Resolutions 2015

American Council of the Blind
2015 Resolutions

Note: This publication reflects the resolutions which were adopted by the convention.  Below are the links to the summaries of the 2015 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.

2015 Resolutions Summaries

The following are brief summaries of the resolutions adopted by the ACB membership at the 2015 conference and convention held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in July. Please note that these summary statements are not the authoritative voice of the ACB membership; these brief statements are simply intended to capture the overall scope and intent of the membership as authoritatively embodied in the full text of each of the resolutions. You can find the full text of resolutions at http://acb.org/resolutions2015.
 
Resolution 2015-01 commemorates the life and work of the late Walter Spillum for his pioneering contributions to the field of international blindness education.
 
Resolution 2015-02 calls upon the National Endowment for the Arts to require, as appropriate, audio description in its grants, to consider a national registry of described content, and to work with ACB’s Audio Description Project Committee.
 
Resolution 2015-03 demands that the Federal Communications Commission respond to repeated calls by the vision loss community to immediately implement a plan to hire professionals with expertise in blindness and visual impairment.
 
Resolution 2015-04 congratulates and thanks Melanie Brunson for her 17 years of devoted service to ACB.
 
Resolution 2015-05 expresses profound disappointment in Microsoft for its failure to ensure full accessibility of the Windows 10 operating system, calls upon Microsoft to change its practices to ensure accessibility of products at initial release, and demands that complimentary copies of Microsoft Outlook be made available to remediate Microsoft’s latest browser’s inaccessibility.
 
Resolution 2015-06 calls upon President Obama to direct the Attorney General to complete revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act implementing regulations within one year ensuring that online-only public accommodations are covered by the ADA’s Title III nondiscrimination obligations.
 
Resolution 2015-07 urges the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to rescind the requirement that electronic currency identifiers are only distributed to patrons who affirm their U.S. citizenship in writing, and reiterates ACB’s demand for accessible paper currency.
 
Resolution 2015-08 urges the U.S. Congress and the Rehabilitation Services Administration to address an array of serious failures in sound public policy affecting people who are blind or visually impaired embodied in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and its proposed implementing regulations.
 
 
Resolution 2015-09 voices outrage that the National Council on Disability utterly failed to honor its responsibilities to carry out a national public awareness initiative regarding accessible prescription medication labeling.
 
Resolution 2015-10 acknowledges that the needs of people with low vision are being neglected with respect to the accessibility of mobile apps, and directs the ACB Information Access Committee to work with the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International to develop and disseminate material addressing these unmet needs.
 
Resolution 2015-11 identifies the lack of a single national credential for assistive technology trainers as a significant barrier to competence and quality, and calls upon the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) to promptly develop and offer such a credential.
 
Resolution 2015-12 describes a variety of customer difficulties using Greyhound’s website, customer services, and affiliated websites, and calls upon Greyhound to improve its website accessibility and related issues.
 
Resolution 2015-13 remembers the availability of a low-cost accessible Microwave oven offered by Hamilton Beach and urges the appropriate entities to bring such a low-cost accessible appliance back to market.
 
Resolution 2015-14 commends Netflix for beginning to offer both original and third-party produced audio described content.
 
Resolution 2015-15 demands that the state of California allow follow-up and after-care services to be provided to guide dog teams in the state without requiring out-of-state instructors who provide such services to be licensed in California.
 
Resolution 2015-16 urges the Rehabilitation Services Administration to adopt federal regulations implementing the Independent Living Services to Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) program that would require state agencies to only contract with service provider organizations staffed by professionals possessing expertise in blindness and visual impairment as identified in such regulations.
 
Resolution 2015-17 reaffirms ACB’s support for a $2 for $1 gradual reduction in Social Security benefits when a beneficiary who is blind or visually impaired enters or returns to the workforce.
 
Resolution 2015-18 thanks the management and staff of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.
 
Resolution 2015-19 commends and thanks the convention host committee and the American Council of the Blind of Texas for their hospitality and a successful national conference and convention.
 
Resolution 2015-20 expresses deep appreciation to convention volunteers for their generous assistance.

