Policy and Legislation

The KATS Network has a rich history of systems change and advocacy related to Assistive Technology devices and services. We have played a pivotal role in initiated and/or supporting the following systems change efforts in Kentucky to expand access to Assistive Technology and promote accessibility in the commonwealth:

    • 1988 – The KATS Network is established as one of the original 9 states funded under the original Technology Related Assistance Act of 1988.
    • In 1994, the KATS Network contracted with the Kentucky Division of P&A to provide services and access to legal representation for individuals with disabilities who have been unduly denied access to assistive technology. P&A has permanently embedded the capacity within its structure to continue assistive technology related services and continues these services under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended.
    • In 1996, the KATS Network promoted the enabling legislation and seed funding to establish the KY AT Loan Corp. KATLC made its first loan in the summer of 2000 and now has provided more than $10 million in loans to Kentuckians with disabilities to enable them to obtain the assistive technology they need, making it one of the most active assistive technology alternative financing programs in the nation.
    • In 1998, the Assistive Device Warranty Act (KRS 151B.300 to 151B.335) known as the “AT Lemon Law” passed which gives specific protections to users of AT in Kentucky against manufacturer defects in AT devices just as with automobiles.
    • In the 2000 Session of the General Assembly, KATS Network engineered passage of the Accessible Information Act (KRS 61.980-988). This law assures that information technology purchased with state funds will be accessible to persons with disabilities.
    • In 2001, the KATS Network was at the forefront in the passage HB119/SB82 (KRS 12.450-.465). This law will facilitate more effective representation for Kentuckians with disabilities in all aspects and levels of state policy by requiring consideration of representation by people with disabilities on all state bodies.
    • In 2002, the KATS Network lead the effort for passage of the Kentucky Accessible Textbook Act (KRS 156.027), which will help ensure that all public school students with all types of print disabilities in grades K-12 who require reading accommodations under IEP or Section 504 plans will have timely access to instructional materials in an appropriate format. This benefits an estimated 33,000 + K-12 students with text disabilities per year, 38% of students with disabilities. KATS Network worked in collaboration with KDE and other entities in drafting regulations and in participation in the implementation process of the Kentucky Accessible Textbook Act.
    • In 2003, the KATS Network engineered passage of the Kentucky Postsecondary Textbook Accessibility Act (KRS 164.477). This statute is designed to address the needs of Kentucky’s postsecondary students with disabilities, and requires that publishers of instructional material provide the material at no cost in an electronic format for use by students with disabilities at postsecondary institutions
    • Also in 2003, KATS collaborated with KDE on the Accessible Information Technology In Schools (AITIS) project funded by SE-DBTAC to develop accessibility guidelines, checklists, and technical assistance materials to assist schools to comply with Kentucky’s AIT law.
    • In 2004, the AT Act of 1998 was reauthorized. In the reauthorization, the “sunset clause” was eliminated from the Act, securing the future for the 56 statewide AT Act programs across the nation.
    • In 2012, the KATS Network partnered with the KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the KY Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network, University of KY, and the Bluegrass Technology Center to establish Project CARAT as an AT/DME refurbishing program to cover rural Eastern Kentucky. CARAT was initially funded under a HRSA federal grant.
    • In 2015, CARAT transitioned to a statewide program. New refurbishing sites were established in Louisville and Paducah. CARAT is now fully funded by the KATS Network and has become an important addition to its array of services in assisting citizens with access to much needed AT/DME at no cost.
    • In 2015, the KATS Network established the Statewide Hearing Aid Assistance and Repair Program (SHARP) to provide Information & Referral services for Hearing Aids and related hearing equipment, collect used hearing aids statewide that could be sent into a certified Hearing Aid refurbishing site for reuse, and provide funding for applicants of the National Hear Now Program, and hearing aid repairs.
    • In 2015, the KATS Network received a $75,000 grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to establish RampUP!, a portable ramp loaner program to give individuals with mobility impairments increased access to their homes.
    • In 2019, KATS was awarded another $75,000 grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to establish My New Kentucky Smart Home, a smart home technology lending library. The goal of My New KY Smart Home is to promote greater independence in the home for individuals with paralyzing conditions.