JULY 2 - JULY 9, 2005, GENERAL SESSION RECORD, 44th ANNUAL CONVENTION, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
GENERAL SESSION RECORD
44th ANNUAL CONVENTION
RIVIERA HOTEL AND CASINO
CONVENTION CENTER
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
JULY 2 - JULY 9, 2005

Sunday July 3, 2005

The 44th annual ACB Convention began at 7:20pm with the sound of the gavel landing on the podium by President Chris Gray.

The Invocation was delivered by Dr. Parker of LDS Church in Las Vegas.

Ms. Nicky White led the membership in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ms. Linda Braithwaite sang the Star Spangled Banner with the convention attendees joining her.

The President of the Nevada Council of the Blind, Ms. Carol Ann Ewing, enthusiastically expressed her welcome along with the members of the state and local affiliates.

President Gray gave his annual presidential report. He stated ACB is doing much better financially than a year ago. He spoke about the ACB cruises and that two cruises a year are being planned. The Vehicle Donation Project is doing well. He reported that the first ever Texas Hold ‘em tournament will be held using Braille and large print cards, which are usually not allowed on a poker table, during the convention in the Riviera Casino.

President Gray discussed the California family and how without intervention from members of the California Council of the Blind, a newborn baby was allowed to go home with his blind parents. He also relayed the problems the Hutchinsons, who are members of ACB, had when they applied for a certificate to become day care providers.

Further, President Gray stated the accessible currency lawsuit ACB filed against the Department of Treasury is still ongoing.

Talking ATM’s having become a part of our lives; Point of Sale Machines needs to be accessible for blind people and will be addressed in the near future.

American Express now sends credit card statements in accessible formats to blind and visually impaired clients.

Lastly, President Gray reported that ninety commercial radio stations are carrying the ACB convention information.

Next the Chair of the Public Relations Committee, Ralph Sanders, presented the first Media Access Award to Universal Studios Mr. Stuart Benjamin, Actor Jammy Foxx and others. Mr. Benjamin relayed some personal stories about Mr. Ray Charles. The movie “Ray” has been audio described.

President Gray introduced two of his friends who also were his former employers. Mr. Jim Halliday from HumanWare spoke of his association with President Gray. Next, Mr. Barry Safe made a few remarks.

Ms. Sue Ammeter, chair of the Membership Committee, presented a charter to the newest affiliate, American Council of the Blind Diabetics in Action and its president, Ms. Dee Clayton.

Mr. Lynn Manning, an author of poetry read a poem he wrote. Mr. Manning was a technical consultant for the TV series “Blind Justice” and relayed some of his experiences while the show was on the air. The show was cancelled with thirteen episodes left. He is hoping that those episodes can be put on DVD for sale.

Mr. Charlie Hodge, chair of the Board of Publications, presented the following awards: The Ned E. Freeman Excellence in Writing Award was presented to Mr. Carl Jarvis of the Washington Council of the Blind.

The Vernon Henley Award was presented to four different entities jointly this year. The first recipient called was Mr. Lynn Manning, the blind technical consultant on the “Blind Justice” show. The second winner was Mr. Ron Algard who played the lead role. Stephen Botchco Productions received the third award and G. W. Micro Productions received the fourth award.

Ms. Nola Webb McKinney presented two very special awards; the Affiliate Growth Award went to Mr. Vernon Daigle of the Louisiana Council of the Blind.

The Jim Olsen Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mrs. Anne Olsen and her daughter. Three former ACB presidents, Dr. Otis Stevens, Mr. Oral Miller and Mr. Paul Edwards, along with President Gray spoke briefly about their memories of ACB’s beloved Jim Olsen, who departed us on February 13, 2005.

Ms. Sarah Olsen spoke to the membership about her memories of ACB conventions she and her sister attended over the years. The Olson family introduced the James R. Olsen Scholarship fund and that the first award will be presented in 2007 when the convention will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jim Olsen’s hometown.

Mr. Alex Valdez, a comedian and inspirational speaker, enlightened the conventioneers with some of his experiences as a blind person through humor.

The ACB Life Memberships were presented by the family of Mr. Jim Olsen to nineteen deserving individuals plus two others that were awarded earlier.

The first Credential Committee report was given by Ms. Judi Cannon, chair. Although there were few problems, two affiliates received a reduction in votes from the committee.

The final item on the program was roll call of the affiliates conducted by Secretary Donna Seliger. There were fifty-seven affiliates seated for the 2005 ACB convention.

President Gray determined the meeting recessed at 11:05pm

Monday, July 4, 2005

In celebration of Independence Day, the Nevada Affiliate presented a father and son who played the Bagpipes to open the convention session.

Ms. Judi Cannon, Chair of the Credentials Committee gave a final report.

Motion 1: Ms. Cannon moved the acceptance of the Credentials Report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

The ACB Parliamentarian, Mr. Don Stevens, presented a list of Standing Rules by which the convention will follow.

Motion 2: Mr. Paul Edwards moved to adopt the Standing Rules for ACB. The motion passed on a voice vote.

President Gray introduced the officer of the day, Ms. Ardis Bazyn, ACB Treasurer.

Although the first speaker was not listed in the program, Ms. Bazyn introduced Mr. Jeff Schumacher, author of a book about Las Vegas.

Dr. Steven Lockley spoke to the attendees about the risk of Breast Cancer and a survey for blind women. To enroll in the survey one can go to the following web address of the toll free number. www.bvihealthsurvey.com 888-828-4294.

This year’s international guest, Mr. Mohamed Loutfy, a Junior Professional Associate with the World Bank comes to us from Lebanon and is a blind lawyer, spoke briefly about his background and explained how the World Bank operates.

Ms. Arlene Mayerson, an attorney with Disability Rights Education and Defense Funds (DREDF) told us how we can access Social Security materials in our preferred media. Currently, the Social Security Administration says they follow-up with a phone call after sending notices in print.

Resolution 2005-20 Social Security Administration accessible formats – “…resolved that this organization ratify the recommendation of the ACB Board of Directors.

Motion 3: Mr. Thom moved acceptance of Resolution 2005-20. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

This year marks the one hundredth birthday of Las Vegas and Mr. Jay Bartows brought some interesting information about the city.

From the National Library Service, Mr. Frank Kurt Cylke, Director, and the Head of the Engineering Section, Mr. Michael Katzmann, talked about digital books and the new NLS player. It will be easy to use and light weight. The audio quality will be improved and each book will be on a single flash card. The cassette machines currently in use will be continued well into the next decade while the digital books are being converted from cassette. Web Braille is becoming more popular. Magazines are now available for downloading. By 2006 there will be a dozen magazines available to NLS clients.

The Mayor of Las Vegas, Mr. Goldman, sent a proclamation to be read during the convention.

Ms. Lainey Feingold spoke to the membership about talking ATM’s and point of sale machines needing to be accessible. From 1999 when there were no talking ATM’s to today there are several thousand across the country. There are around twenty agreements with banks for accessible statements for blind and visually impaired patrons. Most of the banks have online accessibility using WC3.

Ms. Feingold and Ms. Dardarian are working with several large businesses such as Wal-Mart, Target and others to make the point of sale machines accessible. They are also working on accessible pedestrian signals.

Mr. Kenny Johnson, comedian from Las Vegas enlightened the audience with his experiences as a blind person living in Las Vegas.

The convention recessed at 11:55am

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

President Gray convened the third convention session at 8:35am.

Mr. Joel Snyder from NCI announced a family orientated movie will be shown for anyone on Wednesday evening. A press release was read stating Sesame Street will be on DVD and described by National Caption Institute.

Mr. Ray Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-Laws committee, presented the first reading of amendments 05-09, Article 3; 05-04, Article 6; and 05-02, Article 7.

Amendment 2005-09 – Article 3, section c, fourth sentence by striking out the words “and members at large” Proposed wording: “A record vote shall be composed of two distinct components; a standing vote at which the individual vote of certified voting members are taken and a roll call of affiliates by which official affiliate delegates shall announce the vote of their respective organizations.”

Amendment 2005-04, Article 6 by striking out the second sentence: “A majority of all votes certified and seated at the convention shall constitute a quorum to do business.” Proposed wording: “A quorum to do business shall consist of both thirty (30) percent of all certified voting members registered for the convention and thirty (30) percent of the affiliate votes seated at the convention.”

Amendment 2005-02, Article 7 by adding the following new language at the end of the Article: “A. The ACB president shall announce in the April and May editions of the Braille Forum the most recent accessible version of Robert’s which will be the authority at the upcoming annual convention and sources from which members may obtain accessible copies.”

Ms. Cathie Skivers, chair of the Nominating Committee, reported the results of the committee meeting. The results are as follows:

President: Chris Gray

First Vice President: M. J. Schmitt

Second Vice President: Mitch Pomerantz

Secretary: Donna Seliger

Treasurer: Ardis Bazyn

The presiding officer of the day, Mr. Mitch Pomerantz, First Vice President of ACB took the podium for the remainder of the program.

The Executive Director’s report was presented by Ms. Melanie Brunson. A new bill in Congress called Television Enhancement for the Visually Impaired has been sponsored by two senators. The House version is not out yet.

ACB has been working on consumer electronics issues to get companies to make them accessible.

Ms. Brunson concluded her report by praising the staff in the DC office and telling a bit about each.

Ms. Jamie Pope, American Association of Deaf-Blind representative, gave some input into the deaf-blind world. She emphasized that AADB would like to be more involved with ACB.

Next on the agenda was Ms. Susan Spungin, Ed. D, from the American Foundation for the Blind and treasurer of the World Blind Union discussed research that AFB conducts on an ongoing basis.

Dr. Tuck Tinsley, Director of the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. APH provides products for the blind and visually impaired.

Another short history of Las Vegas from Mr. Jay Bartows. Today we learned about the divorce and marriage industry in the early days of the city.

Always a highlight at every convention Ms. Patty Slaby introduced all the 2005 ACB Scholarship winners and presented each with a check.

Ms. Karen Wolffe from the American Printing House invited ACB members to become mentors. She also spoke about “window on the World”. In addition, she spoke about two new projects that are being implemented.

The session was recessed by Mr. Pomerantz at 12:15pm.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Ms. M. J. Schmitt, ACB’s Second Vice President, convened the fourth convention session at 8:35am.

Mr. Ray Campbell began by reading amendments 2005-03 which is a new Article X submitted by Mr. Joe Harcz. “Establishment of basic human rights and prohibitions against unlawful discrimination - A. Freedoms of expression and association the American Council of the Blind and any of its committees, board of directors, board of publications or other official authority shall make no law, policy or directive that will abridge any lawful expression of speech or freedom of media. All authorities of this organization are strictly prohibited from retaliating against sanctioning in any manner or censoring any member for truthful expression in any medium whether that expression is orally delivered or in written form. B. Declaration of basic human and civil rights – The American Council of the Blind or any committee, sub-division or other formal or ad hoc authority acting in official capacity shall not author any law or enact any policy that would restrict the rights of members solely on the basis of said members for religious beliefs or religious affiliation or lack thereof nor shall it pass any measure or establish any official policy that would discriminate against any member or class of members solely on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, gender, age or sexual orientation. C. Due Process Equal Protection and Prohibition of ex-post-facto rules – The organization shall not deny any member through any policy, rule or directive of any authority or committee any rights or privileges without having a mechanism for due process and appeal of any decision, nor shall it or any authority including all constitutionally prescribed committees or ad hoc committees apply any law, rule or authority or establish any policy or directive in an unequal manner, now shall ACB or any sub-division, committee or authority enact or apply any law, rule or directive that is ex-post-facto or retroactive in its application.”

2005-08, By-Law 4, Section B by adding the following language at the end of the section submitted by Mr. Joe Harcz. “Further, in order to comply with both the letter and spirit of laws governing disclosure of information and those governing the provision of making information accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired, the secretary shall remit to the national office and the ACB webmaster complete minutes of the convention, board of directors and executive committee within thirty (30) days of these meetings. These minutes and records shall then be made available to members in accessible format upon request. Members may request these records in any one of the following formats: Braille, audio tape, computer diskette, large print or as attachments to e-mail. Requests may be made by writing the national office in any format including print, Braille or digital format. They may be sent by conventional post, facsimile, over-night express or via e-mail. Members may request that these records are sent to them routinely on an ongoing basis. All requests will be honored within fifteen (15) days of the request in the format requested without fee although the organization urges that in order to facilitate requests and to reduce organizational cost, that requesters, who can do so, either request this information via e-mail or access it on the ACB website. The secretary, in collaboration with the national office shall maintain a list of these requesters so that this information is delivered routinely to them rather than requiring that requests are made on an ongoing basis. The ACB webmaster is also directed to post these records on the ACB website within ten (10) days of receipt. In the event that minutes or other records are subsequently altered or amended, then the secretary shall issue those revised records to the national office and webmaster within fifteen (15) days of the meeting in which they were amended. Subsequently, the ACB webmaster will delete the prior records from the ACB website and post the amended minutes and other records within seven (7(days of receipt.”

Amendment 2005-01 Article IV Section I, add the following sentence to the end of the section submitted by Ms. Karyn Campbell. “No former employee or former professional staff member who is also a member of ACB may run for election to the board of directors or the board of publications prior to one (1) year after the date of termination of employment with ACB regardless of how that employment was terminated.”

Amendment 2005-09 second reading. Amend Article III Section c, fourth sentence by striking “and members at large”.

Motion 4: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of amendment 05-09. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Amendment 2005-04 submitted by the Constitution and By-laws Committee. Amend Article VI by striking out the second sentence “A majority of all votes certified and seated at the convention shall constitute a quorum to do business.” New language “A quorum to do business shall consist of both thirty (30) percent of all certified voting members registered for the convention and thirty (30) percent of affiliate votes seated at the convention.”

Motion 5: Mr. Jeff Thom moved to refer Article VI back to the committee for review. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

President Gray introduced Ms. M. J. Schmitt, First Vice President of ACB who will serve as the officer of the day.

The Future of Rehabilitation Services panel discussion came next moderated by Ms. Melanie Brunson, Executive Director of ACB with panelists Ms. Pam Shaw, Director of Services for the Blind in Pennsylvania and Ms. Patricia Beattie, National Industries for the Blind. The RSA has substantially reduced staff especially those working in the field. The concern is that clients of state agencies will not receive quality services.

Today we heard the final segment of the history of Las Vegas. About 90 miles north of Las Vegas was the sight of United States Atomic Bomb. A test resulted in a number of broken windows and other shakes. Las Vegas played on the A Bomb by advertising a variety of items such as drinks and hair dos.

Mr. Bob Schmitz, program supervisor of the Braille transcription program at Folsom Prison spoke briefly about this worth while project. The program has trained eighteen inmates to date to transcribe Braille text books as well as Braille music.

Mr. B. T. Kimbrough of Mississippi State University updated the ACB membership on their conference being held simultaneously with the ACB Convention.

Mr. Thom presented resolution 2005-21 – Amtrak funding submitted by the North Dakota Association of the Blind. “…resolved that this organization urge the Congress and President to appropriate funding for Amtrak at a level no less than the amount appropriated for the current fiscal year.”

Motion 6: Mr. Thom moved to adopt Resolution 2005-21. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 7: A member from the audience moved that the Resolutions Chair dispense with reading boiler plate language in all subsequent resolutions to save time. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-18 – Supreme Court Appointments “…resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff to examine the public statements, writings and judicial decisions, if any, of the presidential nominee to replace Justice Day-O’Connor. In order to determine whether the nominee has taken positions in opposition to Federal and State Civil Rights Laws that guarantee the civil rights of individuals who are blind, visually impaired or have other disabilities, and; Be it further resolved that should this examination indicate the nominee holds views in opposition to the Civil Rights Laws, this organization direct its officers, directors and staff to take appropriate action including the provision of testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full United States Senate vehemently opposing such nominee, and; Be it further resolved that the practice set forth in this resolution be followed with respect to future nominees to the United States Supreme Court.”

Motion 8: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-18. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-12 – PIN Entry Access submitted by the California Council of the Blind. “…resolved that this organization strongly encourage retail chains to install key pad PIN entry devices in order that blind and visually impaired people have equal access to security and private point of sale transactions.”

Motion 9: Mr. Thom moved to adopt resolution 2005-12. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

The convention session recessed at 12:00pm.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

President Gray opened the fifth convention session at 8:35am.

Mr. Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-laws committee reported out all the amendments’ first reading.

Amendments 2005-05 submitted Mr. Charlie Hodge. Amend Article IV, Section k by striking out all of the text in the section and replacing it with the following: “K. The name, place of residence and employment status, if known, for all nominees recommended by the Nominating Committee for election to any elected position within this organization shall be announced to the convention as part of that committee’s report.”

Amendment 2005-06 submitted by Mr. Charlie Hodge as chair of the ACB Board of Publications. By-Law 6, Section D, first sentence. Change “chairperson” to “chair” and add the words “at least” immediately prior to the word “four”. Proposed wording: “At least ninety (90) days prior to the opening of each annual convention, the President shall appoint a chair and at least four (4) additional members to a Constitutional and By-Laws Committee.” Proviso: If the above amendment is adopted, the Secretary in consultation with the Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee and the Executive Director is hereby authorized to insert the word “chair” in place of the word “chairperson” wherever the latter word is found to occur throughout the Constitution and By-Laws and to correct article and section designation, punctuation and cross-references and to make such other technical and conforming changes as may be necessary to reflect the intent of the members in convention assembled in relation to achieving uniformity of, consistency and the usage of and conformity in terminology utilized throughout the ACB Constitution and By-Laws while at the same time not altering the substantive meaning of or the intent underlying the numerous provisions envisioned to be altered throughout the ACB Constitution and By-Laws pursuant to the insertion and alternation authority granted herein to the Secretary.

Amendment 2005-07 submitted by Mr. Charlie Hodge as Chair of the ACB Board of Publications. Amend Article V, Section D, third sentence by striking out the word “chairman” and replacing it with the word “chair”. Proposed wording: “The President shall appoint a chair who shall conduct the committee meeting.” Proviso: If the above Amendment is adopted, the Secretary in consultation with the Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee and the Executive Director is hereby authorized to insert the word “chair” in place of the word “chairman” wherever the latter word is found to occur throughout the Constitution and By-Laws and to correct Article and Section designation, punctuation and cross-references and to make such other technical and conforming changes as may be necessary to reflect the intent of the members in convention assembled in relation to achieving uniformity of, consistency in the usage of and conformity in terminology utilized throughout the ACB Constitution and By-Laws while at the same time not altering the substantive meaning of or the intent underlying the numerous provisions envisioned to be altered throughout the ACB Constitution and By-Laws pursuant to the insertion and alteration authority granted herein to the Secretary.

Amendment 2005-02 submitted by Mr. Bud Keith. Amend Article 7 by adding the following new language at the end of the Article: “A. The ACB President shall announce in the April and May edition of the Braille Forum the most recent accessible version of Robert’s which will be the authority at the upcoming annual convention and sources from which members may obtain accessible copies.”

Mr. John Huffman offered to amend by dividing the proposed wording in two parts.

Motion 10: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of amendment 2005-02. On a voice vote, there was no clear two-thirds vote on either side, therefore the motion failed.

This year’s Talking Book Narrator, Mr. Barry Bernson, who was scheduled to be on Wednesday’s program will now enlighten the membership with Notes from a Narrator.

President Gray introduced the officer of the day, ACB secretary, Donna Seliger.

Ms. Cynthia Towers, convention coordinator, announced there were 1,665 attendees at the ACB convention including the vendors and volunteers.

Mr. Towers then introduced two gentlemen from the Jacksonville who gave ACB members some interesting information about the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Jacksonville, Florida area. The Jacksonville Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel was overviewed as well as the surrounding area. The room rate for 2006 will be $79 plus tax which equates to $90 per night for up to four persons. The toll free number for reservations is 800-233-1234.

Mr. Paul Edwards. President of the Florida Council of the Blind addressed the members. Mr. Edwards announced the convention dates are July 8 through 15, 2006.

Dr. Barbra Siple from the Edinboro University in Pennsylvania addressed the convention about coping with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Dr. Siple conducted a study on RP which takes a long time for one to become blind. Dr. Siple became involved in ACB after having won a scholarship in 1995.

Mr. David Trott, chair of the Resource Development Committee, announced that Mr. and Mrs. Mitch Pomerantz bid $1,100 to win the time share auction.

Mr. Bruce Holtman of the Riviera Casino announced the winners of the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em first annual Poker Tournament. There were 56 ACB members playing with Braille and Large Print cards. The winners were: Mr. Jesus Garcia, ninth place winning $75; eighth place winner Ms. Carla Ruschival with $75; Jo Ann Nopoly at $100 in seventh place; Ms. Rachel Powell won $100 for sixth place; Mr. Tommy Barrett came in fifth winning $100; in fourth place Mr. Ken Maddox won $100; Mr. Dennis Finnighan came in third winning $150; coming in second was Mr. Robert Essenberg winning $250 and the first place prize of $400 was Ms. Mary Jean Hoover.

Mr. Thom, chair of the Resolutions Committee, presented Resolution 2005-23 – Accessible Poker Tournament. “…resolved that this organization highly commend and thank the Riviera Hotel and Casino and its employees for hosting this first ever sanctioned poker tournament in which Braille and large print cards were used.”

Motion 11: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-23. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

The convention session recessed at 10:40am and everyone was encouraged to attend the break-out sessions.

Friday, July 8, 2005

The final convention session was convened by President Gray at 8:35am.

Mr. Paul Edwards and President Gray remembered Ms. Gayle Krause and her involvement in ACB as she passed away in April of this year. A favorite tune of Gayle’s was played.

The Constitutions and By-Laws committee chair, Mr. Ray Campbell, presented a number of amendments.

Amendment 2005-04 submitted by the Constitution and By-Laws Committee amending Article VI, by replacing the word “all” with the word “affiliate”. Proposed wording: “A regular meeting of this organization shall be held once a year to be known as the annual convention. A majority of affiliate votes certified and seated at the convention shall constitute a quorum to do business.”

Motion 12: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of the above Article VI. On a voice vote, the motion carried according to the chair. On a Roll call vote the affirmative vote 85.33 percent and the negative vote 14.67 percent.

Resolution 2005-01 – National 411 submitted by the California Council of the Blind. “…resolved that the officers, directors and staff of this organization seek through administrative or legislative remedies as appropriate a national exemption from 411 charges for wire line users who are blind or visually impaired.”

Motion 13: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 05-01. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-02 – National Audio Description Awards submitted by the California Council of the Blind. “…resolved that the officers, directors and staff of this organization enter into discussions with the National Association of Broadcasters, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to establish in cooperation with ACB awards in the following categories: 1) Network with the most descriptive video content; 2) Best described children’s program, situation comedy and television drama; 3) Cinematic production and 4) Most productions by a single movie studio.”

Motion 14: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2005-02. The motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-03 – Right Turns submitted by the California Council of the Blind. “…resolved that this organization urge its affiliate to undertake concerted public education campaigns including discussions with state departments of motor vehicles, law enforcement, traffic schools and traffic safety officials to increase awareness regarding the danger to all pedestrians, particularly persons who are blind or visually impaired when drivers fail to comply with state laws governing right turns and of the need to enforce such laws, and; Be it further resolved that the officers, directors and staff of this organization are directed to explore ways in which to assist its affiliates in these campaigns including updating, if necessary, and disseminating the ACB Pedestrian Safety Handbook.”

Motion 15: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-03. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Amendment 2005-03 submitted by Mr. Joe Harcz. New Article X to be added to the Constitution. Proposed wording: “Establishment of basic human rights and prohibitions against unlawful discrimination - A. Freedoms of expression and association the American Council of the Blind and any of its committees, board of directors, board of publications or other official authority shall make no law, policy or directive that will abridge any lawful expression of speech or freedom of media. All authorities of this organization are strictly prohibited from retaliating against sanctioning in any manner or censoring any member for truthful expression in any medium whether that expression is orally delivered or in written form. B. Declaration of basic human and civil rights – The American Council of the Blind or any committee, sub-division or other formal or ad hoc authority acting in official capacity shall not author any law or enact any policy that would restrict the rights of members solely on the basis of said members for religious beliefs or religious affiliation or lack thereof nor shall it pass any measure or establish any official policy that would discriminate against any member or class of members solely on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, gender, age or sexual orientation. C. Due Process Equal Protection and Prohibition of ex-post-facto rules – The organization shall not deny any member through any policy, rule or directive of any authority or committee any rights or privileges without having a mechanism for due process and appeal of any decision, nor shall it or any authority including all constitutionally prescribed committees or ad hoc committees apply any law, rule or authority or establish any policy or directive in an unequal manner, now shall ACB or any sub-division, committee or authority enact or apply any law, rule or directive that is ex-post-facto or retroactive in its application.”

Mr. Campbell stated the committee recommends a do not pass on this resolution.

Motion 16: Ms. Penny Reeder moved the adoption of a new Article X to the Constitution. On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Motion 17: Mr. Michael Byington moved to refer the constitutional amendment back to the committee until the 2006 convention. On a voice vote, the motion to refer failed.

Mr. John Fleming from California enlightened the attendees with his experiences as a blind sky diver. Mr. Fleming has jumped from a plane 1,947 times over a forty-two year period.

The election of the five officers of ACB was held. Ms. Cathie Skivers, chair of the Nominating Committee, announced the names of those nominated from the committee.

President – The nominating committee reported Chris Gray for president.

Motion 18: Mr. Ralph Sanders moved that nominations cease and that Mr. Chris Gray be elected by acclamation. The motion carried on a voice vote.

The office of First Vice President – The nominating committee chose Ms. M. J. Schmitt.

Motion 19: Mr. Ray Campbell moved to elect Ms. Schmitt by acclamation. The motion carried overwhelmingly.

The Second Vice President – Mr. Mitch Pomerantz was elected from the nominations committee.

Motion 20: A member moved to elect Mr. Pomerantz by acclamation. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Ms. Donna Seliger was selected by the nominating committee.

Motion 21: A member moved to elect Ms. Seliger by acclamation. The motion carried on a voice vote.

For Treasurer the Nominating Committee selected Ms. Ardis Bazyn.

Motion 22: Mr. Mike Godino was nominated from the floor. The results of the election were 37.6 percent for Ms. Bazyn and 62 percent for Mr. Mike Godino.

Mr. Thom presented Resolution 2005-04 submitted by the California Council of the Blind – Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic Digital Books. “…resolved that this organization deplore and condemn RFB&D’s practice of requiring installation of an authorization key at RFB&D headquarters in order to access its reading materials.”

Motion 23: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-04. On a voice vote, the motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-17 submitted by Mr. Charlie Hodge – ADA and ABA Access Standings. “…resolve that this organization in light of our prior urgent requests having resulted in little or no regulatory action by the ADA and ABA accessibility standards setting agencies demand that these agencies immediately commence proceedings which will lead to final regulatory action based upon the Access Board’s ABA accessibility provisions and ADAAG’s final rule, and; Be it further resolved that this organization instruct its officers, directors and staff to immediately convey the substance of this resolution to the appropriate officials within both the ADA and ABA accessibility standard setting agencies, and; Be it further resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff should those agencies not expeditiously initiate such proceedings to prepare a plan outlining specific legal steps to be taken by this organization.”

Motion 24: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-17. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-19 submitted by Ms Marjorie Donavon – Department of Veterans’ Affairs Accessibility System “…resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff to communicate to the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs the necessity for the Department apply with accessibility requirements of Section 508, and; Be it further resolved that this organization demand that the Secretary be ordered to remedy the problems set forth in this resolution. Halt purchase and deployment of all software applications that do not fully meet the requirements of Section 508 in providing access for its employees who are blind and visually impaired, as well as immediately bringing into compliance existing inaccessible software applications.”

Motion 25: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-19. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-16 submitted by ACB of Maryland – Accessible Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail. “…resolved that this organization authorize the officers, directors and staff to take all necessary action to ensure the accessibility of voting equipment and procedures including a VVPAT wherever adopted.”

Motion 26: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-16. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 27: A further resolve clause was offered. “Be it further resolved that ACB does not support any legislation that would delay the deadline of the Help America Vote Act.” The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 28: Mr. Byington moved to add an additional resolve clause. “Be it further resolved that this organization opposes the concept of VVPAT as being unnecessary to ensure an accurate vote count.” On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Resolution 2005-10 – Host Committee “… resolved that this organization whole-heartedly thank and commend the Host Committee and the Nevada Council of the Blind for their fine work.”

Motion 29: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-10. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 30: Mr. Campbell moved to adopt the remaining four commendatory resolutions in mass which are 2005-08 Volunteers; 2005-11 Convention Committee; 2005-33 Scoop Masters clean up services and 2005-10 Hotel Staff. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 31: Mr. Jon Gormley moved to remove the hotel resolution from the group of commendatory resolutions. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-06 submitted by GDUI – Emotional support animals. “… resolved that this organization strongly urge the Department of Transportation in its final rule implementing the ACAA to define service animal in the context of those animals trained to perform physical tasks that mitigate the disabilities of their handlers, and; Be it further resolved that this final rule in conjunction with that definition exclude emotional support animals from the definition of service animals, and; Be it further resolved that the officers, directors and staff of this organization be directed to send a letter to the Department of Transportation conveying the substance of this resolution.”

Motion 32: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-06. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-24 submitted by Mr. Erick Bridges – JWOD Federal Procurement Practices. “… resolved that this organization call upon the Committee for Purchase from people who are blind or severely disabled to strengthen its efforts to educate Federal Acquisition officials and Government Purchase Card holders about their obligations under the JWOD Act and the committee’s implementing regulations, and; Be it further resolved that this organization call upon GSA to more closely monitor compliance with commercial firms’ contract clauses requiring that these companies stop offering any products that would be essentially the same as the required Skilcraft and other JWOD products, and; Be it further resolved that this organization call on the OFPP to develop more effective Government-wide policies to protect the JWOD program and to more effectively train Federal Purchase Card users about their obligations under the JWOD Act, and; Be it further resolved that the officers, directors and staff of the American Council of the Blind send copies of this resolution to the Chairman and Executive Director of the Committee for Purchase from people who are blind and severely disabled, the Commissioner of GSA and the administrator of OFPP.”

Motion 33: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-24. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-14 submitted by Mr. John Huffman - Life Member Due Allocation “… resolved that all monies received henceforth from Life Membership fees shall be placed in an insured, interest-bearing account separate and apart from operating funds of the organization and left there to accumulate and compound until the account reaches a balance of at least $50,000 after which the interest there from may be used annually by ACB without subtracting any of the principle to which Life Membership fees shall be added.”

Motion 34: David Trott moved the adoption Resolution 2005-14, the motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 35: Mr. Brian Charlson moved to strike wording that would restrict the source of investment; “insured, interest-bearing”. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-05 – Name Change for Magazine submitted by Mr. Thomas Mitchell “… resolved that this organization request the Board of Publications of the American Council of the Blind to consider adopting a name change for the Braille Forum with the suggestion for such change being “The ACB Forum” with a sub-title “A publication of the American Council of the Blind.”

Amendment 2005-08 submitted by Mr. Joe Harcz – By-Law 4, section B by adding the following language at the end of the section. “Further, in order to comply with both the letter and spirit of the laws governing disclosure of information and those governing the provision of making information accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired, the secretary shall remit to the National Office and the ACB webmaster complete minutes of the convention, board of directors’ and executive committee within thirty (30) days of these meetings. These minutes and records shall then be made available to members in accessible format upon request. Members may request these records in any one of the following formats: Braille, audio tape, computer diskette, large print or as attachments to e-mail. Requests may be made by writing the National Office in any format including print, Braille or digital format. They may be sent by conventional post, facsimile, overnight express or via e-mail. Members may request that these records are sent to them routinely on an ongoing basis. All requests will be honored within fifteen (15) days of the request in the format requested without fee although the organization urges that in order to facilitate requests and to reduce organizational costs that requesters, who can do so, either request this information via e-mail or access it on the ACB website. The secretary, in collaboration with the National Office, shall maintain a list of these requesters so that this information is delivered routinely to them rather than requiring that requests are made on an ongoing basis. The ACB Webmaster is also directed to post these records on the ACB website within ten (10) days of receipt. In the event that minutes or other records are subsequently altered or amended, then the secretary shall issue those revised records to the National Office and Webmaster within fifteen (15) days of the meeting in which they were amended. Subsequently, the ACB Webmaster will delete the prior record from the ACB website and post the amended minutes and other records within seven (7) days of receipt.”

Motion 36: Ms. Penny Reeder moved the adoption of By-Law 4, Section B. On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Motion 37: Ms. Penny Reeder moved a caveat that the minutes have not been approved. When they are approved, that wording is to be removed. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Amendment 2005-01 submitted by Ms. Karyn Campbell – Amend Article IV, Section I by adding the following sentence to the end of the section. “No former employee or former professional staff member who is also a member of ACB may run for election to the Board of Directors or Board of Publications prior to one (1) year after the date of termination of employment with ACB regardless of how that employment was terminated.”

Motion 38: Mr. Campbell moved to refer the amendment to the Office Review Committee. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Amendment 2005-05 submitted by Mr. Charlie Hodge – Amend Article IV, Section K of the Constitution by striking out the text in this section and replacing it with the following: “K. The name, place of residence and employment status, if known, for all nominees recommended by the Nominating Committee for election for any elected position within this organization shall be announced to the convention as part of that committee’s report.”

Motion 39: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of amendment 2005-05. On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Motion 40: Mr. Frank Welte moved to insert “employment status, if known and name of employer, if known”. On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Amendment 2005-06 submitted by Mr. Charlie Hodge – by-Law 6, Section D. Change “chairperson” to chair” and add the words “at least” immediately prior to the word “four”. Proposed wording: “At least ninety (90) days prior to the opening of each annual convention the president shall appoint a chair and at least four (4) additional members to a Constitution and By-Laws Committee.” Proviso: If the above amendment is adopted, the secretary in consultation with the Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee and the Executive Director is hereby authorized to insert the word “chair” in place of the word “chairperson” wherever the latter word is found to occur throughout the Constitution and By-Laws and to correct article and section designations, punctuation and cross-references and to make such other technical and conforming changes as may be necessary to reflect the intent of the members in convention assembled in relation to achieving uniformity of, consistency in the usage of and conformity and terminology utilized throughout the ACB Constitution and By-Laws while at the same time not altering the substantive meaning of or the intent underlying the numerous provisions envisioned to be altered throughout the ACB Constitution and By-Laws pursuant to the insertion and alternation authority granted herein to the Secretary.

Motion 41: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of by-law 6, section D. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Motion 42: Mr. Welte offered an amendment that the following language be added to the end: “…and all such changes shall be published in the Braille Forum and shall be included in the next convention report of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee.” On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Motion 43: President Gray asked for a motion to suspend the rules and not read Amendment 2005-07. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 44: Mr. Michael Byington moved to amend 2005-07 to change the word “chairman” to “chairperson”. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Ms. Theresa Matson of the Riviera Hotel spoke to the ACB attendees. She stated the staff worked together to make this a successful convention.

Resolution 2005-27 submitted by Mr. Michael Osborne – Department of Transportation’s Notice of proposed rule making under ACAA “… resolved that this organization call upon the Department of Transportation to changes its recommendations to specifically include the following language: “You may offer the passenger sitting in a seat adjacent to the disabled passenger traveling with a large service animal a seat in the same class of service in another part of the cabin. If no seats are available in that class of service, you may ask for a volunteer to occupy the seat next to the disabled passenger which would share leg room. If no volunteers forth coming and seats are available in another class of service in another part of the cabin, it would not constitute an undue burden for you to ask the adjacent passenger or the disabled passenger to occupy a seat in that other class of service.”

Motion 45: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-27. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-13 submitted by Braille Revival League – Nemeth Uniform Braille System “…resolved that this organization strongly urge the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) to make a detailed examination of the NUMBS over the next year and report its findings and a plan of action to the 2006 ACB National Convention.”

Motion 46: Mr. Thom moved to adopt the resolution. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 47: Ms. Kim Charlson moved to amend the above resolution by modifying the clause to state the National Braille Association is promoting completion of the code, but have not stated they promote the code as a replacement for Nemeth Code or with the current BANA Code in the US. The motion carried on a voice vote. Thus “Whereas, the National Braille Association is promoting the completion of this system…” The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 05-15 submitted by Mr. Ken Stewart – Digital Divide “… resolved that this organization request that the President and Executive Director in consultation with the Board of Publications, the Information Access Committee, the Internet Oversight Committee, the Membership Committee and any other appropriate ACB bodies do all of the following: A) Determine or cause to be determined the portion of ACB members who are not internet users. B) Establish policies which minimize the communication disadvantages to this population without diminishing the benefits of the internet for the organization, and C) Promote activities, communications and programs to encourage and facilitate more internet use by non-users.”

Motion 48: Mr. Frank Welte moved to add Blind Information Technology Specialists (BITS) to the above list. No vote was taken as this motion was considered friendly.

Motion 49: Mr. Paul Edwards moved to change portion with proportion and in the resolve clause replace the word portion with number. No vote was taken as this motion was considered friendly.

Motion 50: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-15. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-22 submitted by GDUI – Convention Guide Dog Relief Areas “…resolved that ACB include the guide dog representative to the Convention Committee as a permanent member on the initial sight selection team.”

Motion 51: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-22. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-25 submitted by Mr. Michael Malver – Unauthorized use of Audio Described materials. “… resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff to explore unauthorized use of copywrited audio described materials is occurring, and; Be it further resolved that if it is determined that such unauthorized use is occurring, the officers, directors and staff of this organization shall develop a plan of action to address this problem.”

Motion 52: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-25. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-26 submitted by Mr. Paul Edwards – Change of Name for NLS “… resolved that this organization instruct its officers, directors and staff to work collaboratively with the National Library Service to encourage Congress to remove the word “handicap” from the name of the Library of Congress division that provides talking books and Braille materials to people who are print disabled, and; Be it further resolved that library professional organizations and regional and sub-regional libraries serving people who are print disabled also be encouraged to remove the word “handicap” from their names.”

Motion 53: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 05-26. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-27 submitted by Mr. Paul Edwards –Training Infrastructure for Financial Information “… resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff to work with a coalition of organizations of and for the blind to create and implement a training infrastructure that will enable people who are blind or visually impaired to learn how to bank and shop more independently, and; Be it further resolved that in addition to direct training opportunities this coalition work to ensure that rehabilitation professionals and teachers for the blind and visually impaired be provided with instructions in these vital areas either in pre-service educational settings or through in-service training.”

Motion 54: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-27. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-28 submitted by Mr. Paul Edwards– Medical and Hospital Training. “…resolved that this organization instruct its officers, Directors and staff to work with other organizations of and for the blind to create a national initiative to do both of the following: 1. Train hospital personnel on how to appropriately and effectively communicate, enter act and deliver quality services to people who are blind or visually impaired, and 2. Develop and disseminate materials that will enable people who are blind or visually impaired to understand and defend their rights in a hospital setting, and; Be it further resolved that this coalition seek to assure that these issues are included as elements of hospital accreditation.”

Motion 55: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-28. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-29 submitted by Sight and Sound Impaired – Support Service Providers at Conventions “…resolved that this organization provide SSP services for those attendees with a dual sensory impairment who require such services, and; Be it further resolved that the Sight and Sound Impaired (SASI) Committee be represented on the Convention Committee so that the needs of this population are adequately addressed.

Motion 56: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-29.

Motion 57:Mr. Charlson moved to refer Resolution 2005-29 to the ACB Budget and Finance Committee. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-30 submitted by RSVA– Preserving the Office for the Blind and visually impaired within RSA and for other purposes “ …resolved that this organization join with its affiliate, Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA) to express its full support for all appropriate actions to save the Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired and to maintain the RSA regional offices and the Residentially appointed status of the Commissioner and to pledge to dedicate its resources and to work with other organizations to ensure the success of such initiatives, and; Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution be presented forthwith to the Secretary of Education, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Education and the Work Force.”

Motion 58: Mr. Thom moved to adopt Resolution 2005-30. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-31 – Sky Diving Accessibility “ … resolved that this organization express its dissatisfaction and disapproval concerning the decision of Sky Dive Las Vegas to refuse to allow a person to sky dive solely on the basis that he or she is blind or visually impaired, and; Be it further resolved that this organization direct its staff to work with Mr. Hachey in exploring any available remedies.”

Motion 59: Mr. Thom moved to adopt Resolution 2005-31. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2005-32 submitted by Ms. Judy Jackson – Accessible School Materials. “… resolved that this organization instruct its officers, directors and staff to prepare and circulate a brief document outlining the rights of parents who are blind or visually impaired to receive materials in an accessible format from school districts throughout the country, and: Be it further resolved that this document be circulated to the National Association for Parents of Visually Impaired Children (NAPVI), state departments of education including the relevant entity in the District of Columbia, the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), the National Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and other appropriate organizations, and; Be it further resolved that this organization urge its affiliates to disseminate this document to local education agencies, and; Be it further resolved that an article outlining the rights of blind or visually impaired parents to receive materials in accessible format be published in the Braille Forum so that it will be available as an easily accessible reference that such parents can use.”

Motion 60: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2005-32. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2005-34 submitted by Lucy Greco – Satellite and Cable Descriptive Video Feeds “…resolved that this organization direct its Information Access Committee to expeditiously investigate this vitally important television broadcasting and telecommunications issue and provide a report including recommended actions to the ACB Board of Directors by the date of the 2006 mid-year board meeting.”

Motion 61:Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 05-34. The motion carried on a voice vote.

President Gray proceeded to create the Resolution Prioritization committee with Mr. Thom as chair along with Ms. Brunson and Ms. Al Mohamed with assistance from any committee members.

Ms. Ardis Bazyn, ACB Treasurer reported to the membership. She stated after expenses and revenues for 2004, ACB was left with a net of $67,643.65.

Motion 62: President Gray entertained a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. The motion carried on a voice vote.

President Gray adjourned the 44th annual convention at 4:30pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger, Secretary