2013 Resolutions

American Council of the Blind
2013 Resolutions

Note: This publication reflects only those resolutions which were adopted by the convention. Resolutions which were referred to other ACB entities for further consideration, tabled or withdrawn are not included in this document.  Below are the links to the summaries of the 2013 resolutions as well as links to the full text of each.  You may also choose the printer-friendly version link at the bottom for a full document of all resolutions.

2013 Resolutions Summaries

Note: This publication reflects only those resolutions which were adopted by the convention. Resolutions which were referred to other ACB entities for further consideration, tabled or withdrawn are not included in this document.  Below are the summaries of the 2013 resolutions with links to the full text.  You may also choose the printer-friendly link at the bottom for a printer-friendly version of all summaries.

Summary of 2013 Resolutions

Resolution 2013-01 congratulates the District of Columbia Council of the Blind on its 100th anniversary.

Resolution 2013-02 thanks the Department of Education for drawing attention to the need for braille instruction but also demands that the department provide regulations that circumscribe the circumstances regarding braille instruction.
 
Resolution 2013-03 endorses the TEACH Act and calls upon Congress to move promptly on its introduction and enactment.
 
Resolution 2013-04 declares its vehement opposition to the implementation of state-administered computerized common core assessments which do not permit students with disabilities to use their preferred assistive technology to take such tests.
 
Resolution 2013-05 calls upon the Secretary of Transportation to direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake an immediate review and revision of DOT's rules concerning service animals to harmonize them with the DOJ service animal regulations.
 
Resolution 2013-06 expresses ACB’s hope that Amazon immediately makes the Kindle accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
Resolution 2013-07 strongly urges, through its Information Access Committee, web site developers who require CAPTCHAs on their sites to utilize at least one word-based CAPTCHA alternative.
 
Resolution 2013-08 expresses  strong  opposition to the proposed use of chained CPI to calculate adjustments in Social Security cash benefits for recipients who are blind or visually impaired and advocates that the proposed use of the chained-CPI does not occur.
 
Resolution 2013-09 urges Adobe Systems, Inc. to make the accessible document setting the default rather than an option.
 
Resolution 2013-10 urges ACB to work with national news media to profile the pernicious effects of sequestration on the employment opportunities of people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
Resolution 2013-11 urges ACB to work in coalition with the American Foundation for the Blind and, as appropriate, with other organizations representing people with disabilities, to defend the full scope of existing information accessibility protections in current copyright law and to advocate for the full and fair use of literary, audiovisual, and any other copyrighted works by people with disabilities.
 
Resolution 2013-13 resolves that this organization commit to the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act with the stipulation that any legislation include specific safeguards to protect those individuals working under 14(c) certificates from losing their jobs. ACB should work with the Congress of the United States to achieve this objective.
 
Resolution 2013-14 salutes and expresses its deepest appreciation to Mr. Eric Bridges for his myriad contributions to the work of ACB and to the independence, equality, and economic security of all people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
Resolution 2013-15 urges the adoption of the standards within ANSI 507, and also ultimately as a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding accessible routes located adjacent and parallel to vehicular drives and wheel stops for parking spaces immediately adjacent to the accessible walkway.
 
Resolution 2013-16 resolves that this organization should be prepared, as appropriate, to support its affiliate, the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA) in articulating for policymakers the unique challenges faced by blind vendors that would make the imposition of a healthy snack sales requirement unduly burdensome.
 
Resolution 2013-17 directs its legislative and advocacy staff to meet with the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus in the House of Representatives, and with other members of Congress who will assist in addressing the issues raised in this resolution in order to ensure that diabetics who are blind or visually impaired have access to the widest possible array of testing options.
 
Resolution 2013-18 calls upon guide dog schools that before decisions are made that will substantially downsize schools, management shall reach out to graduates so that such decision-making can be collaborative; that each school shall include at least two graduates on their governing body; that schools be encouraged to schedule regular conference calls with their graduates to facilitate effective, two-way communication.
 
Resolution 2013-19 states that ACB believes that it is now imperative that the whole blindness community come together to develop and implement a comprehensive action plan to begin to develop and implement a national strategy, including a major public awareness campaign, to increase federal funding for older Americans who are experiencing vision loss.
 
Resolution 2013-20 urges the GDB board of directors, in the future, to take no actions similar to those discussed in this resolution without prior consultation and input from its graduates.
 
Resolution 2013-21 expresses this organization’s extreme displeasure that any state or local jurisdiction would even consider asking people with disabilities to relinquish their right to vote privately and independently. The officers, directors and staff of this organization are instructed to seek the assistance of all appropriate entities so as to create opportunities to end this discriminatory and pernicious practice
 
Resolution 2013-22 thanks the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.
 
Resolution 2013-23 thanks the convention host committee and members of the American Council of the Blind of Ohio.
 
Resolution 2013-24 offers thanks to the convention volunteers.

Resolution 2013-01

100th Anniversary of the District of Columbia Council of the Blind
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-01
 
Summary
 
This organization congratulates the District of Columbia Council of the Blind on its 100th anniversary.
 
WHEREAS, the District of Columbia Association of Workers for the Blind was incorporated in 1913 and provided advocacy and services under that name until 1993; and
 
WHEREAS, the name of the organization was officially changed to the District of Columbia Council of the Blind in 1993 upon becoming an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization extend congratulations and best wishes to the District of Columbia Council of the Blind (DCCB) on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-02

U.S. Department of Education "Dear Colleague" Letter on Braille
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-02
 
Summary
 
This organization thanks the Department of Education for drawing attention to the need for braille instruction but also demands that the department provide regulations that circumscribe the circumstances regarding braille instruction.
 
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education has recently issued a so-called "Dear Colleague" letter restating current special education law with regard to instruction in, and use of, braille; and
 
WHEREAS, the "Dear Colleague" letter on braille perpetuates the myth that the number of children and youth who are blind or visually impaired needing special education and related services is only approximately 30,000 students; and
 
WHEREAS, the letter utterly fails to describe the very real need that students with vision loss who also live with additional disabilities have both to be evaluated for, and to receive, braille instruction; and
 
WHEREAS, the number of students nationwide who are blind or visually impaired who also have additional disabilities is conservatively estimated to be more than 100,000 students; and
 
WHEREAS, the letter merely references, without specific actionable guidance, the fact that students with usable vision should not be denied braille instruction simply on the basis of their having remaining vision; and
 
WHEREAS, leading organizational voices in the vision loss community joined to successfully recruit 26 members of the United States Senate to formally call upon Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to initiate rule-making proceedings concerning braille; and
 
WHEREAS, such regulations must clarify the current requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which mandate that students who are blind or visually impaired are to be provided with instruction in and use of braille unless the individualized education program (IEP) team determines that such services are not appropriate for a given student; and
 
WHEREAS, such clarification is essential to ensure that IEP teams, schools, districts and states do not continue to engage in the pervasive practice of improperly denying braille to students with vision loss; and
 
WHEREAS, the issuance of the "Dear Colleague" letter on braille is well intentioned and potentially useful as a means for drawing greater attention to the need for braille instruction nationwide; and
 
WHEREAS, nevertheless, the "Dear Colleague" letter is an insufficient half-measure that falls well short of the demand for change called for by the blindness community and by more than a quarter of the United States Senate;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization, and its affiliate, the Braille Revival League:
 

  1. Thank the U.S. Secretary of Education for embarking on efforts to draw much-needed national attention to the need for braille instruction; and
  1. Demand that the Department of Education act immediately to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to provide critical and authoritative regulations carefully circumscribing the circumstances in which IEP teams may properly make determinations that braille instruction is inappropriate for some students; and

 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the 26 U.S. Senators who advocated additional braille regulations, and to the Secretary of Education, so that it can be clearly understood that a "Dear Colleague" letter, in and of itself, does not begin to constitute a remedy for the untold damage being done by the failure to teach braille in states and school districts throughout America.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-03

TEACH Act: Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-03
 
Summary
 
This organization endorses the TEACH Act and calls upon Congress to move promptly on its introduction and enactment.
 
WHEREAS, the "Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act" or "TEACH Act" would significantly improve the accessibility of instructional materials used in post-secondary education, including electronic and multimedia materials; and
 
WHEREAS, the TEACH Act would accomplish this objective by requiring the U.S. Access Board to develop standards for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to adopt as part of DOJ's responsibilities to implement and enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and
 
WHEREAS, such standards are essential for creators of post-secondary instructional materials to employ so that students with disabilities will have full and equal access to the educational content that such materials provide; and
 
WHEREAS, the TEACH Act does not alter the effective communication or other requirements of current law but merely provides both the creators of instructional materials and colleges and universities greater certainty about how to offer accessibility and to comply with existing law; and
 
WHEREAS, leading organizations of and for people with disabilities, including the American Council of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind, have responded favorably to the invitation of the National Federation of the Blind to join them in advocacy to introduce the TEACH Act in the 113th U.S. Congress;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization affirm its endorsement of the TEACH Act and call upon Congress to move promptly on its introduction and enactment.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-04

Computerized State Common Core Assessments
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-04
 
Summary

 
This organization declares its vehement opposition to the implementation of state-administered computerized common core assessments which do not permit students with disabilities to use their preferred assistive technology to take such tests.
 
WHEREAS, two federally funded projects, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are developing computerized testing tools which will be used by participating states to assess student ability in English language arts and mathematics in accordance with the Common Core State Standards; and
 
WHEREAS, nearly all states in the union are voluntarily participating in the two consortia; and
 
WHEREAS, states that participate in these consortia are committing to implement both the specific testing methodologies they develop and the testing accommodations policies for test takers with disabilities which they adopt; and
 
WHEREAS, advocates for students with disabilities are having mixed results negotiating with these consortia concerning their proposed testing methodologies and accommodations policies; and
 
WHEREAS, these consortia are apparently stubbornly intending to require students with disabilities to make use of so-called built-in accessibility features to take the computerized common core assessment tests rather than also allowing students to use their preferred assistive technology; and
 
WHEREAS, this reluctance is seemingly based on the unfounded belief that test security cannot be ensured when students are allowed to use their preferred assistive technology; and
 
WHEREAS, these consortia have also proposed accommodations policies that would, for example, limit student use of read-aloud functionality as an alternative to visual or tactile decoding; and
 
WHEREAS, both the intention to exclude use of assistive technology and the overly restrictive accommodations policies previously proposed would have a detrimental effect on student test performance; and
 
WHEREAS, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that the accommodations preference of the individual with disabilities is to be given priority; and
 
WHEREAS, in implementing computerized common core assessment tests, states that deny students the ability to use their preferred assistive technology or that otherwise set up accommodations policies that restrict provision of preferred appropriate accommodations will be in violation of federal law; and
 
WHEREAS, rather than ensuring test integrity and the validity of test results, denying appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities will, in fact, undermine the legitimacy of these assessments and invalidate test results inasmuch as students who are forced to abandon techniques they regularly employ will not be assessed on what they know but how well they perform using unfamiliar and questionable accommodations; and
 
WHEREAS, the new assessment tools under development are expected to begin to be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization declare its vehement opposition to the implementation of state-administered computerized common core assessments which do not permit students with disabilities to use their preferred assistive technology to take such tests; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization engage in all appropriate advocacy to ensure that test methodologies and accommodations policies meet the unique needs of students who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization join with like-minded organizations representing students with disabilities to continue and step up communications and negotiations with SBAC and PARCC to achieve their commitment to appropriate testing methodologies and accommodations policies for all students with disabilities.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-05

Harmonizing DOT's Service Animal Regulations with DOJ
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-05
 
Summary
 
This organization calls upon the Secretary of Transportation to direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake an immediate review and revision of DOT's rules concerning service animals to harmonize them with the DOJ service animal regulations.
 
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice, as part of its comprehensive review and update of its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), adopted important revisions to regulations pertaining to covered entities' non-discrimination obligations concerning service animals; and
 
WHEREAS, among other things, these revisions make critical clarifications to current law concerning the kinds of animals that fall within the scope of the ADA's protections and the circumstances in which such animals may be used; and
 
WHEREAS, the regulations of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) pertaining to service animals are in conflict with the DOJ regulations in, among other respects, their failure to apply the DOJ's more moderate and common-sense approaches to the kinds of animals that fall within the scope of the ADA's protections and the use of service animals and so-called emotional support animals; and
 
WHEREAS, the efficacy and validity of the practice of using uncommon and exotic creatures as bona fide service animals, as permitted by the DOT regulations, is, at best, questionable and leads to wide-scale abuse; and
 
WHEREAS, consistent federal regulation of service animals should yield consistent and reliable compliance by all entities covered by such non-discrimination obligations; and
 
WHEREAS, the DOT regulations, by permitting the utilization of uncommon and exotic creatures, instead exposes the use of service animals as a whole to ridicule and resistance by covered entities and the public generally, thus potentially weakening  the ability to ensure compliance with the ADA;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization call upon the Secretary of Transportation, to direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake an immediate review and revision of DOT's rules concerning service animals to harmonize them with the DOJ service animal regulations.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-06

Concerning Amazon and Its Release of Kindle iOS Apps
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-06
 
Summary
 
This organization sincerely hopes that Amazon immediately makes the Kindle accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
WHEREAS, Amazon recently released an app for iOS devices that allows Kindle books to be easily and accessibly read by iPhone, iPad and iPod users who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
WHEREAS, there are still several stand-alone Kindle readers that are by no means fully accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization commend Amazon for its success with IOS devices; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization sincerely hopes that Amazon's zeal to be certain its applications are accessible be immediately translated into the stand-alone Kindle devices currently on the market which are not easily usable by people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-07

CAPTCHAs
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-07
 
Summary

 
This organization, through its Information Access Committee, strongly urges web site developers who require CAPTCHAs on their sites to utilize at least one word-based CAPTCHA alternative.
 
WHEREAS, the use of Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) is deemed to be necessary to increase security and prove authenticity on many web sites; and
 
WHEREAS, a CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer or automated system; and
 
WHEREAS, these challenge-response systems are critical to certain web sites in order to prevent automated systems from performing harmful and undesirable activities; and
 
WHEREAS, these CAPTCHAs commonly take the form of either visual, audio or word-based challenges; and
 
WHEREAS, visual CAPTCHAs are completely inaccessible to users of screen-reading software as they require users to enter characters displayed in a graphic; and
 
WHEREAS, audio CAPTCHAs are equally inaccessible to users who are blind or visually impaired because the characters which need to be entered are so garbled that they cannot be understood; and
 
WHEREAS, audio CAPTCHAs are inaccessible to users who are deaf-blind as they require individuals to listen to an audio file containing letters and numbers that are not easily understood; and
 
WHEREAS, word-based CAPTCHAs utilizing easy-to-solve mathematical problems are accessible to consumers who are both blind and who are deaf-blind;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization, through its Information Access Committee, strongly urge web site developers who require CAPTCHAs on their sites to utilize at least one word-based CAPTCHA alternative.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-08

Impact of Chained CPI
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-08
 
Summary
 
This organization expresses its strong opposition to the proposed use of chained CPI to calculate adjustments in Social Security cash benefits for recipients who are blind or visually impaired and advocates that the proposed use of the chained-CPI does not occur
 
WHEREAS, President Obama's entitlement reform proposals include changing Social Security's use of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to a so-called chained-CPI system to determine how annual benefit adjustments are calculated; and
 
WHEREAS, this change in calculation procedures will lower Social Security cash benefits by an estimated 3 percent over the next 30 years; and
 
WHEREAS, many Social Security benefits recipients who are blind or visually impaired, including many older individuals, are barely able to survive on their current monthly Social Security benefits; and
 
WHEREAS, moving to a chained-CPI approach that would give Social Security recipients less money over the long term will have a very detrimental effect on many blind and visually impaired individuals who rely upon Social Security programs as their sole or primary source of income;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization express emphatically its strong opposition to the proposed use of chained CPI to calculate adjustments in Social Security cash benefits for recipients who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization work shoulder-to-shoulder with all appropriate organizations to advocate that the proposed use of the chained-CPI does not occur.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-09

PDF Accessibility
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-09
 
Summary

 
This organization urges Adobe Systems, Inc. to make the accessible document setting the default rather than an option.
 
WHEREAS, the Portable Document Files (PDF) format, created by Adobe Systems, Inc. has largely become the dominant document format in the business environment; and
 
WHEREAS, many people who are blind or visually impaired use assistive technology to access electronic files; and
 
WHEREAS, the reading of such documents by screen-reading software requires that they be created using accessibility features; and
 
WHEREAS, the default setting for PDF document creation results in the production of inaccessible PDF documents; and
 
WHEREAS, it is necessary, therefore, in order to create an accessible PDF document, for a person to manually select the so-called "accessibility checker"; and
 
WHEREAS, Adobe Systems has expressed a willingness to examine this issue;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization urge Adobe Systems Incorporated, to make the accessible document setting the default rather than an option.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary
 

Resolution 2013-10

Impact of Sequestration on Employees of NIB-Affiliated Agencies
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-10
 
Summary
 
This organization should work with national news media to profile the pernicious effects of sequestration on the employment opportunities of people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
WHEREAS, over the past several months, due to the implementation of sequestration, many National Industries for the Blind-associated agencies have seen business through the AbilityOne program curtailed to a startling extent; and
 
WHEREAS, the result of this curtailment of orders from the federal government has resulted in layoffs of dedicated blind employees, furloughs of one to two days per week of many such employees, and the entire closure of several plants and production programs throughout National Industries for the Blind's network of associated agencies; and
 
WHEREAS, America's national press and other media have been largely silent about the impact that sequestration has had, and is likely to continue to have, on a number of segments of the United States population, including blind and visually impaired workers; and
 
WHEREAS, National Industries for the Blind and its associated agencies have not fulfilled their responsibility to tap their considerable resources to speak out about the hardships that sequestration has imposed on employees who are blind;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization call upon National Industries for the Blind, and its associated agencies, to urgently craft and commence a coherent and compelling communications strategy that effectively uses the national news media to inform the public about the unconscionable impact of sequestration on workers who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the United States Congress and the President of the United States to take all necessary steps to allow federal contracting and procurement with National Industries for the Blind-associated agencies to return to at least pre-sequestration levels; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization work with national news media to profile the pernicious effects of sequestration on the employment opportunities of people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-11

Removing Copyright Law Barriers to Information Accessibility
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-11
 
Summary
 
This organization should work in coalition with the American Foundation for the Blind and, as appropriate, with other organizations representing people with disabilities, to defend the full scope of existing information accessibility protections in current copyright law and to advocate for the full and fair use of literary, audiovisual, and any other copyrighted works by people with disabilities.
 
