Chapter 10 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding immediately after section 58A, the following new section 58B: -
Section 58B. The council shall develop a design certification program for cultural facilities and programming (the program). The program shall officially recognize best practices as defined by the council with respect to so-called universal or inclusive design principles in (1) the construction, maintenance and operation of cultural facilities, including museums and performance centers and (2) the development and presentation of arts and cultural programming within the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Different levels of certification may be awarded under the program with each level based on minimum qualifications to be determined by the council. In order to implement the program, the council may establish an application and review process, criteria, guidelines, rules and regulations in accordance with the provisions of section fifty-four. To further aid in the program’s design and development, the council shall consult with nationally recognized universal or inclusive design experts, Massachusetts advocates for accessibility in the arts, sciences and humanities, and other experts as necessary.
The program’s primary purpose shall be the recognition of cultural facilities and cultural programming that adhere to certain design principles. The program shall not be for determining, nor shall the award of any certification under the program be deemed evidence of, any applicant’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, any other legal requirement regarding accessibility, or any other state or federal law or municipal code or ordinance. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the council may take into account compliance with relevant laws and regulations as part of its criteria for awarding any level of program certification.
Any certificate issued under the program shall be valid for a period of five years after it which it may be renewed in such manner as is prescribed by the council. The council may enter into contracts with individuals, organizations and institutions for services furthering the objectives of the program; may accept application fees from applicants to the program; and may require applicants to the program to pay any reasonable fees of experts of consultants retained by the council to conduct a review of such applicant’s facility or programming; and may do and perform any and all other acts which may be necessary or desirable to carry out the purposes of this section fifty-eightB.
For purposes of this section, the terms “universal design” or “inclusive design” shall refer to the concept of designing cultural programming and facilities to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life without the need for further adaptation.
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