. sess., and the 2013 amendments to RCW 82.08.0289
in section 107, chapter 8, Laws of 2013 2nd sp. sess.:
(1) The department, through the sole authority of the office or its successor organization, must maintain a program whereby an individual of school age or older who possesses a hearing or speech impairment is provided with telecommunications equipment, software, and/or peripheral devices, digital or otherwise, that is determined by the office to be necessary for such a person to access and use telecommunications transmission services effectively.
(2) The department, through the sole authority of the office or its successor organization, must maintain a program where telecommunications relay services of a human or electronic nature will be provided to connect hearing impaired, deaf-blind, or speech impaired persons with persons who do not have a hearing or speech impairment. Such telecommunications relay services must provide the ability for an individual who has a hearing or speech impairment to engage in voice, tactile, or visual communication by wire or radio with a hearing individual in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have a hearing or speech impairment to communicate using voice or visual communication services by wire or radio subject to subsection (4)(b) of this section.
(3) The telecommunications relay service and equipment distribution program may operate in such a manner as to provide communications transmission opportunities that are capable of incorporating new technologies that have demonstrated benefits consistent with the intent of this chapter and are in the best interests of the citizens of this state.
(4) The office must administer and control the award of money to all parties incurring costs in implementing and maintaining telecommunications services, programs, equipment, and technical support services according to this section. The relay service contract must be awarded to an individual company registered as a telecommunications company by the utilities and transportation commission, to a group of registered telecommunications companies, or to any other company or organization determined by the office as qualified to provide relay services, contingent upon that company or organization being approved as a registered telecommunications company prior to final contract approval. The relay system providers and telecommunications equipment vendors must be selected on the basis of cost-effectiveness and utility to the greatest extent possible under the program and technical specifications established by the office.
(a) To the extent funds are available for the purposes authorized by this chapter, the office may award contracts for communications and related services and equipment for hearing impaired or speech impaired individuals accessing or receiving services provided by, or contracted for, the department to meet access obligations under Title 2 of the federal Americans with disabilities act or related federal regulations.
(b) The office must perform its duties under this section with the goal of achieving functional equivalency of access to and use of telecommunications services similar to the enjoyment of access to and use of such services experienced by an individual who does not have a hearing or speech impairment only to the extent that funds are available for the purposes authorized by this chapter.
(5) The program must be funded by the legislature by means of a biennial general fund appropriation to the department for the purposes of the program.
(6) The telecommunications relay service program and equipment vendors must provide services and equipment consistent with the requirements of federal law for the operation of both interstate and intrastate telecommunications services for the hearing impaired or speech impaired. The department and the utilities and transportation commission are responsible for ensuring compliance with federal requirements and must provide timely notice to the legislature of any legislation that may be required to accomplish compliance.
(7) The department must adopt rules establishing eligibility criteria, ownership obligations, financial contributions, and a program for distribution to individuals requesting and receiving such telecommunications devices distributed by the office, and other rules necessary to administer programs and services consistent with this chapter.