WHEREAS, Title 17, United States Code, Section 121, the so-called Chafee Amendment, allows certain authorized entities to reproduce non-dramatic literary works in various specialized formats for people who are blind or who otherwise have so-called print disabilities without first needing to obtain permission from copyright owners; and
 
WHEREAS, the Chafee Amendment, though it has proven to be quite useful, is nevertheless limited, either by design or as interpreted by some, in ways that do not afford people with disabilities full and equal access to information of all kinds; and
 
WHEREAS, to advance the cause of knowledge and information accessibility, it is desirable to eliminate the alleged ambiguities in the Chafee Amendment concerning

  • the criteria for determining eligibility to benefit from the Chafee Amendment based on the nature of one's disabling condition;
  • the number and kinds of governmental and non-profit organizations entitled to reproduce materials under the Chafee Amendment; and
  • the variety of format options, such as the array of digital text and digital audio formats not commonly offered when the Chafee Amendment was enacted, that qualify for Chafee protection today; and

WHEREAS, the Chafee Amendment neither allows dramatic literary works to be reproduced nor allows reproduction of materials into large print outside of the K-12 educational context; and
 
WHEREAS, the Chafee Amendment does not address the need to make copyrighted audiovisual works, such as motion pictures, educational multimedia, online video content available via social networking, etc., more accessible to people with disabilities through captioning or description; and
 
WHEREAS, still other provisions of current copyright law impose significant civil and criminal penalties on those who circumvent technological measures that protect copyright owners' property; and
 
WHEREAS, advocates for people who are blind or visually impaired, in common cause with advocates for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, have been forced to regularly entreat the Librarian of Congress for relief from these significant penalties which might otherwise be imposed on people with disabilities who simply want to get access to e-books or audiovisual materials that they are lawfully entitled to use; and
 
WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress is currently considering a variety of legislative proposals to reform U.S. intellectual property law;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization work in coalition with the American Foundation for the Blind and, as appropriate, with other organizations representing people with disabilities, both to defend the full scope of existing information accessibility protections in current copyright law and to advocate, through appropriate legislative amendment, the full and fair use of literary, audiovisual, and any other copyrighted works by people with disabilities who may need to have such works adapted, with or without permission, to meet their unique reading, learning, or comprehension needs.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-13

Supporting the Repeal, with Safeguards, of Section 14(c) of FLSA
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-13
 
Summary
 
This organization commits to the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act with the stipulation that any legislation include specific safeguards to protect those individuals working under 14(c) certificates from losing their jobs. ACB should work with the Congress of the United States to achieve this objective.
 
WHEREAS, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows non-profit organizations to obtain special minimum wage certificates giving them the right to pay less than the federal minimum wage to disabled persons working in the job for which the certificate was obtained; and
 
WHEREAS, it is estimated that more than 216,000 workers are eligible to earn less than minimum wage, although no reliable statistics on the number of blind and visually impaired persons working under 14(c) certificates are available; and
 
WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has previously gone on record by resolution in support of the payment of a minimum wage to individuals whose only disability is blindness while not specifically addressing the 14(c) issue; and
 
WHEREAS, subsequent to the 2011 national conference and convention, ACB was approached by a coalition of more than a dozen disability-related organizations led by the National Federation of the Blind to sign on to a letter to be sent to John Kline, Chairperson, House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which called for the repeal of Section 14(c) of the FLSA; and
 
WHEREAS, due to the timing of the coalition's request, the ACB president, in consultation with the executive director and the director of advocacy and governmental affairs, agreed to have ACB sign this letter with the proviso that any such legislation include specific safeguards to protect those individuals working under 14 (c) certificates from losing their jobs; and
 
WHEREAS, at the 2012 conference and convention, the resolutions committee brought forward without recommendation a resolution on this issue, but which was not moved from the floor, thus causing this resolution to die; and
 
WHEREAS, the coalition has drafted a second letter to employers with individuals working under 14(c) certificates and again asked for ACB's support; and
 
WHEREAS, ACB, as the major national democratic, consumer advocacy organization of blind and visually impaired persons in the nation, the membership should have the right and the opportunity to decide whether we will, by resolution, support the coalition effort to repeal Section 14(c) of the FLSA;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization commit to the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act with the stipulation that any legislation include specific safeguards, such as a phase-in period for implementation, to protect those individuals working under 14(c) certificates from losing their jobs; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ACB work with the Congress of the United States to achieve this objective.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-14

Commendation of Eric Bridges for His Years of Service to ACB
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-14
 
Summary
 
This organization salutes and expresses its deepest appreciation to Mr. Eric Bridges for his myriad contributions to the work of ACB and to the independence, equality, and economic security of all people who are blind or visually impaired.
 
WHEREAS, six years ago, Mr. Eric Bridges of Arlington, Virginia, joined the staff of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) to serve as ACB's Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric came to ACB after a successful seven-year stint in public policy working for the National Industries for the Blind where he was both mentored and highly valued by the late Patricia M. Beattie, former national treasurer of ACB; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric's tenure and accomplishments demonstrate his consummate professionalism, unwavering commitment to the rights and capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired, and tremendous aptitude for advocacy; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric has worked tirelessly to represent the unique and diverse needs of consumers with vision loss in a host of blindness-specific and cross-disability coalitions, particularly the so-called Legislative Working Group (LWG), the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), and the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT); and
 
WHEREAS, as part of his work in COAT, Eric was a stalwart advocate for described television, meaningful emergency information accessibility, and the accessibility of the most popular advanced communications services which, among other critical policy enactments, are embodied in the historic Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric's professionalism and relationship-building skills were determinative in the successful enactment of the Pedestrian Safety and Enhancement Act which, by substantially reducing the menace of so-called quiet cars, will save the lives and protect the well-being of people who are blind or visually impaired throughout America; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric's solutions-oriented and results-driven style was essential to the enactment of groundbreaking language in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act to create best practices in the delivery of accessible prescription drug container labeling; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric has been an effective champion for the rights and opportunities of blind vendors participating in the Randolph-Sheppard program and has been celebrated even this week for such consistent efforts by the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA); and
 
WHEREAS, in these, as in all of his many accomplishments, Eric has been a valued team player, a firm but friendly voice, and a man of integrity and honor; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric's approachability and willingness to build constructive dialogue, even with sometimes difficult partners, has measurably improved ACB's relationship with, and standing among, many organizations and audiences; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric's last day with ACB will be Friday, July 19, 2013, inasmuch as he is pursuing other promising endeavors; and
 
WHEREAS, Eric is expressing his desire and commitment to continue to be active in the life and work of ACB;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this organization salute and express its deepest appreciation to Mr. Eric Bridges for his myriad contributions to the work of ACB and to the independence, equality, and economic security of all people who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the women and men of ACB, wish Eric, and his wife Rebecca, every success that we know from experience they can achieve, and we look forward with gratitude to their continued fellowship and activism among us.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-15

Accessible Paths of Travel through Parking Lots
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-15
 
Summary

 
This organization urges the adoption of the standards within ANSI 507, and also ultimately as a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding accessible routes located adjacent and parallel to vehicular drives and wheel stops for parking spaces immediately adjacent to the accessible walkway.
 
WHEREAS, pedestrians with disabilities are afforded equal access to public facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
 
WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) define an accessible route as a "continuous, unobstructed path of travel;" and
 
WHEREAS, ADAAG 206.2.1 requires that "at least one accessible route shall be provided within the boundary of the site from public transportation stops, accessible parking spaces, passenger loading zones, and public streets and sidewalks, to the accessible building or facility entrance they serve;" and
 
WHEREAS, vehicular movement in parking lots tends to be unpredictable and erratic, and motorists often experience obstructed sight lines; and
 
WHEREAS, the need to cross and maintain alignment through parking lots to access entrances to buildings or facilities places pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired in a difficult and unsafe travel situation; and
 
WHEREAS, parking lots therefore become barriers preventing pedestrians who are visually impaired or blind from using fixed-route transit or walking to and from many buildings or facilities; and
 
WHEREAS, physically separated pathways through parking lots would increase access and safety for all pedestrians; and
 
WHEREAS, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is considering modifications to Section 507 concerning accessible paths of travel through parking lots;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization urge the adoption of the following standards within ANSI 507, and also ultimately as a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act:
 
Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG):
 
"Separation.
Accessible routes located adjacent and parallel to vehicular drives shall be separated from the vehicular drive by one or more of the following:

  1. A vertical change in level of 4 inches, minimum.
  2. Barriers or railings.
  3. Landscape area.

Barriers.
Where parking spaces are immediately adjacent to the accessible walkway, wheel stops shall be required. Barriers used to separate an accessible route from the vehicular drive shall comply with the current Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requirements."
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-16

Healthy Foods Mandated at Blind Vending Facilities
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-16
 
Summary

 
This organization should be prepared, as appropriate, to support its affiliate, the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA) in articulating for policymakers the unique challenges faced by blind vendors that would make the imposition of a healthy snack sales requirement unduly burdensome.
 
WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act was signed into law in 1936, thereby creating the most successful entrepreneurial program for blind persons by affording blind business owners the right to operate vending facilities on federal properties; and
 
WHEREAS, many states have passed mini-Randolph-Sheppard laws which extend similar rights to blind vendors on state and local government properties; and
 
WHEREAS, these blind entrepreneurs pay millions annually in sales taxes to states and millions in set-aside fees that allow these state agencies to draw down millions in federal dollars; and
 
WHEREAS, as independent business owners, blind vendors are generally free to sell the products that their customers want to purchase; and
 
WHEREAS, Randolph-Sheppard vendors in many states are continuing to face legislative proposals which attempt to force Randolph-Sheppard vendors to sell up to 100% healthy food, snacks, and beverages; and
 
WHEREAS, when facilities provide healthy snacks, they have a much higher product cost because of the shorter shelf life of healthy products; and
 
WHEREAS, many vendors' suppliers do not offer a sufficient variety of healthy snacks; and
 
WHEREAS, consequently, a blanket requirement to carry a sizable percentage of healthy snacks would be a huge disadvantage for blind vendors in many facilities;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization urge policymakers at the federal, state and local levels not to impose healthy snack sales requirements that would have a disproportionate negative impact on the livelihood of blind vendors; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization be prepared, as appropriate, to support its affiliate, the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA), in articulating for policymakers the unique challenges faced by blind vendors that would make the imposition of a healthy snack sales requirement unduly burdensome.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-17

Diabetes Testing Supplies
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-17
 
Summary
 
This organization directs its legislative and advocacy staff to meet with the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus in the House of Representatives, and with other members of Congress who will assist in addressing the issues raised in this resolution in order to ensure that diabetics who are blind or visually impaired have access to the widest possible array of testing options
 
WHEREAS, it is particularly important that diabetics who are blind or visually impaired protect their extremities in order to ensure that they retain the maximum feeling and sensitivity in fingers and other appendages; and
 
WHEREAS, it is thus essential that diabetics who are blind or visually impaired are able to obtain testing strips and supplies that are best suited to their individual medical needs, and that best guard against neuropathy and other conditions that can cause loss of sensitivity; and
 
WHEREAS, regular and accurate testing of blood sugar is often essential for the maintenance and control of diabetes; and
 
WHEREAS, diabetics who are blind or visually impaired must use specialized meters in order to independently obtain testing results; and
 
WHEREAS, such meters often require specialized testing strips; and
 
WHEREAS, cost and limitations in availability of transportation often necessitates use of mail-order delivery of testing supplies; and
 
WHEREAS, Medicare has implemented a system of competitive bidding, often awarding contracts to medical suppliers which deal in obscure brands and testing products significantly less usable by diabetics who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
WHEREAS, private insurers and other governmental insurance programs often pattern their coverage policies in response to coverage decisions made by Medicare; and
 
WHEREAS, some non-Medicare insurance providers are already reducing coverage of diabetic testing options based on the Medicare competitive bid policies;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this organization direct its legislative and advocacy staff to meet with the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus in the House of Representatives, and with other members of Congress who will assist in addressing the issues raised in this resolution in order to ensure that diabetics who are blind or visually impaired have access to the widest possible array of testing options, even if testing supplies are obtained through mail-order suppliers.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-18

Guide Dogs
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-18
 
Summary
 
This organization calls upon guide dog schools that before decisions are made that will substantially downsize schools, management shall reach out to graduates so that such decision-making can be collaborative; that each school shall include at least two graduates on their governing body; that schools be encouraged to schedule regular conference calls with their graduates to facilitate effective, two-way communication
 
WHEREAS, there is a long history of close cooperation between guide dog schools and their graduates; and
 
WHEREAS, guide dog schools engage in significant resource development activities to support their programs; and
 
WHEREAS, graduates are indispensable partners with schools in such fund-raising efforts; and
 
WHEREAS, a number of guide dog schools have laid off staff recently, including trainers and individuals who support graduates once they return to their home communities; and
 
WHEREAS, in several cases, graduates of guide dog schools are concerned that the remaining staff resources will be insufficient to assure that the training and support of dog guide teams will maintain the high standard that has come to be expected;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization call upon guide dog schools to take the following steps:

  1. Before decisions are made that will substantially downsize schools, management shall reach out to graduates so that such decision-making can be collaborative.
  1. Each school shall include at least two graduates on their governing body.
  1. Schools are encouraged to schedule regular conference calls with their graduates to facilitate effective, two-way communication; an

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be sent to the board of directors of Guide Dog Users, Inc. for their review and possible endorsement.
 
Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-19

Services to Older Individuals with Vision Loss
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-19
 
Summary

 
This organization believes that it is now imperative that the whole blindness community come together to develop and implement a comprehensive action plan to begin to develop and implement a national strategy, including a major public awareness campaign, to increase federal funding for older Americans who are experiencing vision loss.
 
WHEREAS, the National Health Interview Survey indicates that more than 21.2 million adult, non-institutionalized Americans currently experience significant functional vision loss, and it is estimated that at least ten million people in America are seniors with vision loss; and
 
WHEREAS, funding under Title 7, Chapter 2 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind Program, is currently at only $32 million; and
 
WHEREAS, current U.S. House-proposed budgets recommend that this allocation be reduced to only $16 million; and
 
WHEREAS, the result of the combination of high numbers and low funding have created a crisis of unprecedented seriousness; and
 
WHEREAS, this crisis will result in depriving hundreds of thousands of people who are losing vision of their rightful access to appropriate services; and
 
WHEREAS, low funding levels have already created a situation where there is insufficient available funding for hiring qualified professionals with specialized training; and
 
WHEREAS, many of the services provided to older blind and visually impaired persons are delivered by occupational therapists who do not have the specialized expertise that is absolutely necessary for delivering  appropriate rehabilitative services; and
 
WHEREAS, without sufficient funding, it is likely that individuals who could be trained to live productive and meaningful lives will instead be institutionalized; and
 
WHEREAS, actuarial evidence suggests that, unless immediate action is taken, costs created by unnecessary institutionalization will far exceed the costs of providing training to adjust to vision loss;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization believes that it is now imperative that the whole blindness community come together to develop and implement a comprehensive action plan to begin to remediate this untenable situation; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president and board of directors are hereby instructed to host a meeting of organizations of and for the blind including, but not limited to, the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the VisionServe Alliance, the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to take initial steps to develop such a plan; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these organizations shall develop and implement a national strategy, including a major public awareness campaign, to increase federal funding for older Americans who are experiencing vision loss.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-20

Guide Dogs for the Blind
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-20
 
Summary
 
This organization urges the GDB board of directors, in the future, to take no actions similar to those discussed in this resolution without prior consultation and input from its graduates.
 
WHEREAS, Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) has long been one of the pre-eminent guide dog schools in the nation; and
 
WHEREAS, recent actions of the GDB leadership team have raised serious questions about the school's ability to continue to provide quality services; and
 
WHEREAS, these actions have included, but are not limited to:

  1. The severing from employment of some of the school's most dedicated, well qualified and experienced training staff;
  1. Dramatically reducing the number of field representatives, who provide, among other functions, follow-up services; and
  1. Utterly disregarding graduate input; and

WHEREAS, over 500 graduates and friends of GDB have signed a petition demanding a change in the current GDB leadership team; and
 
WHEREAS, the above-referenced actions suggest that it is doubtful that a consensus can ever be reached between a majority of GDB graduates and the current leadership of GDB;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization urgently request that the GDB board of directors, based on the overwhelming concerns expressed by GDB graduates, bring about a change in its leadership; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the GDB board of directors, in the future, to take no actions similar to those discussed in this resolution without prior consultation and input from its graduates.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-21

Local Voting Accessibility
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-21
 
Summary
 
This organization expresses its extreme displeasure that any state or local jurisdiction would even consider asking people with disabilities to relinquish their right to vote privately and independently. The officers, directors and staff of this organization are instructed to seek the assistance of all appropriate entities so as to create opportunities to end this discriminatory and pernicious practice
 
WHEREAS, in the state of New York, even though accessible machines are available since they have already been mandated by HAVA (Help America Vote Act) for use in federal elections, old, inaccessible lever machines are being used for local elections; and
 
WHEREAS, in a substantial majority of the jurisdictions, accessible voting systems are being used for elections regardless of whether such elections are federal, state or local; and
 
WHEREAS, repeated requests to make accessible machines available for local elections have resulted in no change;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization express its extreme displeasure that any state or local jurisdiction would even consider asking people with disabilities to relinquish their right to vote privately and independently; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the officers, directors and staff of this organization are hereby instructed to seek the assistance of all appropriate entities so as to create opportunities to end this discriminatory and pernicious practice.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-22

Appreciation of Hyatt Regency Management and Staff
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-22
 
Summary

 
This organization thanks the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.
 
WHEREAS, it is right and good that this conference and convention express its thanks and appreciation to our host hotel;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization communicate its profound gratitude to the management and staff of the Hyatt Regency Hotel for their warm welcome, prompt and reliable service, and sterling professionalism.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-23

Appreciation of the Convention Host Committee and ACBO
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-23
 
Summary

 
This organization thanks the convention host committee and members of the American Council of the Blind of Ohio
 
WHEREAS, the strength of the American Council of the Blind lies in each of its members and in each of its state and special-interest affiliates;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization express its heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the convention host committee and the women and men of the American Council of the Blind of Ohio for their enthusiastic welcome, the untold hours of planning and hard work, and the tremendous privilege of bringing our national conference and convention to the Buckeye State for the very first time.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

Resolution 2013-24

Appreciation of Convention Volunteers
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-24
 
Summary

 
This organization offers thanks to the convention volunteers.
 
WHEREAS, there is no greater gift to give than unmerited generosity;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 11th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization warmly embrace and most sincerely thank each and every individual volunteer who so selflessly and graciously gave of their time and energy to offer assistance to the attendees of this year's national conference and convention.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary