AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
2004 RESOLUTIONS
1155 15th Street, NW
Suite 1004
Washington, DC 20005
202-467-5081 * 1-800-424-8666
Fax: 202-467-5085
Website: http://www.acb.org
E-mail: info@acb.org


TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY OF 2004 RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION 2004-01
RESOLUTION 2004-02
RESOLUTION 2004-03
RESOLUTION 2004-05
RESOLUTION 2004-06
RESOLUTION 2004-08
RESOLUTION 2004-09
RESOLUTION 2004-10
RESOLUTION 2004-11
RESOLUTION 2004-12
RESOLUTION 2004-14
RESOLUTION 2004-15
RESOLUTION 2004-16
RESOLUTION 2004-17
RESOLUTION 2004-18
RESOLUTION 2004-19
RESOLUTION 2004-20
RESOLUTION 2004-21
RESOLUTION 2004-22
RESOLUTION 2004-23
RESOLUTION 2004-24
RESOLUTION 2004-25
RESOLUTION 2004-26
RESOLUTION 2004-28
RESOLUTION 2004-30

SUMMARY OF 2004 RESOLUTIONS

Note: This publication reflects only those resolutions which were adopted by the convention. ACB resolutions which were referred to other ACB entities for further consideration, tabled or withdrawn are not included in this document.

RESOLUTION 2004-01 commends both the U.S. Mint and responsible officials within the government of the State of Alabama on their contributions to the design and issuance of the Alabama state quarter and commends the U.S. Mint on its efforts in seeking input from the blind and deaf-blind communities on the coin design depicting and honoring Helen Keller.

RESOLUTION 2004-02 rescinds the policy that requires ACB-L and ACB-Chat subscribers to provide identifying information over and above their names and e-mail addresses.

RESOLUTION 2004-03 instructs the American Council of the Blind's executive director to write to the Law School Admission Council expressing ACB's outrage regarding the unlawful treatment of Law School Admission Test examinees who are blind or visually impaired and provides that the officers, directors, and staff of this organization, in conjunction with its special-interest affiliate, the American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys, make these concerns known to the monitoring authority, the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.

RESOLUTION 2004-05 urges the United States Postmaster General to release a proclamation commemorating the passage of the "free matter for the blind" statutes, as well as recognizing their function and proper use, and the benefits derived through exercising this privilege, and directs the ACB staff to work with the Postmaster General to accomplish the objectives set forth in this resolution.

RESOLUTION 2004-06 confirms and rededicates ACBís commitment to principles of non-discrimination and fair treatment on the milestone occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that have underpinned and guided ACBís disability rights and civil rights advocacy and coalition efforts and activities over many years; calls upon and strongly urges its state and special-interest affiliates to also rededicate themselves and their memberships to the goals and objectives of more comprehensive disability rights and civil rights protections under state and federal law; and directs its officers, directors, and staff to convey the substance of this resolution to its numerous partners in the many and varied disability rights and civil rights coalitions to which this organization proudly belongs.

RESOLUTION 2004-08 expresses appreciation to volunteers who worked to assist the attendees of the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention.

RESOLUTION 2004-09 expresses thanks to the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention hotels.

RESOLUTION 2004-10 expresses thanks and commends the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention host committee and the Alabama Council of the Blind for their work and for helping to create the positive atmosphere that exemplified the 2004 convention of the American Council of the Blind.

RESOLUTION 2004-11 reiterates ACBís opposition to any delays in providing voting systems accessible to, and usable by, persons who are blind or visually impaired, when such delays are based upon requirements for, or consideration of, the inclusion of a voter-verifiable paper ballot requirement for direct recording equipment voting systems, and directs ACB officers, directors, and staff, and urges its state and local affiliates to take all reasonable actions necessary to bring about the most expeditious implementation of federal requirements that guarantee the right of persons who are blind or visually impaired to vote privately and independently.

RESOLUTION 2004-12 directs the ACB staff to inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) about the specialized requirements of United States citizenship test-takers with visual impairments for appropriate alternate formats, alternative test administration procedures, and test questions that relate appropriately to the non-visual experiences of this population, and provides that ACB collaborate with other blindness organizations, as well as the USCIS, to assure that the needs of the population of immigrants and refugees who are blind or visually impaired will be taken into consideration when the naturalization tests are revised and standardized, so that these individuals will have an equal opportunity to participate in the benefits of United States citizenship.

RESOLUTION 2004-14 instructs ACB officers, directors and staff to advocate for an increase in federal funding for the Title VII, Chapter 2 program, with the increased federal funding to be allocated based on the population of each state 55 years and over and indexed according to the cost of living, so long as no state's allocation is reduced below its current 2004 fiscal year level.

RESOLUTION 2004-15 expresses ACBís profound disappointment with the action taken regarding the Unified English Braille Code (UEBC) by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) and the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), urges BANA and ICEB to conduct research addressing the problems outlined in this resolution, and strongly encourages BANA and ICEB to examine other codes before taking a final vote on this important matter.

RESOLUTION 2004-16 creates and establishes the Blindness Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION 2004-17 calls upon Greyhound Lines, Inc., the federal government and other appropriate parties to work together to maintain over-the-road bus services to all communities currently served by that company and provides that copies of this resolution be sent to Greyhound Lines, Inc., the Secretary of Transportation and the chairs of the House and Senate committees having jurisdiction over transportation legislation.

RESOLUTION 2004-18 ACB joins with other stakeholders in advocating for the expansion of safe, accessible, and affordable transportation for people who are blind or visually impaired.

RESOLUTION 2004-19 requires that, when advocating for the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the American Council of the Blind will only endorse legislation that upholds each of the following basic core principles: (1) A free, appropriate public education for every child with a disability; (2) appropriate evaluation leading to appropriate placement; (3) an individualized education program, including short-term and long-term goals derived from collaboration among educators, assessment specialists, family members, caregivers, and disabled children themselves; (4) the most appropriate setting to meet a child's needs at any given time; (5) parent and student participation in decision-making; (6) procedural safeguards, including due process, and (7) equal access to all instructional materials; requires the organization advocate strenuously against all House and Senate IDEA reauthorization provisions that would limit substantive and procedural safeguards for children with disabilities and their parents, and provides that ACB urge other organizations and groups to join in supporting the goals and principles of this resolution.

RESOLUTION 2004-20 applauds the Access Board upon its promulgation of the long-awaited and anticipated final rule revising, updating and harmonizing the accessibility provisions of both the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Minimum Government Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD) under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA); calls upon the four federal standard-setting agencies, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States Postal Service (USPS), to promptly commence regulatory proceedings to revise the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) by incorporating into UFAS the revised and modernized accessibility provisions contained in the Access Board's ADAAG and ABA accessibility rule; calls upon the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to also promptly commence rulemaking proceedings to revise their respective ADA accessibility standards through adopting the newly promulgated Access Board's final ADAAG and ABA accessibility standards rule; and instructs its officers, directors and staff to promptly communicate the substance of this resolution to appropriate federal government officials who have responsibilities for accessibility standards.

RESOLUTION 2004-21 supports the International Association of Audio Information Services in its call for substantial improvement in audio fidelity over that of existing analog sub-carrier transmissions; supports and promotes the preservation of the ability for all radio reading services to operate within the provisions of the current copyright laws, the making of enhanced information access services increasingly available to persons who are print-impaired, and the design and manufacture of fully accessible radios; and directs its officers, directors, and staff to collaborate with IAAIS and any other organization, manufacturer or consumer advocacy group, in order to ensure the future growth, accessibility, and availability of broadcast delivered information access services.

RESOLUTION 2004-22 directs the ACB staff to send a letter to trade associations of manufacturers of appliances and electronic devices, and to other appropriate organizations, educating them about the need to take into account the blind and visually impaired community in designing their products; provides that ACB, through its Information Access Committee, is ready and willing to assist such trade associations and their members to facilitate universal design; and directs the Information Access Committee to attempt to establish meetings with such trade associations and their members to implement the purposes of this resolution.

RESOLUTION 2004-23 directs officers, directors and staff to ensure that, when any convention hotel provides shuttle transportation for convention attendees, such transportation will be available to all convention attendees, including those who use wheelchairs, at the same cost; requires the ACB Convention Coordinating Committee to immediately amend the ACB convention guidelines to include the substance of this resolution; and requires that future hotel convention contracts include provisions to fully implement the policy set forth in this resolution.

RESOLUTION 2004-24 requires the organization to collaborate with the Media Access Group at WGBH to actively promote the inclusion of audio-described movies in the fast-growing satellite radio broadcast media market, and directs the ACB Executive Director to write a letter to the Media Access Group at WGBH to express both our appreciation for their effort on this matter and to request specific actions that this organization can take to assist in the promotion of the broadcast of audio described movies on satellite radio broadcast media.

RESOLUTION 2004-25 opposes any effort of the Social Security Administration or the Congress to seek changes to the definition of blindness as it is applied to eligibility for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits and commits itself to work proactively to educate and inform its members and the general public concerning the valid and legitimate reasons justifying and supporting Congress' enactment into law of the special provisions benefiting people who are blind contained in the Social Security Act.

RESOLUTION 2004-26 supports and endorses the expressed intent of Congress in the Randolph-Sheppard Act, and the implementing expression in regulations of the Department of Education and in the Preamble to such regulations, regarding the independent status of each elected Committee of Blind Vendors; urges the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education, to adopt a policy, as follows: (1) in accordance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act, and implementing regulations, to the extent that any state law is in conflict with the act and regulations, and to the extent that a state offers an assertion regarding the status of Committees of Blind Vendors in conflict with the clear meaning and intent of such act and regulations, such laws and expressions are null and void, and are preempted by federal law; (2) Committees of Blind Vendors are entities not subject to the control of any state authority, and are established for the purpose of representing the interests of all licensed blind vendors in a state; and (3) members of Committees of Blind Vendors are not state employees; and requires that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

RESOLUTION 2004-28 requests the ACB Board of Directors to provide employed staff of the American Council of the Blind with an immediate cost of living adjustment of 3.1 percent retroactive to the beginning of the current fiscal year.

RESOLUTION 2004-30 reaffirms a commitment to the design and implementation of paper money that is identifiable by people who are blind and visually impaired and expresses support of the litigation currently being undertaken by ACB in hopes that the United States of America will join many other countries and design and produce currency that can be readily identified by people who are blind and visually impaired.

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-01

Commends both the U.S. Mint and responsible officials within the government of the State of Alabama on their contributions to the design and issuance of the Alabama state quarter and commends the U.S. Mint on its efforts in seeking input from the blind and deaf-blind communities on the coin design depicting and honoring Helen Keller.

WHEREAS, the U.S. Mint within the United States Department of the Treasury has, over the past few years, been engaged in conducting a program of issuing commemorative quarters for each one of the States of the Union; and

WHEREAS, as an integral part of the above-referenced program, in the spring of 2003, the U.S. Mint issued the Alabama commemorative state quarter, which honors one of Alabama's native-born daughters, Helen Keller, the famous deaf-blind American speaker and scholar; and

WHEREAS, above the portrait of Helen Keller on the Alabama commemorative state quarter, representational contracted braille spelling out Helen Keller's name is displayed that is readable visually, but unfortunately is not readable by touch; and

WHEREAS, during the research and design phases preparatory to the issuance of the Alabama commemorative state quarter, the U.S. Mint did engage in laudable outreach efforts to obtain relevant input from representatives of both the blind and hearing impaired communities from both Alabama and throughout the nation;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization commends both the U.S. Mint and responsible officials within the government of the State of Alabama for honoring a famous deaf-blind American, Helen Keller, through issuance of the Alabama commemorative state quarter, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization also commends the U.S. Mint for its laudable efforts to seek relevant input from representatives of both the blind and hearing-impaired communities during the research and design phases that led up to the issuance of this Alabama commemorative state quarter, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the staff of this organization be directed to convey the substance of this congratulatory resolution to responsible officials of both the U.S. Mint, and the Department of the Treasury, and to the Governor of the State of Alabama and other responsible officials within the Alabama state government.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-02

Rescinds the policy that requires ACB-L and ACB-Chat subscribers to provide identifying information over and above their names and e-mail addresses.

WHEREAS, identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States; and

WHEREAS, a person's telephone number could be used by identity thieves to compromise that person's identity; and

WHEREAS, software programs can be developed, with very little effort, to intercept a person's telephone number as it is being transmitted over the Internet, particularly in a non-secure environment; and

WHEREAS, the ACB-L and ACB-Chat mail lists are not secure; and

WHEREAS, no useful purpose is served by requiring ACB-L and ACB-Chat list subscribers to provide any identifying information over and above their names and e-mail addresses; and

WHEREAS, ACB-L and ACB-Chat are the only ACB e-mail lists for which subscribers are required to provide identifying information over and above their names and e-mail addresses; and

WHEREAS, this requirement may have the unintended consequence of intimidating potential list subscribers with controversial views from subscribing to ACB-L and ACB-Chat, thus depriving list readers of the information these individuals can provide;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization direct that the current policy of requiring ACB-L and ACB-Chat subscribers to provide identifying information over and above their names and e-mail addresses be rescinded immediately; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that new ACB-L and ACB-Chat list guidelines be published on these listservs, within 15 business days of the adoption of this resolution, that will reflect this policy change.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-03

Instructs the American Council of the Blind's executive director to write to the Law School Admission Council expressing ACB's outrage regarding the unlawful treatment of Law School Admission Test examinees who are blind or visually impaired and provides that the officers, directors, and staff of this organization, in conjunction with its special interest-affiliate, the American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys, make these concerns known to the monitoring authority, the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.

WHEREAS, students who are blind or visually impaired are increasingly seeking admission into law school; and

WHEREAS, entrance into law school is based, in substantial part, upon performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC); and

WHEREAS, the LSAC prohibits preparatory material used by LSAT examinees from being made available in formats accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, the LSAC assigns test readers for those who request that accommodation, but does not allow test takers to screen these readers, or to refuse unqualified readers without forfeiting the right to that accommodation; and

WHEREAS, the LSAC does not inform examinees who are blind or visually impaired of their test date, the accommodations granted, if any, and test location, until a few days prior to the test; and

WHEREAS, the LSAC routinely refuses to grant reasonable accommodations and closes its accommodated testing office to all direct communication for the month prior to each test; and

WHEREAS, the LSAC disregards two prominent existing settlement agreements concerning the rights to reasonable accommodations for test takers who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, one of these settlements was entered into with the United States Department of Justice;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization instruct the American Council of the Blind's executive director to write to the LSAC expressing ACB's outrage regarding the unlawful treatment of LSAT examinees who are blind or visually impaired; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the officers, directors, and staff of this organization, in conjunction with its special-interest affiliate, the American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys, make these concerns known to the monitoring authority, the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-05

Urges the United States Postmaster General to release a proclamation commemorating the passage of the "free matter for the blind" statutes, as well as recognizing their function and proper use, and the benefits derived through exercising this privilege, and directs the ACB staff to work with the Postmaster General to accomplish the objectives set forth in this resolution.

WHEREAS, the "Free Matter for the Blind" legislation has improved the literacy of persons who are blind or visually impaired by allowing the free exchange of materials in various accessible formats, including cassette and braille; and

WHEREAS, this legislation has also assisted persons who are blind or visually impaired in receiving and maintaining equipment necessary to their employment and independent living; and

WHEREAS, this is the 100th anniversary of the passage of these laws; and

WHEREAS, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the "Free Matter Privilege" would provide an outstanding opportunity to educate postal workers and the public at large about its guarantees and beneficial effects for persons who are blind or visually impaired;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization urge the United States Postmaster General to release a proclamation commemorating the passage of the "free matter for the blind" statutes, as well as recognizing their function and proper use, and the benefits derived through exercising this privilege; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the ACB staff be directed to work with the Postmaster General to accomplish the objectives set forth in this resolution.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-06

On the milestone occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, confirms and rededicates itself to the principles of non-discrimination and fair treatment that have underpinned and guided the ACB disability rights and civil rights advocacy and coalition efforts and activities over many years, calls upon and strongly urges its state and special-interest affiliates to also rededicate themselves and their memberships to the goals and objectives of more comprehensive disability rights and civil rights protections under state and federal law and directs its officers, directors, and staff to convey the substance of this resolution to its numerous partners in the many and varied disability rights and civil rights coalitions to which this organization proudly belongs.

WHEREAS, July 2, 2004, marked the fortieth anniversary of the signing into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964; and

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has a long history of disability rights and, more generally, civil rights advocacy and coalition efforts and activities; and

WHEREAS, for example, during the mid-1970s, ACB was the first organization of people with disabilities to win admittance as a full member to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation's premiere civil rights advocacy coalition; and

WHEREAS, ACB has also been an active member of such cross-disability rights coalitions as the original American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD) and more recently the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD); and

WHEREAS, through its disability rights and civil rights advocacy and coalition endeavors, ACB has played a significant role in achieving enactment of many pieces of federal disability rights, and more generally civil rights, legislation, as follows: the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1972, which included Title IX of that act; the Equal Employment Opportunity Enforcement Act of 1972, which broadened and strengthened Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1973, which included Title V (the disability rights provisions), and especially Section 504; the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (more recently renamed as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); the Voting Rights Act Extension Amendments of 1982; the Voting Access for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984; the Air Carriers Access Act of 1986; the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986, which included the original Section 508; The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988; the Fair Housing Amendments of 1988, which added disability discrimination to the federal housing law; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990; the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1991; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995; the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which included the disability access provisions of Section 255; the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, which included the strengthened provisions of the current Section 508; the Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-first Century (TEA-21) of 1998, which included several important access and anti-discrimination provisions; and most recently the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, which includes important disability access and anti-discrimination provisions; and

WHEREAS, despite all of ACB's disability rights and civil rights advocacy and coalition endeavors outlined above, Americans who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise disabled nevertheless continue to be subjected to a wide range of unwarranted and often unlawful discrimination on account of their disability in numerous aspects of their lives;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization, on the milestone occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, confirm and rededicate itself to the principles of non-discrimination and fair treatment that have underpinned and guided this organization's disability rights and civil rights advocacy and coalition efforts and activities over many years; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon and strongly urge its state and special-interest affiliates to also rededicate themselves and their memberships to the goals and objectives of more comprehensive disability rights and civil rights protections under state and federal law, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization direct its officers, directors, and staff to convey the substance of this resolution to its numerous partners in the many and varied disability rights and civil rights coalitions to which this organization proudly belongs.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-08

Expresses appreciation to volunteers who worked to assist the attendees of the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention.

WHEREAS, volunteers, under the most able stewardship of Volunteer Coordinator Margarine Beaman, have provided superb services in all ways to attendees of the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the board of directors of the American Council of the Blind, on behalf of the membership of the American Council of the Blind, warmly and most sincerely express its appreciation to all volunteers who worked to assist the attendees of the 2004 ACB convention; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the board of directors requests yet one more accommodation from Ms. Beaman, that being to assist in communicating this resolution, or its sense, to all volunteers.

Adopted by the ACB Board of Directors.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-09

Expresses thanks to the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention hotels.

WHEREAS, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center, the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, and the Crowne Plaza Redmont Hotel in Birmingham, Ala. have provided essential services and important accommodations to the members of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) attending its 2004 convention; and

WHEREAS, the staffs of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center, the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel and the Crowne Plaza Redmont Hotel have been friendly and helpful; and

WHEREAS, the success of a convention is dependent upon the quality of the services provided by the convention center and hotels;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the board of directors of the American Council of the Blind that this board, on behalf of the membership of the American Council of the Blind, express its thanks and appreciation for the services and accommodations provided to its members by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center, the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel and the Crowne Plaza Redmont Hotel and their staffs.

Adopted by the ACB Board of Directors.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-10

Expresses thanks and commends the 2004 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention host committee and the Alabama Council of the Blind for their work and for helping to create the positive atmosphere that exemplified the 2004 convention of the American Council of the Blind.

WHEREAS, the handling of local arrangements for an American Council of the Blind (ACB) national convention is a mammoth undertaking; and

WHEREAS, the host committee and ACB members in the state of Alabama have met every challenge in hosting the 2004 ACB National Convention in Birmingham, Ala. and have welcomed and assisted ACB members in a friendly, helpful fashion, and in the spirit of true southern hospitality;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind Board of Directors that this board, on behalf of the membership of the American Council of the Blind, wholeheartedly thank and commend the local host committee and the Alabama Council of the Blind for their excellent work and for helping to create the hospitable and warm atmosphere that exemplified the 2004 convention of the American Council of the Blind.

Adopted by the ACB Board of Directors.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-11

Reiterates ACB opposition to any delays in providing voting systems accessible to, and usable by, persons who are blind or visually impaired, when such delays are based upon requirements for, or consideration of, the inclusion of a voter-verifiable paper ballot requirement for direct recording equipment voting systems, and directs ACB officers, directors, and staff, and urges its state and local affiliates to take all reasonable actions necessary to bring about the most expeditious implementation of federal requirements that guarantee the right of persons who are blind or visually impaired to vote privately and independently.

WHEREAS, American citizens possess no right that is more basic, fundamental, and important than that of the right to vote; and

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) went record in Resolution 2003-29 as opposing all efforts to delay purchase of voting machines accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired, because many of those efforts are based upon highly exaggerated concerns about the security and integrity of ballots cast on direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems; and

WHEREAS, since the adoption of this resolution, these efforts have intensified, as public officials have been bombarded with demands for a hard copy or voter-verifiable paper ballot (VVPB) to accompany every ballot cast on DRE machines; and

WHEREAS, the movement to require a VVPB has led to its adoption in several states and consideration in others, even though the evidence has consistently indicated that DRE systems provide the most secure form of voting and that other systems lead to significantly higher error rates; and

WHEREAS, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires that, by 2006, every precinct be equipped with at least one voting machine that is accessible to, and usable by, persons who are blind or visually impaired, which requirement is strengthened by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and

WHEREAS, although technological advancements are being made that could ultimately provide for a hard copy ballot verification, the inclusion of a VVPB requirement for DRE machines will certainly preclude Americans who are blind or visually impaired from having an opportunity to vote privately and independently in the November 2004 elections, and could well have the same impact for years to come;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization reiterate its opposition to any delays in providing voting systems accessible to, and usable by, persons who are blind or visually impaired, when such delays are based upon requirements for, or consideration of, the inclusion of a VVPB requirement for DRE voting systems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization direct its officers, directors, and staff, and urge its state and local affiliates to take all reasonable actions necessary to bring about the most expeditious implementation of federal requirements that guarantee the right of persons who are blind or visually impaired to vote privately and independently.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-12

Directs the ACB staff to inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) about the specialized requirements of United States citizenship test-takers with visual impairments for appropriate alternate formats, alternative test administration procedures, and test questions that relate appropriately to the non-visual experiences of this population, and provides that ACB collaborate with other blindness organizations, as well as the USCIS, to assure that the needs of the population of immigrants and refugees who are blind or visually impaired will be taken into consideration when the naturalization tests are revised and standardized, so that these individuals will have an equal opportunity to participate in the benefits of United States citizenship.

WHEREAS, each year, we in the United States are privileged to have tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees become U.S. citizens; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is currently revising and restandardizing the U.S. history, government, and English tests that are administered as part of the naturalization process; and

WHEREAS, it has come to our attention that several of the revisions in the test materials, as well as preparation materials and administrative procedures, may have a significant adverse impact on the ability of test-takers who are blind or visually impaired to do well enough on the tests to receive American citizenship; and

WHEREAS, this situation may be directly attributable to test questions that include graphics or photographs, inaccessibility of test materials, or revised methods of test administration;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization directs the ACB staff to inform the USCIS about the specialized requirements of test-takers with visual impairments for appropriate alternate formats, alternative test administration procedures, and test questions that relate appropriately to the non-visual experiences of this population, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ACB collaborate with other blindness organizations, as well as the USCIS, to assure that the needs of the population of immigrants and refugees who are blind or visually impaired will be taken into consideration when the naturalization tests are revised and standardized, so that these individuals will have an equal opportunity to participate in the benefits of United States citizenship.

Adopted

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-14

Instructs its officers, directors and staff to advocate for an increase in federal funding for the Title VII, Chapter 2 program, with the increased federal funding to be allocated based on the population of each state 55 years and over and indexed according to the cost of living, so long as no state's allocation is reduced below its current 2004 fiscal year level.

WHEREAS, nearly one out of every six Americans age 65 or older is blind or severely visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, over fifty percent of people who are blind or visually impaired are seniors; and

WHEREAS, the blind and visually impaired senior population comprises a large percentage of the clients being served by state rehabilitation agencies; and

WHEREAS, Title VII, Chapter 2 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, provides funding to each state for services to the senior blind population; and

WHEREAS, not only has this program been under funded since its inception, but the unmet need for services for the senior blind and visually impaired population continues to grow;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization instructs its officers, directors and staff to advocate for an increase in federal funding for the Title VII, Chapter 2 program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such increased federal funding should be allocated based on the population of each state 55 years and over and indexed according to the cost of living, so long as no state's allocation is reduced below its current 2004 fiscal year level.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-15

Expresses its profound disappointment with the action taken regarding the Unified English Braille Code (UEBC) by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) and the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), urges BANA and ICEB to conduct research addressing the problems outlined in this resolution, and strongly encourages BANA and ICEB to examine other codes before taking a final vote on this important matter.

WHEREAS, it has been widely recognized that the braille codes in current usage need alterations to increase their applicability to technical expressions, avoid ambiguity and enhance clarity; and

WHEREAS, the only code advanced over the last 15 years to accomplish these goals has been the Unified English Braille Code (UEBC); and

WHEREAS, the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) voted in 2004 that each country could submit to its braille authority the UEBC as a code for unifying braille; and

WHEREAS, the majority of Braille Authority of North America (BANA) representatives to ICEB empowered to vote agreed with this proposal; and

WHEREAS, no advocate of the code has faced the fact that even so simple a problem as multiplying by two numbers cannot be expressed in a 40-cell braille line; and

WHEREAS, no transcriber, teacher, student, or user of braille has extensively studied the difficulties of writing this code, especially technical material; and

WHEREAS, both the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind have adopted, at their national conventions, strong resolutions opposing this code;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization expresses its profound disappointment with the action taken BANA and ICEB, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urges BANA and ICEB to conduct research addressing the problems outlined in this resolution, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly encourages BANA and ICEB to examine other codes before taking a final vote on this important matter.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-16

Creates and establishes the Blindness Hall of Fame.

WHEREAS, the publication of "People of Vision: a History of the American Council of the BlindĒ, chronicles the tremendous strides made by blind and visually impaired Americans during the 20th century toward full and active participation in the mainstream of American society; and

WHEREAS, many dedicated individuals who are blind or visually impaired demonstrated heroic and visionary leadership skill in leading the organized blind movement to overcome obstacles and instill in others a vision of what the future could be; and

WHEREAS, the blind and visually impaired have benefited by the creation and growth of service programs that opened new horizons in education, rehabilitation, employment, transportation and other important service areas; and

WHEREAS, the 20th century gave rise to the development of the information access era through new dimensions in assistive technologies, which give individuals who are blind or visually impaired access to an unprecedented amount of information through computers, braille on demand, access to the world wide web, and much more; and

WHEREAS, blind and visually impaired individuals have achieved success and public acclaim in the arts, the letters, the law, the sciences, and public service; and

WHEREAS, the blind and visually impaired have also been the beneficiaries of efforts by sighted men and women who have contributed to every aspect of our lives; and

WHEREAS, the advancement of the blind and visually impaired into the mainstream of American life has been greatly facilitated by visionary members of the Congress, administrators of government agencies, governors and state legislators and other state officials; and

WHEREAS, this record of contribution and accomplishment demonstrates the need for a more complete, permanent and publicly accessible record of such achievements and contributions,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004 at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization creates and establishes the Blindness Hall of Fame, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commits to extending an opportunity for induction into the Blindness Hall of Fame to all worthy persons regardless of their political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or religious, ethnic, or racial heritage, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Blindness Hall of Fame, with the exception of initial start-up costs for telephone, printing, postage and limited travel expense, be funded by donations, grants and awards to the Hall of Fame Endowment Fund, to be established and administered by the ACB Chief Financial Officer, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the financial development plan for the Blindness Hall of Fame be designed to attract funding that can, wherever practical, be used to complement, or supplement, expenses of the ACB, particularly for office and staff expense, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Blindness Hall of Fame Governance Committee be established to plan for the Hall of Fame, with this committee's duties to include, but not be limited to, identification of potential funding sources, initial space and staffing requirements, creation of categories of recognition and means for nomination and balloting to ensure selection is based on merit alone, the development of a permanent Board of Directors for the Blindness Hall of Fame, and any other details related to the creation and operation of the Blindness Hall of Fame, with the sole limitation that the Governance Committee submit, and gain approval of, the Board of Directors of the American Council of the Blind for any budget for initial expenses that may be sought from the ACB, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the governing board of the Blindness Hall of Fame be directly connected to the American Council of the Blind as an associated organization, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the process of nominating and selecting honorees for the Blindness Hall of Fame be developed and implemented by individuals representing all segments of the blindness community to ensure the integrity of the selection of inductees, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governance Committee shall consist of seven members, to be appointed by the President within 60 days of the adoption of this resolution, including the Executive Director and a member from the leadership of the ACB, and to the extent possible, recognized leaders representing the fields of rehabilitation, non-profit agencies, education, and technology development. The President shall designate one member to serve as Chair.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-17

Calls upon Greyhound Lines, Inc., the federal government and other appropriate parties to work together to maintain over-the-road bus services to all communities currently served by that company and provides that copies of this resolution be sent to Greyhound Lines, Inc., the Secretary of Transportation and the chairs of the House and Senate committees having jurisdiction over transportation legislation.

WHEREAS, for many years, Greyhound Lines, Inc. has provided a vital and affordable transportation service for persons with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, this service is especially important to residents of suburban and rural America, as well as those who live in smaller metropolitan areas; and

WHEREAS, Greyhound Lines, Inc. has recently announced that, during the second half of 2004, service to many smaller communities will be eliminated; and

WHEREAS, these service cuts will create severe hardships for persons who are blind or visually impaired and others who rely on Greyhound bus service as their main source of both intrastate and interstate transportation,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization calls upon Greyhound Lines, Inc., the federal government and other appropriate parties to work together to maintain over-the-road bus services to all communities currently served by that company, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization send copies of this resolution to Greyhound Lines, Inc., the Secretary of Transportation and the chairs of the House and Senate committees having jurisdiction over transportation legislation.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-18

Joins with other stakeholders in advocating for the expansion of safe, accessible, and affordable transportation for people who are blind or visually impaired.

WHEREAS, access to transportation is essential to enable people with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired, to live full lives as independently as possible in their communities; and

WHEREAS, the lack of public transit precludes many persons who are blind or visually impaired from reaching their academic, employment, or other independent living goals, and often creates a situation where such individuals rarely leave their own homes; and

WHEREAS, when traveling, Americans who are blind or visually impaired often face barriers and challenges related to the environment, infrastructure, and uninformed personnel that alone, and in combination, severely limit their mobility; and

WHEREAS, the availability of accessible transportation for people with disabilities is established as a civil right in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization joins with other stakeholders in advocating for the expansion of safe, accessible, and affordable transportation for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-19

Requires that, when advocating for the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the American Council of the Blind will only endorse legislation that upholds each of the following basic core principles: (1) A free, appropriate public education for every child with a disability; (2) appropriate evaluation leading to appropriate placement; (3) an individualized education program, including short-term and long-term goals derived from collaboration among educators, assessment specialists, family members, caregivers, and disabled children themselves; (4) the most appropriate setting to meet a child's needs at any given time; (5) parent and student participation in decision-making; (6) procedural safeguards, including due process, and (7) equal access to all instructional materials; requires the organization advocate strenuously against all House and Senate IDEA reauthorization provisions that would limit substantive and procedural safeguards for children with disabilities and their parents, and provides that ACB urge other organizations and groups to join in supporting the goals and principles of this resolution.

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has affirmed its support for full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as the Instructional Materials Accessibility Amendments, to improve opportunities and services for children who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, many of the provisions of both the Senate and House versions of the IDEA reauthorization legislation violate the core principles of that law;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that, when advocating for the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the American Council of the Blind will only endorse legislation that upholds each of the following basic core principles: (1) A free, appropriate public education for every child with a disability; (2) appropriate evaluation leading to appropriate placement; (3) an individualized education program, including short-term and long-term goals derived from collaboration among educators, assessment specialists, family-members, care-givers, and disabled children themselves; (4) the most appropriate setting to meet a child's needs at any given time; (5) parent and student participation in decision-making; (6) procedural safeguards, including due process, and (7) equal access to all instructional materials, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization advocate strenuously against all House and Senate IDEA reauthorization provisions that would limit substantive and procedural safeguards for children with disabilities and their parents, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge other organizations and groups to join in supporting the goals and principles of this resolution.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-20

Applauds the Access Board upon its promulgation of the long-awaited and anticipated final rule revising, updating and harmonizing the accessibility provisions of both the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Minimum Government Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD) under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), calls upon the four federal standard-setting agencies, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States Postal Service (USPS), to promptly commence regulatory proceedings to revise the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) by incorporating into UFAS the revised and modernized accessibility provisions contained in the Access Board's ADAAG and ABA accessibility rule, calls upon the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to also promptly commence rulemaking proceedings to revise their respective ADA accessibility standards through adopting the newly promulgated Access Board's final ADAAG and ABA accessibility standards rule, and instructs its officers, directors and staff to promptly communicate the substance of this resolution to appropriate federal government officials who have responsibilities for accessibility standards.

WHEREAS, the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), which requires that all federally owned or leased buildings and facilities be accessible to individuals with disabilities, was originally enacted in 1968, and subsequently was incorporated as Section 502 of Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended; and

WHEREAS, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), in the late 1970s, pursuant to the authority granted to it under the ABA, promulgated model voluntary accessibility standards for federally owned and leased buildings and facilities known as the Minimum Government Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD); and

WHEREAS, the four federal standard-setting agencies, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the United States Postal Service (USPS) designated in the MGRAD promulgated, in 1980, mandatory accessibility standards for federally owned or leased buildings and facilities known as the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS); and

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires broader and more comprehensive accessibility rights for individuals with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the authority granted to it under the ADA, the Access Board, in 1991, promulgated model ADA accessibility standards known as the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) then adopted the ADAAG and incorporated the accessibility provisions of the ADAAG into their respective mandatory ADA accessibility standards; and

WHEREAS, the Access Board, in the fall of 1999, issued a proposed rule for public notice and comment that proposed a thoroughgoing updating, revising and, insofar as practicable, the harmonizing of the accessibility provisions of both the ADAAG and the MGRAD; and

WHEREAS, at long last, the Access Board has recently announced that it has been granted approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish as a final rule, the revisions to both the ADAAG and the MGRAD, and that the Access Board intends to publish this final rule on July 26, 2004, the 14th anniversary of the enactment into law of the ADA,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization applauds the Access Board upon its promulgation of the long-awaited and anticipated final rule revising, updating and harmonizing the accessibility provisions of both the ADAAG and the MGRAD under the ABA, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization calls upon the four federal standard-setting agencies, GSA, HUD, DOD and USPS, to promptly commence regulatory proceedings to revise the UFAS by incorporating into UFAS the revised and modernized accessibility provisions contained in the Access Board's ADAAG and ABA accessibility rule, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization also calls upon DOJ and DOT to also promptly commence rulemaking proceedings to revise their respective ADA accessibility standards through adopting the newly promulgated Access Board's final ADAAG and ABA accessibility standards rule, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization instructs its officers, directors and staff to promptly communicate the substance of this resolution to appropriate federal government officials who have responsibilities for accessibility standards.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-21

Supports the International Association of Audio Information Services in its call for substantial improvement in audio fidelity over that of existing analog sub-carrier transmissions, supports and promotes the preservation of the ability for all radio reading services to operate within the provisions of the current copyright laws, the making of enhanced information access services increasingly available to persons who are print-impaired, and the design and manufacture of fully accessible radios, and directs its officers, directors, and staff to collaborate with IAAIS and any other organization, manufacturer or consumer advocacy group, in order to ensure the future growth, accessibility, and availability of broadcast delivered information access services.

WHEREAS, printed information is critical to the continued independence and exercise of democratic freedoms for the tens of millions of people living in the United States who have a severe vision impairment or other print disability; and

WHEREAS, for more than 35 years, radio reading services have provided to this population substantial daily access to printed information, including newspapers and other current publications and information; and

WHEREAS, significantly improved audio quality of the radio system is desirable and essential to increased usability of these systems by consumers; and

WHEREAS, the use of proprietary consumer radio equipment is anathema to the free exercise of the right of information access; and

WHEREAS, the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) has called for substantial improvement in audio fidelity over that of existing analog sub-carrier transmissions; and

WHEREAS, the high-definition (HD) radio systems promulgated by iBiquity Digital Corporation have the potential to provide for the information access needs of blind and print impaired listeners,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, in the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization supports the IAAIS in its call for substantial improvement in audio fidelity over that of existing analog sub-carrier transmissions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Council of the Blind supports and promotes the preservation of the ability for all radio reading services to operate within the provisions of the current copyright laws, the making of enhanced information access services increasingly available to persons who are print-impaired, and the design and manufacture of fully accessible radios; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization directs its officers, directors, and staff to collaborate with IAAIS and any other organization, manufacturer or consumer advocacy group in order to ensure the future growth, accessibility, and availability of broadcast delivered information access services.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-22

Directs the ACB staff to send a letter to trade associations of manufacturers of appliances and electronic devices, and to other appropriate organizations, educating them about the need to take into account the blind and visually impaired community in designing their products, provides that ACB, through its Information Access Committee, is ready and willing to assist such trade associations and their members to facilitate universal design and directs the Information Access Committee to attempt to establish meetings with such trade associations and their members to implement the purposes of this resolution.

WHEREAS, it is an unfortunate reality that access to appliances, devices, and other forms of technology in everyday use is becoming increasingly more of a challenge to the blind and visually impaired community; and

WHEREAS, the electronics and appliance industries need to be educated as to the low cost and simplicity of making such devices more universally accessible at the design stage, as well as to the market potential if this action is taken; and,

WHEREAS, improved accessibility to devices and appliances would significantly enhance the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization directs its staff to send a letter to trade associations of manufacturers of appliances and electronic devices, and to other appropriate organizations, educating them about the need to take into account the blind and visually impaired community in designing their products, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ACB, through its Information Access Committee, is ready and willing to assist such trade associations and their members to facilitate universal design, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the ACB Information Access Committee is directed to attempt to establish meetings with such trade associations and their members to implement the purposes of this resolution.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-23

Directs its officers, directors and staff to ensure that, when any convention hotel provides shuttle transportation for convention attendees, such transportation will be available to all convention attendees, including those who use wheelchairs, at the same cost, requires the ACB Convention Coordinating Committee to immediately amend the ACB convention guidelines to include the substance of this resolution and requires that future hotel convention contracts include provisions to fully implement the policy set forth in this resolution.

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind values the contributions of each and every one of its members and friends; and

WHEREAS, each year people with physical disabilities participate in the ACB annual convention; and

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that hotel shuttle services be accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs; and

WHEREAS, this requirement has been a part of the ADA accessibility regulations since 1992; and

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind conventions represent a significant financial benefit to the convention hotel as well as other local businesses and facilities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization directs its officers, directors and staff to ensure that, when any convention hotel provides shuttle transportation for convention attendees, such transportation will be available to all convention attendees, including those who use wheelchairs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, in accordance with ADA requirements, such transportation shall be provided at the same cost to all convention attendees; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Convention Coordinating Committee is hereby directed to immediately amend the ACB convention guidelines to include the substance of this resolution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that future hotel convention contracts include provisions to fully implement the policy set forth in this resolution.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-24

Requires the organization to collaborate with the Media Access Group at WGBH to actively promote the inclusion of audio-described movies in the fast-growing satellite radio broadcast media market, and directs the ACB Executive Director to write a letter to the Media Access Group at WGBH to express both our appreciation for their effort on this matter and to request specific actions that this organization can take to assist in the promotion of the broadcast of audio described movies on satellite radio broadcast media.

WHEREAS, audio description is used in movies to enable people who are blind or visually impaired to obtain visual information; and

WHEREAS, satellite radio broadcast media, such as XM Satellite Radio, is a non-visual media; and

WHEREAS, satellite radio is marketed to truck drivers, automobile drivers and others for whom watching movies may be either unsafe or impractical; and

WHEREAS, XM Satellite Radio, alone, has over one million subscribers; and

WHEREAS, satellite radio broadcast media subscribers represent additional demand for movie producers to include audio description; and

WHEREAS, this increased demand for audio-described movies would benefit consumers who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, the Media Access Group at WGBH is already communicating with XM Satellite Radio to promote audio described movies through that medium;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization collaborate with the Media Access Group at WGBH to actively promote the inclusion of audio-described movies in this fast-growing market; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization direct the ACB Executive Director to write a letter to the Media Access Group at WGBH to express both our appreciation for their effort on this matter and to request specific actions that this organization can take to assist in the promotion of the broadcast of audio described movies on satellite radio broadcast media.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-25

Opposes any effort of the Social Security Administration or the Congress to seek changes to the definition of blindness as it is applied to eligibility for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits and commits itself to work proactively to educate and inform its members and the general public concerning the valid and legitimate reasons justifying and supporting Congress's enactment into law of the special provisions benefiting people who are blind contained in the Social Security Act.

WHEREAS, the Social Security Act contains several provisions that provide special eligibility criteria for persons who are statutorily blind for purposes of qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); and

WHEREAS, such provisions include, but are not limited to, 1. automatic eligibility for SSDI if a person is medically determined to be statutorily blind; 2. an unlimited number of periods of SSDI eligibility based on blindness; 3. special earnings limits under the amount allowed for Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and 4. special rules for determining countable earnings; and

WHEREAS, these special provisions of the act are the direct result of the hard work of the leaders of the organized blind movement, including Durward K. McDaniel and many others; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of the special SSDI rules for persons who are blind is to provide income to such individuals to enable them to pay for the special costs that they face, such as transportation, readers, and accessible technology; and

WHEREAS, if the definition of blindness used by the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility for SSDI and SSI is changed from a statutory presumption to a functional definition, such as that used for all other disability groups, it will be far more difficult for persons who are blind to establish eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits, particularly for additional periods of SSDI eligibility subsequent to the termination of a period of employment and

WHEREAS, this change would create a disincentive for a blind SSDI recipient from seeking employment;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 10th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization opposes any effort of the Social Security Administration or the Congress to seek changes to the definition of blindness as it is applied to eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the ACB commits itself to work proactively to educate and inform its members and the general public concerning the valid and legitimate reasons justifying and supporting Congress' enactment into law of the special provisions benefiting people who are blind contained in the Social Security Act.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-26

Supports and endorses the expressed intent of Congress in the Randolph-Sheppard Act, and the implementing expression in regulations of the Department of Education and in the Preamble to such regulations, regarding the independent status of each elected Committee of Blind Venders, urges the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education, to adopt a policy, as follows- (1) in accordance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act, and implementing regulations, to the extent that any state law is in conflict with the act and regulations, and to the extent that a state offers an assertion regarding the status of Committees of Blind Vendors in conflict with the clear meaning and intent of such act and regulations, such laws and expressions are null and void, and are preempted by federal law; (2) Committees of Blind Vendors are entities not subject to the control of any state authority, and are established for the purpose of representing the interests of all licensed blind vendors in a state; and (3) members of Committees of Blind Vendors are not state employees and requires that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

WHEREAS, in 1974, the Randolph-Sheppard Act was amended to establish an elected Committee of Blind Vendors in every state that operates a blind vending facility program under the act; and

WHEREAS, Committees of Blind Vendors were created by the act for the purposes of representing and assisting blind vendors in each state and to permit such vendors to fully and actively participate in decision-making with respect to each state's vending facility program, rather than to serve as advisory committees to state licensing agencies; and

WHEREAS, Committees of Blind Vendors are federally established entities, whose existence and validity may or may not be ratified through "Little Randolph-Sheppard" laws; and

WHEREAS, these entities are not in any sense state entities; and

WHEREAS, certain states have erroneously determined that Committees of Blind Vendors are state entities, or that members of a Committee of Blind Vendors are state employees; and

WHEREAS, in certain states, the Committee of Blind Vendors is treated by the state licensing agency as an appendage of the state licensing agency and is subject to its direction and control,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 10th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization supports and endorses the expressed intent of Congress in the Randolph-Sheppard Act, and the implementing expression in regulations of the Department of Education and in the Preamble to such regulations, regarding the independent status of each elected Committee of Blind Vendors; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urges the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education, to adopt a policy, as follows: (1) in accordance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act, and implementing regulations, to the extent that any state law is in conflict with the act and regulations, and to the extent that a state offers an assertion regarding the status of Committees of Blind Vendors in conflict with the clear meaning and intent of such act and regulations, such laws and expressions are null and void, and are preempted by federal law; (2) Committees of Blind Vendors are entities not subject to the control of any state authority, and are established for the purpose of representing the interests of all licensed blind vendors in a state; and (3) members of Committees of Blind Vendors are not state employees; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-28

Requests the ACB Board of Directors to provide employed staff of the American Council of the Blind with an immediate cost of living adjustment of 3.1 percent retroactive to the beginning of the current fiscal year.

WHEREAS, the employed staff of the American Council of the Blind has not received a cost of living adjustment for this fiscal year; and

WHEREAS, appropriate wage and salary levels are necessary for the maintenance and recruitment of qualified, motivated and competent staff, in order that the work of the council be carried out; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that this council maintain a relationship of good faith with its employees;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization requests the ACB Board of Directors to provide employed staff of the American Council of the Blind with an immediate cost of living adjustment of 3.1 percent retroactive to the beginning of the current fiscal year.

Adopted.

Donna Seliger, Secretary

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2004-30

Reaffirms commitment to the design and implementation of paper money that is identifiable to people who are blind and visually impaired and expresses support of the litigation currently being undertaken by ACB in hopes that the United States of America will join many other countries and design and produce currency that can be readily identified by people who are blind and visually impaired.

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind has, on several occasions during its history, engaged in discussions, made motions, and passed resolutions concerning the feasibility and desirability of developing an approach that would enable people who are blind and visually impaired to readily identify the denominations of all bills of American currency; and

WHEREAS, most of these resolutions have passed unanimously; and

WHEREAS, this is a clear indication of a longstanding, persistent and deeply held commitment to currency identification;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 9th day of July, 2004, at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center, in Birmingham, Ala., that this organization reiterates its continued support for the design and implementation of a system that will allow people who are blind and visually impaired to identify their paper money; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this convention heartily endorses the efforts being undertaken by the officers, directors, and staff of this organization to make currency identification a priority of the American Council of the Blind's advocacy activities and expresses its wholehearted support of the litigation currently being undertaken by this organization to assure that the United States of America will join many other countries and design and produce currency that can be readily identified by people who are blind and visually impaired.

Adopted unanimously.

Donna Seliger, Secretary


Back to the Top

ACB Home Page