Resolution 2015-01

Honoring Walter Spillum
Resolution 2015-01
 
Whereas, Walter Spillum (Walt), who passed away on April 29, 2015, devoted over 4 decades of his life to people who are blind or have low vision in Japan; and
 
Whereas, Walt single-handedly created a training center in which English and blindness skills are taught to Japanese people who are blind or have low vision; and
 
Whereas, Walt has enriched the ACB community by facilitating the attendance of his students at our annual conference and convention;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 7th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization recognize and value the life and work of Walter Spillum and appreciate his pioneering contributions to the field of international blindness education.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-02

Audio Description and the NEA
Resolution 2015-02
 
Whereas, audio description is now mandated in a variety of settings by federal and state laws; and
 
Whereas, the National Endowment for the Arts is responsible for disbursing a range of grants at the state and local level; and
 
Whereas, the National Endowment for the Arts has a 504 coordinator and requires each state arts agency receiving grants to appoint someone to a similar position; and
 
Whereas, it does not appear as if audio description is currently being actively promoted through National Endowment for the Arts or state arts agency awards;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization hereby request that the National Endowment for the Arts actively include audio description as an inherent requirement, as appropriate, for all state arts agency grants; and
 
Be it further resolved that ACB urge the National Endowment for the Arts to consider creating a national registry of sites where audio description is available so that individuals and organizations could be aware of where accessible museums, parks, media and theaters can be found throughout the country; and
 
Be it further resolved that the Audio Description Project Committee of the American Council of the Blind is directed to work collaboratively with the National Endowment for the Arts to implement the proposals in this resolution.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-03

Federal Communications Commission
Resolution 2015-03
 
Whereas, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) possesses significant professional staff resources to enable the Commission to implement and enforce a host of communications accessibility and other disability-related requirements of current law; and
 
Whereas, in particular, the preponderance of a deafness and hard of hearing career orientation, substantial professional background, and first-hand experience of staff, particularly within the Disability Rights Office of the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, has been of incalculable benefit to the successful carrying out of Commission responsibilities with respect to relay services, captioning, hearing aid compatibility, and related matters; and
 
Whereas, these invaluable staff resources are clearly insufficient without the addition of professional staff who have expertise and experience with a wider diversity of disability community needs; and
 
Whereas, the Communications Act, as amended, provides people who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind with a critical array of telecommunications and video programming accessibility guarantees necessitating a comparable investment in professional expertise; and
 
Whereas, the American Council of the Blind joined with nearly 30 major national and other prominent organizations of and for the blind in formal correspondence to the FCC dated January 14, 2011, urging the Commission to add personnel to its staff resources who possess expertise in blindness, visual impairment, and deaf-blindness; and
 
Whereas, in the more than four and a half years since the transmittal of such correspondence, the Commission has utterly failed to formally acknowledge and act upon it but has in fact continued to recruit and hire staff with a professional or personal association with the deafness and hard of hearing community;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, that this organization demand that the FCC promptly and publicly commit to a plan to, within one year:

  1. At a minimum, recruit and hire, at the GS13 level or higher, at least three professional staff to serve in the Disability Rights Office of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau who possess a career orientation to, substantial professional background in, or first-hand experience with blindness and visual impairment;
  1. Similarly recruit and hire at least one staff member with experience or expertise in deaf-blindness; and
  1. Ensure that senior-level professional staff are recruited and hired to serve in policy formulation, implementation, technical and enforcement positions in each of the Commission's bureaus who possess a professional background and expertise that represents the full diversity of the disability community; and

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution, along with a copy of the January 14, 2011 correspondence, be delivered to the Chair and Commissioners of the FCC and to the co-chairs of the FCC's Disability Advisory Committee.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-04

Honoring Melanie Brunson
Resolution 2015-04
 
Whereas, Melanie Brunson has offered hard work and faithful service to the women and men of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) for seventeen years; and
 
Whereas, a lawyer by training, Melanie joined the ACB national office staff in 1998 as ACB's Director of Advocacy Services; and
 
Whereas, Melanie ultimately assumed both the advocacy services and public policy responsibilities of the national office staff, serving as ACB's Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs until her eventual appointment as ACB Executive Director in 2004; and
 
Whereas, throughout her tenure, Melanie has been a fierce champion of the rights and capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
Whereas, among her many accomplishments, Melanie most recently played a key role on ACB's behalf in the negotiations leading to the signing of the historic Marrakesh treaty to eliminate the worldwide book famine for people who are blind or visually impaired around the globe; and
 
Whereas, Melanie particularly excels in her one-on-one work with individual ACB members experiencing a challenging rights or benefits issue; and
 
Whereas, Melanie has announced her intention to retire this fall;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization express its sincere gratitude to Melanie Brunson for her many years of hard work and commitment to the membership of ACB, and we, the women and men of the American Council of the Blind, wish Melanie every happiness and much fulfillment in her retirement.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-05

Microsoft and Windows 10 Accessibility
Resolution 2015-05
 
Whereas, Microsoft Windows is used in the majority of work environments; and
 
Whereas, the soon-to-be-released Windows 10 operating system has many significant accessibility flaws that will not be corrected prior to its release; and
 
Whereas, since Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to consumers, there is a significant risk that many consumers will upgrade their systems unaware of Windows 10’s substantial accessibility limitations; and
 
Whereas, the default email client that ships with Windows 10 will not be accessible, forcing users to either purchase Microsoft Outlook as Microsoft suggests or obtain a third-party email client for their use; and
 
Whereas, the default PDF reader built into Windows 10 will not be accessible; and
 
Whereas, the new flagship browser, Edge, will not be fully accessible for consumers, forcing them to change settings upon upgrade to use Internet Explorer, thus complicating the upgrade experience for many users;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization express its profound disappointment with Microsoft’s lack of commitment to ensure that all of Microsoft Windows 10 is accessible upon its initial release; and
 
Be it further resolved that ACB strongly encourage Microsoft to re-evaluate its core business and engineering practices to ensure that accessibility will be built in during the development cycle and not as an afterthought subsequent to the product's release; and
 
Be it further resolved that ACB insist that Microsoft provide free versions of Microsoft Outlook so as to ensure the availability of a fully accessible email client.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-06

ADA Web Regulations
Resolution 2015-06
 
Whereas, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) publicly committed more than five years ago to update its implementing regulations to clarify the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the Internet and to information and communications technologies; and
 
Whereas, the federal courts continue to disagree with each other about the ADA and whether online-only retailers and others are in fact ADA Title III covered public accommodations; and
 
Whereas, it is otherwise well-settled that state and local government programs and services must ensure that their online presence must be accessible to people with disabilities; and
 
Whereas, the increasing deployment of both fixed and free-standing equipment (such as kiosks, handheld and mobile devices, etc.) by state and local governmental entities and public accommodations alike also requires regulatory clarification by the DOJ to ensure that effective communication and equal access are achieved; and
 
Whereas, with only 18 months remaining in the current administration, proposed regulations on these critical issues have not been issued; and
 
Whereas, the five-year-old DOJ notices of its intent to regulate in these areas raised a host of needlessly complicated and distracting questions and ancillary issues;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization call upon President Barack Obama to direct the Attorney General of the United States to immediately set the U.S. Department of Justice on course to issue and publish final rules within one year of the date of this resolution which simply and succinctly:

  1. make it clear that public accommodations that operate exclusively online are absolutely covered by the ADA; and
  2. declare that the ADA’s effective communication and full and equal participation requirements apply with full force to any and all fixed and free-standing equipment that governmental entities and public accommodations expect people both with and without disabilities to use.

Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-07

Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Accessible Currency
Resolution 2015-07

 
Whereas, the American Council of the Blind won a suit that required the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to create accessible currency in the United States of America; and
 
Whereas, an interim approach involved making available portable electronic money identifiers; and
 
Whereas, initially, the National Library Service of the Library of Congress agreed to certify that applicants for such devices were receiving and qualified for NLS services; and
 
Whereas, initially there was no requirement that would tend to make this task an arduous one, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, long after the project started, made a policy decision that librarians must now certify the citizenship of each applicant; and
 
Whereas, a simple certification became a complex task which many staff members at libraries simply do not have the time to complete; and
 
Whereas, this has resulted in significantly limiting the number of people who are blind or visually impaired who can receive money identifiers;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, that this organization demand that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing immediately rescind the requirement that citizenship be checked so that libraries can more easily expedite the distribution of these much-needed devices; and
 
Be it further resolved that this organization appreciates the availability of these devices but reiterates its position that the current devices are no substitute for identifiable paper currency.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-08

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
Resolution 2015-08
 
Whereas, the American Council of the Blind wishes to express some overarching concerns about WIOA (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), passed in 2014, whose regulations will soon be implemented, and we hope our concerns will be considered by RSA (the Rehabilitation Services Administration) and the United State Congress;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved that this organization believes:

  1. The potential loss of homemaker and unpaid family worker closures disproportionately impacts people who are blind and, if implemented, will create a high likelihood of more non-positive closures for potentially employable people who are blind;
  1. There is insufficient recognition of the substantial differences between regular rehab and separate agency provision of transition services, which results in making the application of the 15 percent requirement in the law disproportionately disadvantage separate agencies who are already often providing effective transition services and who may be forced to limit services to others by these arbitrary allocations;
  1. The proposed elimination of “extended evaluation” may also increase the number of individuals who are blind and have other disabilities who may not be deemed qualified for vocational rehabilitation services because they cannot be given sufficient time to demonstrate their ability to handle potential employment;
  1. The continuing narrowing of the definition of what will be considered acceptable as integrated, competitive employment excludes many blind people who are employed in jobs that pay well above the minimum wage but do not meet arbitrary and unjustifiable definitions of employment that have the effect of removing client choice and denying people who are blind or have low vision VR services they deserve;
  1. We believe that the creation of joint state plans has the potential of significantly impacting the funding and effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services by creating new competition for funding and priorities at the state level;
  1. We are convinced that regulations concerning the qualifications of personnel need to be strengthened rather than weakened and that specialized, blindness-specific positions such as access technology specialists, vision rehabilitation therapists (rehab teachers), and orientation and mobility specialists need to be defined and encouraged by RSA through formal recognition and funding for specialized training programs; and

Be it further resolved that the American Council of the Blind remain concerned over the relative lack of consultation with interested parties that preceded the passage of the legislation in 2014 which led to specific requirements which are ill-considered and disproportionately disadvantageous to people who are blind or have low vision who seek vocational rehabilitation services; and
 
Be it further resolved that ACB join with other organizations working to promote the interests of people who are blind to propose and advocate for amendments to WIOA which will seek to mitigate some of the most egregiously unfair elements of this hastily drafted and ill-considered legislation.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-09

NCD Drug Label Failure
Resolution 2015-09
 
Whereas, in 2012, Congress passed and the President signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), which expressed concerns of the American Council of the Blind relative to the inaccessibility of prescription drug label information to people who are blind or who have low vision; and
 
Whereas, this bill established a working group comprised of representatives of the blind and aging communities, along with the retail pharmacy industry to develop “best practices” for the provision of accessible prescription drug label information under the auspices of the United States Access Board; and
 
Whereas, a comprehensive document was drafted by the working group and released in July 2013; and
 
Whereas, FDASIA further directed the National Council on Disability (NCD) to develop and implement – during a 12-month period immediately following release of the “best practices” document – a campaign to publicize its availability to the blind and aging communities; and
 
Whereas, during this 12-month period, NCD conducted only a single teleconference meeting with the relevant stakeholders and failed to carry out its charge as set forth in this legislation; and
 
Whereas, when queried as to why NCD did nothing to publicize the availability of the “best practices” document, its only response was to indicate that funding for this endeavor was not included in its budget and so no activity could be undertaken;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that ACB express its profound disappointment and dissatisfaction with NCD’s total lack of action and blatant disregard for its obligation as outlined in FDASIA to publicize the availability of “best practices” for the provision by retail pharmacies of accessible prescription drug label information.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-10

Low Vision App Access
Resolution 2015-10
 
Whereas, voice output programs such as voiceover and talk back have clearly created access to tablets, telephones and other devices for people who rely on audio; and
 
Whereas, considerable progress has been made in making such products accessible to people who have low vision and require enlarged fonts and different colors and contrast; and
 
Whereas, many third-party applications for such devices recognize the need to create accessibility for speech but do not pay attention to the needs of people with low vision; and
 
Whereas, this organization believes that part of the reason that apps are not made fully accessible to people with low vision lies in the fact that there is no single document we are aware of that provides clear information about the needs of people with low vision;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization direct its Information Access Committee to work collaboratively with the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International to develop a document that will clearly outline the needs of people with low vision where accessibility to applications is concerned; and
 
Be it further resolved that this document, once prepared, be made available on our web site and be distributed to such entities as are determined by the Information Access Committee.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-11

Technology Trainer Certification
Resolution 2015-11
 
Whereas, to be competitive in today’s job market, people who are blind or visually impaired must be competent in the use of assistive technology; and
 
Whereas, there is currently no nationally recognized professional credential to be obtained for the assistive technology specialist or trainer profession; and
 
Whereas, in many places around the country, assistive technology trainers are presumed to be competent simply because of their visual impairment and their informal reputation or self-proclaimed experience using assistive technology; and
 
Whereas, national standards and professional credentials for other vision rehabilitation and education professionals are well established;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization call upon the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) to promptly develop and establish standards to ensure the threshold competence of assistive technology trainers.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-12

Greyhound Lines, Inc.
Resolution 2015-12
 
Whereas, Greyhound Lines, Inc. and its operating subsidiaries provide transportation throughout the United States and Canada; and
 
Whereas, many passengers who are blind, visually impaired and/or who may also have additional disabilities use the company’s services to travel independently; and
 
Whereas, many of these customers have attempted to make trip reservations and access schedules and fares via telephone, and website systems provided by Greyhound but have been unable to book reservations due to the inaccessibility of the company’s websites; and
 
Whereas, when customers attempt to use the company’s customer concern telephone option as an alternative to the Internet, customers report that they have been charged an administrative fee for the service of assisting them in booking a ride via telephone and that the charges were not waived as a reasonable accommodation;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 9th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization urge Greyhound Lines, Inc. to immediately implement a plan to make its websites and telephone services accessible to travelers who have disabilities and to involve its Disability Advisory Committee in this endeavor; and
 
Be it further resolved that Greyhound Lines, Inc. immediately implement policies that will ensure that people who are blind or who have low vision who make reservations via telephone be afforded the same opportunities for discounts and other offers only available online.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-13

Microwave Access
Resolution 2015-13
 
Whereas, several years ago, a microwave oven with speech output was made available for under one hundred dollars by the company which manufactures the brand name Hamilton Beach; and
 
Whereas, many individuals who are blind or have low vision purchased this appliance; and
 
Whereas, this particular product is no longer available; and
 
Whereas, some people who are blind would like to see an inexpensive microwave with speech become available again;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization urge the company responsible for the Hamilton Beach brand to consider releasing a new “talking microwave oven” in the same price range with at least the same level of accessibility as the former model possessed.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-14

Netflix
Resolution 2015-14
 
Whereas, over the past several years, audio description has been provided for movies in theaters but has not, for the most part, been available on DVDs; and
 
Whereas, some television series have been described but audio description is only currently available in certain major markets; and
 
Whereas, even in those markets, audio description is not available because cable and satellite companies have not provided an accessible interface that allows people who are blind to access described content; and
 
Whereas, in the past, no audio description has been available through Internet providers of movies and television content; and
 
Whereas, accessing streamed programs through the Internet constitutes the most economical way to gain access to movies and television programming; and
 
Whereas, Netflix is by far the largest Internet provider of such streamed content; and
 
Whereas, in February of 2015, Netflix made audio description available for a limited number of television series and movies; and
 
Whereas, Netflix intends to dramatically increase its available described content;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization commend Netflix for being the first Internet content provider to incorporate the availability of audio description into its system; and
 
Be it further resolved that this organization also applaud Netflix for their continuing effort to increase the range and number of audio-described programs available through their web site; and
 
Be it further resolved that this organization hopes that the pioneering efforts of Netflix will persuade other Internet providers to follow Netflix’s example so that people who are blind or have low vision can fully experience movies and television programs with their families and friends.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-15

California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
Resolution 2015-15
 
Whereas, around 1948, the California legislature created the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (the board), pursuant to Section 7200.5 of the state’s Business and Professions Code; and
 
Whereas, the board rapidly developed procedures governing the development of guide dog training programs (called schools), fund-raising for such programs, and the licensing of the schools and their instructors; and
 
Whereas, thanks to the board’s efforts, California became the first and only state to mandate regulations for certifying the quality of guide dog training programs and the competency of instructors through a comprehensive examination and licensing procedure for California schools and their instructors and for instructors from out of state who seek to serve students in California even with after-care; and
 
Whereas, since 1989, the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), an international association of guide dog schools, which has grown to at least 80 member schools worldwide, has required its member schools to undergo an accreditation protocol that is at least as rigorous as the California state licensure requirements  for guide dog schools and instructors; and
 
Whereas, in recent years the board has, contrary to its earlier practice, begun to strictly enforce state regulations that prohibit the activities of unlicensed instructors in California to the extent that instructors from IGDF-accredited schools, regardless of the demonstrated abilities of these instructors, or the accreditation from the IGDF achieved by these schools, are prohibited from providing after-care services to graduates of these schools unless the particular instructors providing such services have been individually licensed by the state of California, and board; and
 
Whereas, these practices punish California guide dog users for choosing to receive their training from out-of-state schools, including schools with a long-standing track record of providing outstanding services to their students, and
 
Whereas, an inability to receive after-care in a timely manner from instructors who have familiarity with their graduates and their dogs and who utilize guide dog training techniques familiar both to instructors and their graduates can put the safety of guide dog users who need after-care at great risk; and
 
Whereas, this treatment by the state of California clearly violates principles of consumer choice with respect to training which are universally upheld and valued by the American Council of the Blind;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization call on the legislature and governor of the state of California to enact legislation during the 2016  session to permit instructors employed by IGDF accredited schools to provide follow-up services to their graduate guide dog teams in California, without requiring these instructors to be licensed by the state; and
 
Be it further resolved that this organization call on the governor of the state of California to reach out to the board to create approaches to alleviating the dangerous situation described above by encouraging the creation of an interim approach that will allow after-care services to be delivered by out-of-state instructors; and
 
Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution shall be sent to the governor of the state of California, to the members of the California State Legislature, and to the members and Executive Officer of the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-16

RSA OIB Regulations
Resolution 2015-16
 
Whereas, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) administers the more than $32 million national Independent Living Services to Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) program established under Title VII, Chapter 2 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and
 
Whereas, RSA makes OIB funding available to state vocational rehabilitation agencies who in turn can contract with a variety of private entities to deliver independent living services to clients; and
 
Whereas, on the whole, organizations which specialize in providing rehabilitation services to the blind and visually impaired community can best provide the specialized independent living services to persons served under the OIB program; and
 
Whereas, RSA does not require state agencies to give priority to private organizations specializing in services to clients who are blind or visually impaired when such state agencies contract with third parties to deliver OIB services; and
 
Whereas, this lack of a mandatory priority is resulting in OIB contracts being awarded to third parties, such as independent living centers, which rarely possess the commitment and expertise to provide OIB services competently and thoroughly;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization strongly urge the Rehabilitation Services Administration to adopt regulations that establish clear and unequivocal requirements for the training of personnel who will be permitted to provide services under the OIB program; and
 
Be it further resolved that the RSA instruct state agencies to provide funding only to those private agencies whose personnel meet the standards articulated in such regulations.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-17

Social Security
Resolution 2015-17
 
Whereas, the American Council of the Blind has long been on record as supporting the position that the Social Security Disability substantial gainful earnings cliff should be replaced with a gradual earnings slope, whereby Social Security Disability benefits would be reduced on a formula of one dollar of Social Security Disability benefits subtracted for every two dollars earned by a beneficiary, above and beyond the substantial gainful activity levels; and
 
Whereas, this issue has received little legislative attention during the past several years but is now emerging in Congress; and
 
Whereas, anticipated deficits in the Social Security Disability Trust Fund will likely dictate that changes in benefits provisions may be required;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization renew its support for the replacement of the Social Security substantial gainful earnings cliff with a one-dollar reduction in benefits for every two dollars earned formula; and
 
Be it further resolved that the two-for-one formula should only be applied to earnings that exceed the existing or future substantial gainful activity thresholds.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-18

Thanks to the Sheraton Dallas Hotel
Resolution 2015-18
 
Whereas, it is appropriate 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 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization communicate its deep gratitude to the management and staff of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel for their warm welcome, hard work and hospitality.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-19

Thanks to the Texas Host Committee
Resolution 2015-19
 
Whereas, the strength of the American Council of the Blind lies in each of its individual 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 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, 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 Texas for their enthusiastic welcome, the untold hours of planning and hard work, and the tremendous privilege of bringing our national conference and convention to their home state, where the stars do truly shine bright!
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary

Resolution 2015-20

Thanks to the Volunteers
Resolution 2015-20
 
Whereas, there is no greater gift to give than service to others freely given with a generous heart;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, 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; you are our shining stars!
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary