JULY 5, JULY 11, 2003, GENERAL SESSION RECORD, 42nd ANNUAL CONVENTION, PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
GENERAL SESSION RECORD
42nd ANNUAL CONVENTION
DAVID L. LAWRENCE CONVENTION CENTER
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
JULY 5 – JULY 11, 2003

July 6, 2003

The first General Session was gaveled to order at 7:35pm with President Chris Gray presiding.

Following the invocation and Presentation of Colors, the National Anthem was sung by Ms. Pat Shreck and accompanied on the piano by Ms. Linda Braithwaite.

Ms. Marvelena Quesada introduced several International guests who were encouraged to address the audience in their native language.

Mr. Jay Doudna, President of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, welcomed everyone to the convention.

Ms. Christine Boone, director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Impairment, welcomed ACB to Pittsburgh.

President Chris Gray reported to the membership utilizing three core words; coalition, cooperation and consensus.

Following the President’s address, Mr. LeRoy Saunders was asked to come to the podium. Mr. Saunders, who was a key player in promoting the ACB history book, was presented with the first copy of “People of Vision”, ACB’s history.

The guest speaker of the evening was Mr. Jim Gibbons, CEO of National Industries for the Blind.

In light of Seeing Eye celebrating its 75th anniversary, Mr. Ken Rosenthal was asked to make a few remarks.

Ms. Teddi-Joy Remhild presented the Affiliate Growth Award to Blind Friends of Lesbians and Gays president, Ms. Connie David.

The Distinguished Service Award went to Ms. Ida Scotty and was presented by Ms. Kathey Wheeler.

Ms. Remhild announced that the recipient of the Robert Bray Award, Ms. Maxine Dorf, was unable to accept the award in person.

The George Card Award was presented to Ms. Winifred Downing.

Mr. Charlie Hodge, chair of the Board of Publications, presented the Vernon Henley Memorial Award to Ms. Pat Price

The Ned E. Freeman Award recipient was Mr. Mike Godino of New York.

Mr. Jim Olsen, Chief Financial Officer, and President Gray presented Life Membership certificates to twelve members.

President Gray then presented a plaque to Mr. Olsen for his twenty-five years of dedication and service to ACB.

Ms. Judi Cannon, chair of the Credentials Committee, gave the initial report from the committee.

Secretary Donna Seliger conducted the roll call of affiliates. Sixty-three affiliates answered the call.

The first general session of ACB concluded at 10:45pm.

July 7, 2003

The second general session began at 8:40am with President Gray presiding.

Following the invocation, Ms. Judi Cannon presented the final Credentials Report.

Motion 1: Ms. Cannon moved adoption of the credentials report. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind, Mr. Charlie Crawford, reported on the activities during the past year from the National Office and its staff in Washington, DC.

Mr. Ray Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee gave the first reading of By-law 3, section C. The committee proposed to strike section C and add new wording. “The annual dues for sustaining members shall be divided into the following categories: $50 or more for supporting memberships; $100 or more for bronze; $1,000 or more for silver; $10,000 or more for gold and $100,000 or more for platinum.”

The second amendment read is from Article 3, Section A, sub section 2 with additional wording. “Non-voting members shall be the individuals and entities holding memberships and those persons holding junior memberships at-large.”

The third amendment is from By-law 1, fourth sentence by adding the following language. “Any person who has not reached the age of 18 years may become a junior member at-large by completing an official application therefore accompanied by one year’s dues and by designating his/her preferred edition of the Braille Forum.”

The remainder of the Monday session was presided over by First Vice President Steve Speicher from Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ms. Alice Ritchhart, co-chair of the Transportation Survey Committee reported that the survey had been completed, but not all the data was available at the time of this report.

Mr. Jeff Moyer of Talking Signs Technology updated the audience on the progress of audible signage over the past ten years.

The next segment on transportation was presented by Mr. Mike Godino who announced a “talking bus” would be available to take members to the mall.

Mr. Chris Weeks of Clever Devices discussed state of the art technology in transportation. He demonstrated what one might hear when boarding a bus.

Ms. Donna Smith who is employed by Easter Seals discussed Project ACTION (Accessible Community Transportation in Our Nation). Her job is to promote partnerships between the transportation industry and the disability community.

The final speaker on the transportation issue was Ms. Melanie Brunson, ACB Director of Governmental Affairs. She reviewed the Transportation Equity Act Re-authorization Bill currently in Congress.

Continuing with the tradition of hearing from one of our favorite Talking Book narrators, Mr. Gordon Gould was introduced. Mr. Gould enlightened the audience with his experiences as a talking book narrator.

This year’s international guest came all the way from Madrid, Spain to speak to convention attendees. Mr. Oral Miller introduced Mr. Enrique Perez, president of the International Blind Sports Association.

Mr. Oral Miller, the Recreation Zone chair, reviewed times the zone would be open for anyone wishing to participate.

The session recessed at 12:05pm

July 8, 2003

The third convention session began at 8:35am with President Chris Gray presiding.

The Invocation was followed by President Gray announcing that each day has a corporate sponsor. Monday’s sponsor was IBM and today’s sponsor will be Bank of America, he stated.

The Director of the American Printing House, Dr. Tuck Tinsley spoke briefly to the audience. He introduced the inventor of the Braille and Speak, Mr. Fred Gissoni.

Next, President Gray introduced the Perkins School for the Blind Director, Steve Rothstein who made a few brief remarks.

Ms. Susan LaVenture, Executive Director of the National Association of Parents of visual Impaired children introduced herself and spoke briefly.

Ms. Cathie Skivers, chair of the nominating committee, reported the slate of officers and directors the committee recommended for election. For president, Mr. Chris Gray; first vice president, Mr. Steve Speicher; second vice president, Ms. M. J. Schmitt; secretary, Ms. Donna Seliger; and treasurer, Mr. Mike Godino.

Mr. Ray Campbell read By-law amendment 3, section C. Strike that section and replace with a new section. “The annual dues for sustaining members shall be divided into the following categories: $50 or more for supporting membership; $100 or more for bronze; $1,000 or more for silver; $10,000 or more for gold and $100,000 or more for platinum.”

Motion 2: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of the by-law amendment. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Mr. Campbell then read Article 3, Section A, sub section 2 adding the following wording: “Non-voting members shall be the individuals ‘and entities’ holding sustaining memberships ‘and those persons holding junior memberships at-large’”.

Motion 3: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of by-law article 3, section a, sub section 2. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Mr. Campbell proceeded to read by-law one, fourth sentence adding the following wording: “Any person who has not reached the age of 18 years may become a junior member at-large by completing an official application therefore ‘accompanied by one year’s dues’ and by designating his/her preferred edition of the Braille Forum.”

Motion 4: Mr. Campbell moved adoption of additional wording in by-law 1, fourth sentence. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Next Mr. Campbell read by-law 7, section A, Election of the Board of Publications, second sentence. “The Board shall be selected and constituted in the following manner: 'Every odd-numbered year, the President at the close of the annual convention shall appoint two members of the Board.' In every even-numbered year the annual convention shall elect by a majority vote in accordance with voting procedures contained in the Constitution or in the By-Laws the three remaining members of the Board provided, however, that no Board member shall serve more than three consecutive terms and no more than one Board member shall be either appointed or elected to the Board of Publications from any one state. 'The Board shall select a chairperson from among its elected members in the year this amendment is adopted and every two years thereafter.’”

The first reading of by-law 7, section A, third sentence was read next. “It shall be the duty of the Board of Publications to approve or disapprove employment by the Executive Director of the Editor of the Braille Forum and to establish editorial standards and policies applicable to all American Council of the Blind communication formats including, but not limited to, periodicals, the ACB convention programs and ACB brochures, the ACB website ‘ACB listservs’ and ACB radio.”

Mr. Campbell concluded with the first reading of By-law 7, section A by adding new wording. “The Board of Publications shall ensure that the ability of ACB members to freely express and share opinions is not abridged by any mechanism within ACB unless such speech is of an obscene nature or is clearly intended to personally attack without any redeeming quality or is clearly as understood by a reasonable person incomprehensible or unintelligible. The Board of Publications shall protect these rights of free speech by taking necessary actions to set policy, provide redress through orders to reverse or modify actions of ACB’s staff or elected officials and to periodically advise the membership of their constitutional right and responsibility for the free exchange of ideas in order to advance the democracy of ACB.”

At 9:20am President Gray introduced Ms. M. J. Schmitt of Chicago, Illinois as today’s moderator.

The first program item was a panel discussion on “Modern challenges educating blind children” moderated by Mr. Jay Doudna, president of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.

Mr. Mark Richert of Silver Spring, Maryland, Executive Director of (AER) Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind, presented a brief overview of the reauthorization of (IDEA) Individuals with Disability Education Act.

Ms. Patty Slaby of River Falls, Wisconsin presented scholarships to 29 well deserving students.

The final presentation of the day came from Dr. Robert Carter on the subject of Transitioning from education to employment.

Ms. Schmitt recessed the third session at 11:50am.

July 9, 2003

President Gray gaveled the fourth session to order at 8:40am.

Mr. Joel Snyder from (NCI) National Captioning Institute announced that he is attempting to have the play on Saturday night described for ACB members. Mr. Snyder has described several top rated movies such as Speed 2 and many others.

Mr. Paul Edwards, president of (ACBES) American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services, announced that it currently has budgeted $500,000 to help fund ACB. He introduced Mr. Michael Keoghan, who is the executive director of ACBES.

Mr. Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee, read Article 4, Section D with an added sentence. “The officers of this organization, the ten directors and immediate past president shall constitute the Board of Directors. A member of the Board of Publications selected at each annual convention by that Board for a term of one year shall attend all meetings of the Board of Directors, may make motions and may participate in discussion but shall not vote. Within thirty (30) days after each meeting this member of the Board of Publications shall be responsible for writing a narrative summary of actions taken during each Board of Directors meeting for publication in the Braille Forum. ‘This narrative summary shall include a record of how each Board member voted on all roll call votes.’”

First reading of Article 4 Section I came next. Strike current wording replace with the following: “1. No member of the Board of Directors or the Board of Publications shall receive compensation for services to the American Council of the Blind. He/she may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of his/her official duties. 2. No compensated staff member of this organization shall be eligible to serve on either the Board of Directors or Board of Publications. 3. All compensated staff of this organization shall refrain from either campaigning or otherwise attempting to influence the outcome of any election. Violation of this sub-section may be considered grounds for dismissal.”

Mr. Jeff Thom of Sacramento, California, chair of the Resolutions Committee, presented the first of many resolutions.

Resolution 2003-21: Flight 93 Memorial “… that this organization directs its officers, directors and staff to design, create and present for inclusion in the permanent memorial an appropriate remembrance on behalf of the American Council of the Blind and all Americans who are blind or visually impaired.”

Motion 5: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-21. The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution 2003-22: video Description “… that this organization commends Senator John McCain for his leadership and cooperation in striving to restore vital information access for Americans who are blind and visually impaired; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urges all members of Congress and President George W. Bush to enact Senate Bill 1264 with Section 9 remaining as currently proposed.”

Motion 6: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-22. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

President Gray introduced the Officer of the Day, Ms. Ardis Bazyn of Burbank, California, who gave her office report.

President Gray introduced the first presenter of the day, Ms. Madelyn Bryant McIntire, Director of Accessible Technology Group, Microsoft Corporation. Ms. McIntire spoke on accessibility through Microsoft.

You’ve Got Mail was presented by Mr. Tom Wlodkowski of America Online.

The (NLS) National Library Service report was given by Mr. Frank Kurt Cylke, Director and Mr. John Bryant, head of the Production Control Section. Mr. Bryant centered his remarks around their web magazine project and digital talking books.

Ms. Mary Watkins of WGBH Radio in Boston enlightened the audience with news from Descriptive Video Services.

News from the ACB Store was presented by President Gray who gave some examples of what can be purchased. He also spoke about several potential items that we might see in the ACB Store in the future such as the glow in the dark cane.

Mr. Paul Schroeder, vice president of governmental relations at the American Foundation for the Blind updated the members on the accessibility of cell phones.

The session was recessed at 12:00pm by Ms. Bazyn.

July 10, 2003

President Gray brought the fifth convention session to order at 8:35am.

Mr. Thom presented Resolution 2003-07: Iowa Guide Dog Question “… that this organization places on record its understanding of the factors that led to the decision taken in this matter; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization affirm its support for efforts to assure that guide dog users and their handlers have access to all public programs, services and facilities where required by law. “

Resolution 2003-06 – Guide Dog Users, Inc. Complaint: “… that this organization instructs its officers and Board of Directors to send a letter to the United States Department of Justice within (30) thirty days of the adoption of this resolution in support of the complaint of Guide Dog Users, Inc.; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED henceforth that the leadership of this organization make decisions and take actions that recognize the right of guide dogs and their handlers to unhindered access to public programs, services and facilities.”

Motion 7: Mr. Mitch Pomerantz moved a do not pass on resolution 2003-07. On a roll call vote the results were: Those voting in the affirmative were 412.6 and those opposed were 510.4 with a 56.3 percent opposition.

During the previous roll call vote, Ms. Kim Charlson, ACB’s representative to (BANA) Braille Authority of North America reported to the membership her involvement with this prestigious organization.

Motion 8: Ms. Linda Braithwaite moved the adoption of resolution 2003-07. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 9: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of 2003-06. The motion carried on a voice vote.

President Gray introduced the officer of the day, Secretary Donna Seliger from Des Moines, Iowa who gave a report of her duties before introducing the speakers.

Mr. Barry Scheur, president of Talking Solutions spoke about products his company sells to blind and visually impaired people.

Ms. Cynthia Towers, the Convention Coordinator, enlightened the membership about the 2004 convention to be held in Birmingham, Alabama and introduced Ms. Melinda Burnett of the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel. The dates for the convention will be July 3 through 10, 2004. A Free shuttle from the airport will be available. The room rate will be $75 plus tax. To make reservations, call 1-800-725-3535. There is a fine dining restaurant and coffee shop on sight.

The fifth convention session recessed at 11:15am so that members could attend breakout meetings for the remainder of the morning.

July 11, 2003

The final session of the 2003 began at 8:40am with President Gray presiding.

Ms. Cathie Skivers, chair of the Durward K. McDaniel Committee announced that $1,223 had been donated to ACB for that fund. Prior to convention, approximately $1,500 was donated toward the Durward K. McDaniel Fund. Ms. Skivers reported that four people had been selected to attend the convention.

Mr. Ray Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-laws Committee began by presenting By-law 7, section A. “The Board shall be selected and constituted in the following manner: Every odd numbered year the President at the close of the annual convention shall appoint two members of the Board and every even numbered year the annual convention shall elect by a majority vote in accordance with voting procedures contained in the constitution or in the by-laws the three remaining members of the Board provided however that no Board member shall serve more than three consecutive terms and no more than one Board member shall be either appointed or elected to the Board of Publications from any one state. The Board shall select a chairperson from among its elected members in the year this amendment is adopted and every two years thereafter.”

Motion 10: Mr. Patrick Sheehan moved that each speaker be limited to no more than three minutes. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 11: Mr. Michael Byington moved the amendment Mr. Campbell read which would delete the word “elected”. The sentence now would read “The Board shall select a chairperson from among its members in the year this amendment is adopted and every two years thereafter.” On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 12: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of By-Law 7, Section A with changed wording and adding additional wording. The motion was defeated on a voice vote.

Motion 13: Mr. Bob Hatchey moved for the rest of the convention that all speakers on all issues including resolutions and constitutional amendments that each speaker be limited to three minutes. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 14: Mr. George Carson moved to limit the number of speakers on any subject to three in favor and three against. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Mr. Campbell presented By-7, Section A, third sentence. “It shall be the duty of the Board of Publications to approve or disapprove employment by the Executive Director of the Editor of the Braille Forum and to establish editorial standards and policies applicable to all American Council of the Blind communication formats including, but not limited to periodicals, the ACB convention programs and ACB brochures, the ACB website, ‘ACB listservs’ and ACB radio”

Motion 15: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of the amendment. On a roll call vote the results were 501.9 yes, 497.0 no and the abstentions were 5.1 with the yes vote being 49.99 percent and the no vote 49.5 percent with the abstentions at .51 percent. There was not a clear majority, therefore, the motion failed.

During the standing vote, Mr. Thom presented Resolution 2003-11 – Access to the Federal courts: “…that this organization calls upon the United States Supreme Court in the Judicial conference of the United States to adopt disability inside discrimination guidelines applicable to the Federal Courts which are modeled upon the appropriate provisions of the appropriate Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines (ADAAG) in the Title II ADA Regulations; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly recommend that the requested disability anti-discrimination guidelines should include the principle of equal access for the disabled contained in the recently strengthened Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in order that all websites maintained and utilized by the federal courts will be accessible to blind and visually impaired parties, attorneys, and members of the general public; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urges that the requested disability anti-discrimination guidelines provide that all federal courts make substantive documents and exhibits available as a reasonable accommodation or auxiliary aid or service to parties, attorneys, and members of the general public who are blind or visually impaired, giving primary consideration to the alternate format or service requested; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization instructs its officers and staff to forward this resolution to the United Stated Supreme Court, the Judicial Conference of the United States and the National Council on Disabilities”.

Motion 16: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-11. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2003-13 – National Defense Reauthorization Act: “…that this organization urges the Congressional Conference Committee on HR 1588 to remove from the Bill to be sent to the President any provision that would negatively affect the Randolph-Sheppard Act’s priority, particularly Section 368 (a) through (d) of the Senate Bill, and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be transmitted forthwith to the Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the ranking minority member of each of these committees, and the members of committee of conference.”

Motion 17: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-13. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-25 – Cassette magazines: “… that this organization urges the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to assure that the name of the specific magazine be more visually discernable on each cassette by enlarging and emboldening the print; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urges NLS to increase the readability of the magazine title on the mailer by enlarging the print while providing high visual contrast; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Council of the Blind’s own magazine mailing shall follow similar procedures to maximize the visual readability of the cassette magazine titles.”

Motion 18: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-25. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 19: Mr. Frank Welte moved to appeal the decision of the Chair. On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Motion 20: Mr. LeRoy Saunders moved that once elections begin, that we not cease until elections are completed. The motion carried on a voice vote.

ACB election of officers:

The nominating committee submitted the name of Chris Gray for president. Speakers were Mr. Mitch Pomerantz and Ms. Pam Shaw on Mr. Gray’s behalf.

Mr. Steve Speicher of Lincoln, Nebraska opposed Mr. Gray in the election. The results were Mr. Gray 654.7 and Mr. Speicher 400.3 with a 62.06 per cent for Mr. Gray.

Ms. Sheila Styron had nominated Mr. Speicher. Speakers for Mr. Speicher were Ms. Styron and Ms. Marcia Dresser.

Resolution 2003-01 – Accessible Airline Websites: “… that this organization urges all airlines to make their websites accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Motion 21: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-01. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-14 – Talking Signs: “…that this organization supports the immediate installation of remote inferred audible signs in the transportation system of Washington D.C. as a model to demonstrate to the world that it is possible to provide through the use of these signs travel independence to people who are blind or visually impaired.”

Motion 22: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-14. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 23: Mr. Ray Campbell moved to urge all state affiliates to advocate for remote inferred audible signs in their transit systems as an additional resolve clause. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 24: Mr. Bud Keith moved to add another resolve “to encourage manufacturers to incorporate this into other hand-held devices.” The motion failed on a voice vote.

Motion 25: A motion was made to amend the resolution in such a manner that it does include vibrating capabilities so that deaf-blind persons may also travel independently and safely throughout our streets, our towns and our states. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Election of first Vice President came next. Mr. Steve Speicher, the incumbent, was opposed by Dr. Ed Bradley of Houston, Texas. Speakers for Mr. Speicher were heard earlier. Dr. Bradley’s speakers were Ms. Carla Ruschival and Mr. Bob Bartz. The results were Mr. Speicher 528.32 votes and Dr. Bradley 488.68 votes with 51.95 per cent for Mr. Speicher.

Resolution 2003-04 – NLS Order Forms: “… that this organization urges NLS to cease discriminatory practices and create an online form for ordering catalogs which may be completed either by patrons or network library staff.”

Motion 26: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-04. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-03 – Hallmark Cards: “…that this organization expresses its gratitude to Hallmark Cards for the interest it has taken in this matter and for its sensitivity in marketing Braille greeting cards; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization request Hallmark Cards inform its store and franchise managers that Braille greeting cards are available.”

Motion 27: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-03. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Mr. Byington suggested a resolve clause to send cards to smaller stores.

Motion 28: Mr. David McElroy proposed a resolve clause he believed would solve any problems. “…request that Hallmark market the cards to the special stores that sell disability products.” On a voice vote, the amendment failed.

The Election of Second Vice President was unopposed and Ms. M. J. Schmitt from Chicago, Illinois was elected by acclimation.

The ACB secretary, Donna Seliger from Des Moines, Iowa was selected by the nominating committee and was elected by acclimation.

The final election was of treasurer. Mr. Mike Godino of New York was recommended from the nominating committee. Ms. Ardis Bazyn from Burbank, California, the current treasurer was nominated from the floor. The results were extremely close: Mr. Godino 500.78 and Ms. Bazyn 506.22 and one abstention with a percentage of 50.32 in favor of Ms. Bazyn.

Resolution 2003-20 – Iowa Issue: “… that this organization instructs the President of the American Council of the Blind to create a select committee to develop a procedure that will be used when disputes arise between or among affiliates or between affiliates and the National organization; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this committee shall prepare a proposed procedure which will be submitted to the ACB Board of Directors and to the affiliate presidents at ACB’s Mid-Year meeting in early 2004; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this proposal shall include at a minimum a process which agrees an affiliate can use to object to and encourage into areas it believes are affiliate prerogatives a method whereby the national organization can initiate an effort to declare a clear issue of over-riding national importance thereby superceding the need to abide by the objections raised by affiliates and a method for resolving disputes where two or more affiliates appear to conflict; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the President shall announce the members of this select committee no later than August 1, 2003.”

Motion 29: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-20. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-05 – conflicting affiliates: “… that this organization urges its Officers and Directors to respectfully consider any affiliate’s right to take a position other than that of the National Organization but not to delay or postpone advocacy efforts based on achieving advocacy efforts between that affiliate and the National Organization or between affiliates.”

Motion 30: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-05. On a voice vote, the motion passed.

Mr. Campbell read By-law 7, Section A with two sentences inserted following the fifth sentence. “The Board of Publications shall ensure that the ability of ACB members to freely express and share opinions is not abridged by any mechanism within ACB unless such speech is of an obscene nature or is clearly intended to personally attack without any redeeming quality or is clearly understood by a reasonable person incomprehensible or unintelligible. The Board of Publications shall protect these rights of free speech by taking necessary actions to set policy, provide redress through orders to reverse or modify actions of ACB staff or elected officials and to periodically advise the membership of their constitutional right and responsibility for the free exchange of ideas in order to advance the democracy of ACB.”

Motion 31: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of By-Law 7, Section A, with the added language. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Article 4, Section D – Roll call votes: “… The Officers of this organization, the ten Directors and the immediate past President shall constitute the Board of Directors. A member of the Board of Publications selected at each annual convention by that Board for a term of one year shall attend all meetings of the Board of Directors, may make motions and may participate in discussion but shall not vote. Within thirty (30) days after each meeting, this member of the Board of Publications shall be responsible for writing a narrative summary of actions taken during each Board of Directors meeting for publication in the Braille Forum. This narrative summary shall include a record of how each board member voted on all roll call votes.”

Motion 32: Mr. Campbell moved to adopt Article 4, Section D. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 33: Ms. Carla Ruschival moved to amend by adding … “This narrative summary shall include a record of how each Board member voted on all roll call votes except in the case of executive sessions.” The motion carried on a voice vote.

Article 4, add new Section I. “1) No member of the Board of Directors or the Board of Publications shall receive compensation for services to the American Council of the Blind. He or she may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of his or her official duties. 2) No compensated staff member of this organization shall be eligible to serve on either the Board of Directors or Board of Publications. 3) All compensated staff of this organization shall refrain from either campaigning or otherwise attempting to influence the outcome of any election. Violation of this sub-section may be considered grounds for dismissal.”

Motion 34: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of Article IV, Section I. On a voice vote, the motion failed.

Motion 35: Ms. Kim Charlson moved to the strike the proposed number 3. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 36: Mr. Paul Edwards moved to strike number two of the amendment. The motion was withdrawn.

Motion 37: Ms. Pat Shreck moved to table the entire amendment. The motion failed on a voice vote.

Motion 38: Ms. Carla Ruschival moved to refer the entire proposed amendment back to the Constitution and By-laws Committee for further work. The motion failed on a voice vote.

President Gray presented the Affiliate Outreach Award to the Southern Maryland Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Maryland. Mr. Al Pietrolungo accepted the award for the chapter.

Next, President Gray presented the Distinguished Service Award of the American Council of the Blind to Mr. Bruce Benzler in his recognition of all blind people, especially those who use guide dogs.

Resolution 2003-12 – Disability Rights Treaty: “…that this organization urges the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to withdraw their opposition to this proposed treaty.”

Motion 39: Mr. Thom moved the acceptance of Resolution 2003-12. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-15 – Cellular phones: “…that this organization urges manufacturers and developers of cellular equipment to acknowledge that much additional work is needed to design and market cellular telephones which truly provide access to all available features on the equipment for all disability groups and to comply with this readily achievable legally codified requirement; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization specifically urges manufacturers and developers to continue work on improvements which will make cellular telephones more easily and thoroughly compatible with hearing aids and which will offer access to on screen information; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urges that access accommodations be designed as standard operational parts of equipment rather than as add on or peripheral features and; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization encourages states that have telecommunication equipment distribution programs to expand those programs to additionally provide equipment or grant to assist persons who have disabilities with the acquisition of devices or cellular telephone access and’ BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the telecommunication equipment distribution programs are strongly encouraged to ensure that people who are blind or visually impaired are eligible for these programs and; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization encourages states which do not currently have telecommunications equipment distribution programs to develop such distribution programs in accordance with service and eligibility criteria set forth in this resolution.”

Motion 40: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-15. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-16 – Access to Visual Elements of Cellular phones: “… that this organization commends the ACB Officers, Board of Directors and staff and others for filing this complaint; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commends those manufacturers of cellular phones who have begun to work with ACB to explore means by which their products can be made accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.”

Motion 41: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-16. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-17 – Cellular Phone Directory Assistance: “… that this organization calls upon providers of cellular telephone services to make Directory Assistance available free of charge to people who are blind or visually impaired as many local home telephone providers currently do.”

Motion 42: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-17. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 43: Mr. Edwards Moved to add the wording “…and to send copies of the resolution to the leading seven cell phone providers.” The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-18- Transportation Funding: “… that this organization direct its Officers, Board of Directors and staff to take all actions necessary to ensure that the reauthorization of TEA-21 contain significant increases in funding levels for public transit and other transportation programs that benefit the blind and visually impaired; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge all state and special interest affiliates to assist the national staff in advocating for a favorable reauthorization of TEA-21; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVD that the ACB Executive Director be instructed to submit a report to the President, the Board of Directors and the Transportation Task Force detailing outcome of ACB’s efforts related to the reauthorization of TEA-21.”

Motion 44: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-18. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-24 – Department of Veterans Affairs: “… that this organization urges the Department of Veterans Affairs to make policy changes enabling the option for provision of such retraining to qualified local providers as well as through traditional VA programs; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such policies require provision for payment of local training cost through the VA Central Office.”

Motion 45: Mr. Thom moved to adopt resolution 2003-24. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolutions 2003-08, 09 and 10 - Courtesy Thank You(s): (These resolutions were not read)

Motion 46: A motion to adopt resolutions 2003-08, 09 and 10 without reading them was made. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-19 – Limited opportunities: “… that this organization urges the United States Postal Service to design and issue a stamp in honor of Louis Braille to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of his birth in 2009; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this stamp be designed in such a manner as to reflect the invention of Braille which has afforded blind people around the world an increased opportunity for literacy.”

Motion 47: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-19. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2003-26 – Video Described DVD’s: “… that this organization urges those preparing motion picture DVDs for release for sell to include a descriptive video track when it is available; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization also urges those preparing the packaging for DVDs to include a clear label in a standard location on the box which alerts the potential customer to the availability of video description.”

Motion 48: Mr. Thom moved to adopt resolution 2003-26. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-23 – Surface Transportation Act and the Kennelly Amendment: “… that this organization vigorously opposes any attempt to repeal or otherwise adversely effect the priority for licensed blind vendors contained in Section 111(b) of the Surface Transportation Act; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization calls upon all members of Congress to permanently protect and guarantee the continued existence and inclusion of the Kennelly amendment’s priority provisions in any enacted reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization instructs its Officers, Board of Directors and staff to transmit this resolution to all appropriate members of Congress.”

Motion 49: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-23. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-27 – ACB and ALA: “… that this organization joins with its affiliate, the Library Users of America, in making the following recommendation to the Board of Directors of the American Library Association: 1. That the ALA Board publish a document reminding all the standard-setting bodies working under the aegis of the American Library Association to incorporate into their standards elements that reaffirm the obligation of public libraries to make their collections, catalogues and programs accessible to all people with disabilities especially the individuals who are blind or visually impaired. 2. That the ALA Board convey the concern of the American Council of the Blind and the Library Users of America that many of the catalogues and electronic books (E-books) and other new technological approaches that are broadening the range of media available at public libraries are not incorporating standards that will make them easily available to patrons who are blind or visually impaired. 3. That the ALA Board prepare a resolution for submission to its membership that clearly serves notice to the developers of catalogue interfaces, E-books and other new technologies that the ability of blind and disabled people to utilize such products must be an absolute requirement in determining which products or media to purchase; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urges its Officers, Board of Directors and staff along with Library Users of America to take all steps necessary to actively assist the American Library Association in implementing the objectives in this resolution.”

Motion 50: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of 2003-27. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003-28 – E-books: “… that this organization joins with its affiliate, Library Users of America, in directing the President of the American Council of the Blind to prepare a document for ACB’s Information Access Committee outlining the current problems of creating E-books that are fully accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Information Access Committee is hereby directed to prepare a report outlining the efforts that need to be taken to ensure that E-book technology can be fully and comfortably accessed by users who are blind or visually impaired with this report to be delivered to the President by the end of 2003; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization directs its Information Access Committee to develop a set of priorities and positions concerning this issue, and to make such recommendations available to the manufacturers of the various E-book formats; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this committee is directed to communicate with those bodies currently engaged in developing standards for E-book platforms to be certain that they incorporate into those standards means by which screen readers and Braille displays can access E-books, notwithstanding the protection schemes that safeguard the intellectual properties incorporated into E-books; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Information Access Committee is hereby directed to report to the 2004 meeting of Library Users of America on the progress they have made by that time.”

Motion 51: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of Resolution 2003-28. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Resolution 2003- 29 – Paper Ballots from Accessible Voting Machines: “… that this organization opposes HR2239; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization directs its Officers, Directors and staff to work with its state and special interest affiliates to oppose adoption of any State or Federal legislation that would require delivery to the voter a copy of his/her voted ballot; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization opposes all efforts to delay purchases of accessible voting equipment because of unfounded and unsubstantiated security concerns about the integrity of ballots cast on DRE voting systems.”

Motion 52: Mr. Thom moved to adopt resolution 2003-29. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 2003-30 – Detectible Warnings: “… that this organization seek inclusion of provisions in reauthorizing legislation for the Surface Transportation Act which would make funds specifically available for the installation of detectible warnings on platform edges at all stations within the transit system, as well as provisions that would strongly encourage transit authorities to install detectible warnings on all transit station platforms.”

Motion 53: Mr. Thom moved the adoption of resolution 2003-30. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Unfinished Business -

New Business – It was recommend that we handle Resolutions and By-laws earlier in the week.

President Gray adjourned the 2003 American Council of the Blind Convention at 5:00pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger, Secretary