2009 Resolutions

American Council of the Blind
2009 Resolutions

2200 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: (202) 467-5081
1-800-424-8666
Fax: (202) 467-5085
Website: http://www.acb.org
E-mail: info@acb.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Summary of 2009 Resolutions
Resolution 2009-01
Resolution 2009-04
Resolution 2009-05
Resolution 2009-06
Resolution 2009-07
Resolution 2009-08
Resolution 2009-09
Resolution 2009-11
Resolution 2009-13
Resolution 2009-14
Resolution 2009-15
Resolution 2009-16
Resolution 2009-18
Resolution 2009-19
Resolution 2009-21
Resolution 2009-22
Resolution 2009-23
Resolution 2009-24

Summary of 2009 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 Resolutions which were referred to other ACB entities for further consideration, tabled or withdrawn are not included in this document.

Resolution 2009-01 instructs ACB to urge Congress and the President of the United States to promptly enact H.R. 734 and S. 841, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. It also instructs the officers, directors, and staff to contact their representatives as a matter of priority so as to advance the passage of this crucial legislation, and directs the affiliates and members of ACB to add their efforts to this critical endeavor immediately.

Resolution 2009-04 directs this organization to convey to Apple our appreciation of the work that has made the release of an accessible iPhone possible, and instructs ACB to work to provide the Apple Corporation with feedback concerning what works well and what does not work well in the current model and will work to help improve each subsequent release.

Resolution 2009-05 directs ACB to urge all manufacturers of insulin pumps to immediately develop and produce accessible (talking and tactile) insulin pumps. It also urges the manufacturers to seek input from ACB and its affiliate, Diabetics in Action, to assist them with this process.

Resolution 2009-06 directs ACB to call on Congress to incorporate language to eliminate the foregoing list of health care disparities in its proposed health care reform legislation, and states that a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and each member of the United States Congress.

Resolution 2009-07 expresses ACB's strong support of H.R. 571, sponsored by Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), and will use its best efforts to secure its passage, and urges its affiliates to work for its passage.

Resolution 2009-08 instructs ACB officers, directors and staff to petition the U.S. Access Board for research to be undertaken into how people can wayfind successfully through a shared space with the removal of traffic separation elements and to integrate the findings into the upcoming Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines, andencourages affiliates of ACB and their local chapters, when working with local authorities, to remind these authorities of their obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act not to create town centers and streets that have barriers to the free and independent movement of disabled people, and to recognize the importance of providing a ‘safe space’ for pedestrians in all street environments. It also calls upon all traffic planning entities to issue clear guidance to their designers, engineers and planners that, until issues concerning the safety of blind, visually impaired, and other disabled pedestrians can be resolved, the removal of clear lines of demarcation between pedestrian ways and vehicle ways is not to be permitted. And it directs the Environmental Access Committee to develop a white paper expressing concerns about the use of the shared space concept, and incorporates research findings referred to in this resolution.

Resolution 2009-09 expresses ACB's committment to the enactment of comprehensive federal telecommunications and video programming legislation meeting the needs of people with disabilities, especially the unique needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. To be truly comprehensive, such federal legislation must, at a minimum, expressly address the following public policy objectives: full accessibility of the user interfaces employed by telecommunications and video programming devices through navigable audible menu prompts and readily identifiable and manipulable user controls; accessibility of text messaging, e-mail, and Internet access services available through wireless and other telecommunications devices; restoration, and authority for dramatic expansion, of requirements for the description of video programming and access to emergency information; and wider availability of communications devices meeting the unique needs of people who are deaf-blind through equipment distribution made possible under the federal universal service fund. ACB expects of its coalition partners, as a condition of ACB’s continued participation in such coalition, their unwavering commitment to the inclusion and retention of provisions accomplishing the objectives described above in any legislation, comprehensive or otherwise, that such coalition may propose or endorse.

Resolution 2009-11 directs ACB and its special-interest affiliate, Friends-in-Art, to request that Native Instruments, and where appropriate, other developers and manufacturers of music and sound-related software, work with blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers, including representatives of the American Council of the Blind, the ACB information access committee and Friends-in-Art, to arrive at, and implement, a solution to ensure that blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers are able to fully and independently use software products to enhance their practice of the musical arts, and in order to maintain competitiveness in the ever-changing music business. It also instructs the president of the American Council of the Blind to correspond with principals at Native Instruments, and subsequently other software providers as appropriate, to introduce the concerns expressed in this resolution, and offering assistance as outlined herein.

Resolution 2009-13 directs ACB to strongly urge the Director of the National Park Service to develop policy directives for dissemination to park superintendents to ensure that the access needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired are met. It also instructs ACB to seek additional funding from the United States Congress to accomplish the goals set forth in this resolution.

Resolution 2009-14 directs ACB to urge colleges and universities to make accessibility a primary consideration when making decisions about which software to purchase to manage distance learning. It also urges all colleges and universities who are currently utilizing Blackboard Learning Management Systems which are inaccessible to replace this software with distance learning tools which will work with screen readers and screen magnification, and directs that copies of correspondence sent to universities, including a copy of this resolution, shall be forwarded to the developers of Blackboard Learning Management Systems.

Resolution 2009-15 directs ACB to strongly urge the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to commit to responding to complaints, at a maximum within one year of their receipt. It also instructs the president of this organization to try to arrange a meeting with officials at the Department of Justice, and to convey this resolution to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

Resolution 2009-16 affirms ACB's membership in the Reading Rights Coalition, and states that ACB regards this issue as of paramount importance. It directs that the membership be kept fully informed about developments in this matter as they occur, and requests a full report on progress that is being made to be provided at the mid-year presidents' meeting and at next year's convention. It notes that ACB expects representatives of the Reading Rights Coalition be invited to speak to the whole convention next year if this matter is not entirely settled.

Resolution 2009-18 directs ACB to call upon the Board of Directors to work in collaboration with the Audio Description Project to develop and implement a plan that will address these and other problems that are limiting the acceptance and effective utilization of this technology. It requests that WGBH personnel who initially developed this technology and leaders of movie chains who have agreed to deploy it be actively involved in the process of implementing this plan to make MoPix more effective and valued.

It directs all parties to work to assure that the transition to digital systems in theaters continues to encourage and expand the availability of audio description for movies that are to be shown in theaters. It also instructs ACB to commit to collaborate with elements of the government, movie producers and distributors and developers of digital technology in an ongoing effort to assure that the movies being described for use in theaters can be made available on DVD discs or via download for people who are blind but cannot access movies in theaters.

Resolution 2009-19 directs that ACB reject absolutely all of the specious assertions that are brought forward to justify the destruction of schools for the blind which are vital to the capacity of this country to continue to offer blind children an appropriate, free, public education. It instructs ACB to work cooperatively with the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB), the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) to create a set of specific recommendations which all of the organizations will commit to implementing. These shall include strategies for publicizing the value of schools for the blind, the creation of state caucuses of legislators focused specifically on issues of relevance to people who are blind and visually impaired, training programs that can be utilized to educate stakeholders as advocates, and such other approaches as this coalition of organizations may deem appropriate. Resolution 2009-20 conveys ACB's deep appreciation for the many thousands of talking books that have been produced over the years, and requests that the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Library Service work to see if there is any opportunity that can allow a talking book program to continue to operate in New York City or its environs even after the AFB closes its talking book department.

Resolution 2009-21 expresses that ACB deeply regrets the decision taken by Florida State University and other colleges and universities to eliminate programs or parts of programs intended to provide specialized training which is now becoming more and more difficult to find. It instructs the organization to ask the Department of Education to work cooperatively with colleges and universities throughout the country to create or expand programs that will assure that teachers who must work with blind and visually impaired children can receive the specialized training they need to provide effective instruction in orientation and mobility, braille, listening skills, home and personal management and access technology, without which such children will not be able to access a free and appropriate public education. It also encourages ACB to work with the American Foundation for the Blind and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired to develop and implement specific proposals which shall be submitted to appropriate authorities. At a minimum, such proposals shall include the development of priority funding for teacher preparation, stipends that will support students training as vision teachers, and the strengthening of regulations at the federal and state levels which will preclude the retention of out-of-field teachers who do not receive specialized credentialing within three years of the date they are hired.

Resolution 2009-22 thanks the Rosen Center Hotel for the services and accommodations it provided to ACB members and staff during convention week.

Resolution 2009-23 thanks and commends the host committee for all its work on the convention.

Resolution 2009-24 thanks all the volunteers who worked to assist ACB convention attendees.

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

Quiet Cars (H.R. 734 and S. 841)
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-01

Summary:

1. This organization urges Congress and the President of the United States to promptly enact H.R. 734 and S. 841, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.

2. The officers, directors, and staff of this organization are hereby instructed to contact their representatives as a matter of priority so as to advance the passage of this crucial legislation.

3. The affiliates and members of ACB are strongly urged to immediately add their efforts to this critical endeavor.

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has long expressed, through resolutions and contacts with elected officials made by both its members and staff, extreme concern about the safety of blind, visually impaired, and other pedestrians in light of the increasing prevalence of hybrid, electric, and other environmentally friendly, quiet vehicles; and

WHEREAS, concerns about the environment, our nation's increasing dependence on foreign oil, and resulting escalation of prices, along with diminishing supplies of petroleum products, make it clear that increased development and use of such quiet car technologies will and must continue to advance; and

WHEREAS, to insure that pedestrians, and particularly those who are blind and visually impaired, are aware of the presence of vehicles in the environment, such persons need to be able to detect the presence of traffic audibly, and need to be aware of these vehicles when they are both in moving and idling phases; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 734 and S. 841, The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, has been introduced respectively in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, would work towards insuring the safety of pedestrians who, for various reasons, do not see a vehicle approaching and are placed at risk for injury or even death; and

WHEREAS, this legislation establishes a specific structure of timelines for research and action steps to address the serious pedestrian hazard created by quiet cars, and is based on proposals drafted by ACB

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 7th day of July, 2009, that this organization urges Congress and the President of the United States to promptly enact H.R. 734 and S. 841, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the officers, directors, and staff of this organization are hereby instructed to contact their representatives as a matter of priority so as to advance the passage of this crucial legislation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the affiliates and members of ACB are strongly urged to immediately add their efforts to this critical endeavor.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Regarding iPhones
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-04

Summary:

1. This organization wishes to convey to Apple our appreciation of the work that has made the release of an accessible iPhone possible.

2. This organization will work to provide the Apple Corporation with feedback concerning what works well and what does not work well in the current model and will work to help improve each subsequent release.

WHEREAS, Resolution 07-27, passed in 2007, excoriated Apple for releasing the iPhone because that device was totally unusable by people who are blind; and

WHEREAS, since the publication of that resolution, Apple has released the 3GS iPhone which incorporates access through speech and screen magnification; and

WHEREAS, the approach that has been taken to accessibility constitutes an interface unlike any other that has hitherto been available and includes approaches that involve gestures and other unusual approaches to the operation of the device;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009 that this organization wishes to convey to Apple our appreciation of the work that has made the release of an accessible iPhone possible; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization will work to provide the Apple Corporation with feedback concerning what works well and what does not work well in the current model and will work to help improve each subsequent release.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Insulin Pumps
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-05

Summary:

1. This organization urge all manufacturers of insulin pumps to immediately develop and produce accessible (talking and tactile) insulin pumps.

2. Such manufacturers are strongly urged to seek input from the American Council of the Blind and its affiliate, Diabetics in Action, to assist them with this process.

WHEREAS, nearly all type 1 diabetics, and many type 2 diabetics, need to take insulin in order to maintain adequate glucose control; and

WHEREAS, many blind and low-vision diabetics can benefit from the use of an insulin pump in order to achieve a greater degree of control than they receive through the use of injections; and

WHEREAS, diabetics who are blind or visually impaired cannot independently use insulin pumps due to a lack of accessibility; and

WHEREAS, diabetics with visual impairments were unable to independently monitor their blood sugar until the advent of talking glucose meters; and

WHEREAS, significant improvements in technology have made it feasible to produce a fully accessible insulin pump; and

WHEREAS, accessible insulin pumps are not readily available because manufacturers have failed to incorporate accessibility into the equipment they design;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 9th day of July, 2009, that this organization urge all manufacturers of insulin pumps to immediately develop and produce accessible (talking and tactile) insulin pumps; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such manufacturers are strongly urged to seek input from the American Council of the Blind and its affiliate, Diabetics in Action, to assist them with this process.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Health Care Reform
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-06

Summary:

1. This organization calls on Congress to incorporate language to eliminate the foregoing list of health care disparities in its proposed health care reform legislation.

2. A copy of this resolution shall be sent to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and each member of the United States Congress.

WHEREAS, the Congress of the United States is considering legislation that would enact sweeping reforms to the American system of health care; and

WHEREAS, this organization has consistently advocated that laws concerning the health care delivery system adequately meet the special needs of those with visual impairments, including advocacy efforts during this current health care reform process; and

WHEREAS, in addition to other shortcomings, the current health care system does not adequately provide for the needs of blind and visually impaired Americans in areas such as the accessibility of prescription information, the accessibility of durable medical equipment, the recognition of and equitable reimbursement for the services of blindness rehabilitation professionals, including orientation and mobility specialists and rehabilitation teachers, the training of sufficient numbers of blindness rehabilitation professionals, and the equitable inclusion of ocular prostheses and optical, audible and tactile rehabilitative technology for people who are blind and visually impaired in the lists of products covered by health insurance policies; and

WHEREAS, removing the foregoing list of health care disparities would greatly improve the health outcomes, employability and quality of life for Americans who experience sight loss; and

WHEREAS, if this effort at health care reform is successful and the concerns of those who are blind or visually impaired are not addressed, it may well be extremely difficult to have these issues addressed for many years to come;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization call on Congress to incorporate language to eliminate the foregoing list of health care disparities in its proposed health care reform legislation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and each member of the United States Congress.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Vehicle Donation
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-07

Summary:

1. This organization strongly supports H.R. 571, sponsored by Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), and will use its best efforts to secure its passage.

2. This organization urges its affiliates to work for its passage.

WHEREAS, both the American Council of the Blind and many of its affiliates rely, to a lesser or greater degree, on revenues derived from vehicle donations; and

WHEREAS, legislation enacted in 2004 reduced the tax deduction that can be claimed by a vehicle donor from the amount of the book value of the vehicle to the amount for which it was sold at auction; and

WHEREAS, this legislation has resulted in a precipitous decrease in vehicle donations and a concomitant loss in revenue for charities throughout the nation, and specifically for the American Council of the Blind and its affiliates; and

WHEREAS, this decreased revenue has had a profoundly negative impact on the services that ACB and its affiliates can deliver; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 571, sponsored by Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) has been introduced in order to undo this inequitable treatment of vehicle donations;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in conventmon assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 7th day of July, 2009, that this organization strongly support H.R. 571 and use its best efforts to secure its passage; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge its affiliates to work for its passage.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Shared Spaces
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-08

Summary:

1. This organization instructs its officers, directors and staff to petition the U.S. Access Board for research to be undertaken into how people can wayfind successfully through a shared space with the removal of traffic separation elements and to integrate the findings into the upcoming Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines.

2. Encourages affiliates of ACB and their local chapters, when working with local authorities, to remind these authorities of their obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act not to create town centers and streets that have barriers to the free and independent movement of disabled people, and to recognize the importance of providing a ‘safe space’ for pedestrians in all street environments.

3. Calls upon all traffic planning entities to issue clear guidance to their designers, engineers and planners that, until issues concerning the safety of blind, visually impaired, and other disabled pedestrians can be resolved, the removal of clear lines of demarcation between pedestrian ways and vehicle ways is not to be permitted.

4. Directs the Environmental Access Committee to develop a white paper expressing concerns about the use of the shared space concept, and incorporates research findings referred to in this resolution.

WHEREAS, the concept of shared spaces originated in Europe over 30 years ago and has recently found its way to the United States; and

WHEREAS, the aim of this traffic calming concept is to eliminate the separation between pedestrian and vehicular areas, and force vehicle drivers to slow and pay attention to pedestrian and cyclist traffic; and

WHEREAS, this is allegedly accomplished by psychological traffic calming through the removal of curbs, sidewalks, signs, markings and other traffic control devices to create a seamless multi-purpose urban space; and

WHEREAS, planners and engineers claim that the resulting uncertainty slows cars and is safer for pedestrians; and

WHEREAS, the concept, whether accurate or not, is that, without any clear right-of-way, motorists are forced to slow down to safer speeds, make eye contact with pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers, and decide among themselves when it is safe to proceed; and

WHEREAS, United States planners, engineers and pedestrian advocates are experimenting with the shared space concept in many places such as West Palm Beach, Portland and Seattle, hoping to obtain the safety and livability benefits for non-motorized users that characterize many older European cities, and

WHEREAS, the sidewalk curb edge, or any detectable line of demarcation, which is fundamental to the mobility of persons who are blind or visually impaired, is largely removed in shared space designs; and

WHEREAS, such removal exposes blind and visually impaired pedestrians to greater risk, can undermine their confidence, and thus creates a barrier to their independent and safe mobility; and

WHEREAS, the United Kingdom (UK) Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA), a member of the Joint Committee on Mobility of Blind and Partially Sighted People, has undertaken research, “Shared Surface Street Design Research Project-The Issues: Report of Focus Groups,” September 2006, looking at the experiences of persons who are blind, visually impaired or disabled in shared space areas to assess the risks and impact that these schemes have on their ability to move independently and safely, and

WHEREAS, Eugene Lozano, California State University, Sacramento, has provided the American Council of the Blind Resolutions Committee and Environmental Access Committee with detailed information concerning the GDBA findings, as well as with other valuable research on possible solutions to the issue of shared spaces;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization instruct the officers, directors and staff to petition the U.S. Access Board for research to be undertaken into how people can wayfind successfully through a shared space with the removal of traffic separation elements and to integrate the findings into the upcoming Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that affiliates of ACB and their local chapters, when working with local authorities, are encouraged to remind these authorities of their obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act not to create town centers and streets that have barriers to the free and independent movement of disabled people, and to recognize the importance of providing a ‘safe space’ for pedestrians in all street environments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization calls upon all traffic planning entities to issue clear guidance to their designers, engineers and planners that, until issues concerning the safety of blind, visually impaired, and other disabled pedestrians can be resolved, the removal of clear lines of demarcation between pedestrian ways and vehicle ways is not to be permitted; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization directs its Environmental Access Committee to develop a white paper expressing concerns about the use of the shared space concept, and incorporates research findings referred to in this resolution.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Video Accessibility and H.R. 3101
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-09

Summary:

1. This organization is committed to the enactment of comprehensive federal telecommunications and video programming legislation meeting the needs of people with disabilities, especially the unique needs of people who are blind or visually impaired.

2. To be truly comprehensive, such federal legislation must, at a minimum, expressly address the following public policy objectives:

* Full accessibility of the user interfaces employed by telecommunications and video programming devices through navigable audible menu prompts and readily identifiable and manipulable user controls;

* Accessibility of text messaging, e-mail, and Internet access services available through wireless and other telecommunications devices;

* Restoration, and authority for dramatic expansion, of requirements for the description of video programming and access to emergency information; and

* Wider availability of communications devices meeting the unique needs of people who are deaf-blind through equipment distribution made possible under the federal universal service fund.

3. This organization expects of its coalition partners as a condition of ACB’s continued participation in such coalition, their unwavering commitment to the inclusion and retention of provisions accomplishing the objectives described above in any legislation, comprehensive or otherwise, that such coalition may propose or endorse.

WHEREAS, the transmission and receipt of text data with wireless and other telecommunications devices has become a primary, means of communication used in commerce, education, the workplace, and social interaction; and

WHEREAS, failure to immediately address the need for audible and other access to such text data-related communication will irreparably retard, if not irreversibly restrict, the equal and full participation of people with vision loss in school, work and community; and

WHEREAS, the very lives and well-being of people with vision loss are put at profound risk when emergency information is broadcast without an audible means whereby on-screen-displayed text and other information is made fully accessible; and

WHEREAS, in addition, modest requirements for video description of television programming were struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, resulting in a dramatic diminution in currently available described programming; and

WHEREAS, video programming devices, from televisions to digital video recorders to iPods, are increasingly incorporating inaccessible user interfaces which effectively lock out people with vision loss from the use and full enjoyment of such devices and the programming they offer; and

WHEREAS, people who are deaf-blind may need expensive and often hard to find technology to enable them to engage in even the most basic communication; and

WHEREAS, Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) recently introduced H.R. 3101, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, landmark legislation intended to ensure that people with disabilities, especially those with visual and hearing disabilities, are not left behind as new internet-related and other digital and video technologies proliferate; and

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind has endorsed H.R. 3101 and is working shoulder to shoulder with our partners to pass the array of important provisions contained therein that significantly benefit the blindness, deafness, and other communities; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 8th day of July, 2009, that this organization is committed to the enactment of comprehensive federal telecommunications and video programming legislation meeting the needs of people with disabilities, especially the unique needs of people who are blind or visually impaired; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, to be truly comprehensive, such federal legislation must, at a minimum, expressly address the following public policy objectives:

* Full accessibility of the user interfaces employed by telecommunications and video programming devices through navigable audible menu prompts and readily identifiable and manipulable user controls;

* Accessibility of text messaging, e-mail, and Internet access services available through wireless and other telecommunications devices;

* Restoration, and authority for dramatic expansion, of requirements for the description of video programming and access to emergency information; and

* Wider availability of communications devices meeting the unique needs of people who are deaf-blind through equipment distribution made possible under the federal universal service fund; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization expects of its coalition partners as a condition of ACB’s continued participation in such coalition, their unwavering commitment to the inclusion and retention of provisions accomplishing the objectives described above in any legislation, comprehensive or otherwise, that such coalition may propose or endorse.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Native Instruments
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-11

Summary:

1. This organization, along with its special-interest affiliate, Friends-in-Art, requests that Native Instruments, and where appropriate, other developers and manufacturers of music and sound-related software, work with blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers, including representatives of the American Council of the Blind, the ACB information access committee and Friends-in-Art, to arrive at, and implement, a solution to ensure that blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers are able to fully and independently use software products to enhance their practice of the musical arts, and in order to maintain competitiveness in the ever-changing music business.

2. The president of the American Council of the Blind correspond with principals at Native Instruments, and subsequently other software providers as appropriate, to introduce the concerns expressed in this resolution, and offering assistance as outlined herein.

WHEREAS, Native Instruments is a producer of much used and highly respected software for the amateur and professional musician; and

WHEREAS, some of the Native Instruments products host what are called sample libraries; and

WHEREAS, these constantly changing libraries include collections of high-end musical sounds: strings, brass, electronic, etc., and other samplings; and

WHEREAS, the interfaces for these sounds are invisible to screen readers used by musicians and audio engineers who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, as a consequence of this lack of access is that blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers require sighted assistance to set up and use Native Instruments products; and

WHEREAS, as a result, blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers, are at a competitive disadvantage with sighted professionals; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that all developers of music and sound-related software take achievable steps to ensure that their products are accessible to, and fully usable by, musicians and audio engineers who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, consultative efforts provided by the American Council of the Blind, and its special-interest affiliate, Friends-in-Art, have resulted in allowing other music and sound-related software companies to make their products accessible to musicians and audio engineers who are blind or visually impaired, with minimal research and development costs;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization, along with its special-interest affiliate, Friends-in-Art, request that Native Instruments, and where appropriate, other developers and manufacturers of music and sound-related software, work with blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers, including representatives of the American Council of the Blind, the ACB information access committee and Friends-in-Art, to arrive at, and implement, a solution to ensure that blind and visually impaired musicians and audio engineers are able to fully and independently use software products to enhance their practice of the musical arts, and in order to maintain competitiveness in the ever-changing music business; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of the American Council of the Blind correspond with principals at Native Instruments, and subsequently other software providers as appropriate, to introduce the concerns expressed in this resolution, and offering assistance as outlined herein.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

National Parks
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-13

Summary:

1. This organization strongly urges the Director of the National Park Service to develop policy directives for dissemination to park superintendents to ensure that the access needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired are met.

2. This organization seeks additional funding from the United States Congress to accomplish the goals set forth in this resolution.

WHEREAS, the national parks represent an important source of education and enjoyment to all segments of society, including people who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, efforts to provide access to national parks have primarily focused on the needs of people with mobility impairments; and

WHEREAS, there are significant gaps in national parks' accessibility such as signage, audio description of films, labeling of exhibits, and lighting in indoor venues; and

WHEREAS, advocacy efforts for better access have met with limited success; and

WHEREAS, it remains necessary for the National Park Service to update its policies and design guidelines regarding accessibility;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization strongly urge the director of the National Park Service to develop policy directives for dissemination to park superintendents to ensure that the access needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired are met; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization seek additional funding from the United States Congress to accomplish the goals set forth in this resolution.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Distance Learning
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-14

Summary:

1. This organization urges colleges and universities to make accessibility a primary consideration when making decisions about which software to purchase to manage distance learning.

2. All colleges and universities who are currently utilizing Blackboard Learning Management Systems which are inaccessible are hereby urged to replace this software with distance learning tools which will work with screen readers and screen magnification.

3. Copies of correspondence sent to universities, including a copy of this resolution, shall be forwarded to the developers of Blackboard Learning Management Systems.

WHEREAS, a large majority of colleges and universities are offering distance learning courses as part of their approach to education; and

WHEREAS, this method of completing course work represents a potentially effective approach to education for students who are blind or visually impaired; and

WHEREAS, the Blackboard Learning Management System is being adopted by many post-secondary institutions; and

WHEREAS, many of the specific learning components of this system are not accessible to students or teachers who are using screen readers or screen magnification; and

WHEREAS, the blatant inaccessibility of the system prevents such students from achieving an appropriate education and deprives visually impaired teachers of opportunities for employment;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization urge colleges and universities to make accessibility a primary consideration when making decisions about which software to purchase to manage distance learning; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all colleges and universities who are currently utilizing Blackboard Learning Management Systems which are inaccessible are hereby urged to replace this software with distance learning tools which will work with screen readers and screen magnification; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the officers, directors and staff of this organization are instructed to communicate our extreme displeasure with the fact that among those utilizing inaccessible software are programs that prepare students to teach children who are blind or visually impaired; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of this organization is instructed to write to a sample of the colleges whose faculty are using software that is inaccessible and take all steps necessary including legal action if the system is not either changed or replaced with a distance learning system that is accessible to and usable by students and teachers who use screen readers and screen magnifiers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of correspondence sent to universities, and including a copy of this resolution, be forwarded to the developers of Blackboard Learning Management Systems.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Department of Justice
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-15

Summary:

1. This organization strongly urges the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to commit to responding to complaints, at a maximum within one year of their receipt.

2. The president of this organization will endeavor to arrange a meeting with officials at the Department of Justice.

3. The president of this organization is hereby instructed to convey this resolution to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act is, for the most part, complaint-driven; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Justice has repeatedly indicated that people who are blind do not file enough civil rights complaints; and

WHEREAS, in spite of these assertions, when complaints are filed, they languish for years with no action taken;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization strongly urge the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to commit to responding to complaints, at a maximum within one year of their receipt; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of this organization endeavor to arrange a meeting with officials at the Department of Justice; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of this organization is hereby instructed to convey this resolution to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Regarding the Kindle 2 Reader
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-16
Submitted by: Penny Reeder

Summary:

1. This organization affirms its membership in the Reading Rights Coalition.

2. This organization clearly and emphatically regards this issue as of paramount importance.

3. The membership wishes to be kept fully informed about developments in this matter as they occur and that the membership expects a full report on progress that is being made to be provided at the mid-year presidents' meeting and at next year's convention.

4. We expect that representatives of the Reading Rights Coalition be invited to speak to the whole convention next year if this matter is not entirely settled.

WHEREAS, in the past, people who are blind or otherwise print-disabled have had relatively few choices in terms of the books which they could obtain; andWHEREAS, with the release of the Kindle 2 reading device, both large print and text-to-speech audio are built in; andWHEREAS, this would potentially allow people who are blind or otherwise print-disabled to access the over 200,000 books that have already been made Kindle compatible; and

WHEREAS, elements of the device are also inaccessible; and

WHEREAS, a coalition of disability organizations has come together to demand that all available books and an appropriate user interface be made available for the Kindle 2; and

WHEREAS, publishers and authors are now claiming that the text-to-speech option constitutes an audio book which should not be available on the Kindle 2 unless specific royalties are paid to authors; and

WHEREAS, in addition, a range of periodicals is also being published;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization clearly and emphatically regards this issue as of paramount importance; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the membership wishes to be kept fully informed about developments in this matter as they occur and that the membership expects a full report on progress that is being made to be provided at the mid-year presidents' meeting and at next year's convention; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we expect that representatives of the Reading Rights Coalition be invited to speak to the whole convention next year if this matter is not entirely settled.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Closures of Schools for the Blind
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-19
Submitted by: Brian Charlson

Summary:

1. This organization rejects absolutely all of the specious assertions that are brought forward to justify the destruction of schools for the blind which are vital to the capacity of this country to continue to offer blind children an appropriate, free, public education.

2. This organization shall work cooperatively with the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB), the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) to create a set of specific recommendations which all of the organizations will commit to implementing.

3. These shall include strategies for publicizing the value of schools for the blind, the creation of state caucuses of legislators focused specifically on issues of relevance to people who are blind and visually impaired, training programs that can be utilized to educate stakeholders as advocates, and such other approaches as this coalition of organizations may deem appropriate.

WHEREAS, Oregon, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana, and Kansas, among others, have all experienced threats to the ongoing viability of existing schools for the blind; and

WHEREAS, in Oregon this has led to the closure of their school; and

WHEREAS schools for the blind constitute extremely valuable options for blind students in the continuum of educational services mandated by law; and

WHEREAS many schools for the blind operate outreach programs which make services available to students who are not directly enrolled in the school for the blind which significantly impact the quality of education available to mainstreamed blind children; and

WHEREAS, evidence clearly demonstrates that the short-run savings achieved with school closure are outweighed by increasing costs of delivering services for a low incidence population in each tiny school district; and

WHEREAS, there is increasing evidence that the total inclusion model does not integrate children but rather isolates them; and

WHEREAS, many school districts are utilizing teacher aides instead of qualified and specially trained vision teachers to deliver instruction in blindness-related areas such as home management, braille, listening skills and access technology;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization reject absolutely all of the specious assertions that are brought forward to justify the destruction of schools for the blind which are vital to the capacity of this country to continue to offer blind children an appropriate, free, public education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization shall work cooperatively with the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB), the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) to create a set of specific recommendations which all of the organizations will commit to implementing; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these shall include strategies for publicizing the value of schools for the blind, the creation of state caucuses of legislators focused specifically on issues of relevance to people who are blind and visually impaired, training programs that can be utilized to educate stakeholders as advocates, and such other approaches as this coalition of organizations may deem appropriate.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Talking Books
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-20

Summary:

1. This organization wishes to convey our deep appreciation for the many thousands of talking books that have been produced over the years.

2. This organization requests that the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Library Service to work to see if there is any opportunity that can allow a talking book program to continue to operate in New York City or its environs even after the AFB closes its talking book department.

WHEREAS, since 1934 the American Foundation for the Blind has produced talking books for people who are blind or otherwise print-disabled; and

WHEREAS, narrators have provided untold hours of pleasure to untold thousands of readers over the past 75 years; and

WHEREAS, the American Foundation for the Blind, because of a complex financial situation, has determined that it has no choice but to close its recording facility and end its involvement in the production of talking books;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization wishes to convey our deep appreciation for the many thousands of talking books that have been produced over the years; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization request that the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Library Service to work to see if there is any opportunity that can allow a talking book program to continue to operate in New York City or its environs even after the AFB closes its talking book department.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Teacher Preparation
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-21

Summary:

1. This organization deeply regrets the decision taken by Florida State University and other colleges and universities to eliminate progams or parts of programs intended to provide specialized training which is now becoming more and more difficult to find.

2. This organization asks the Department of Education to work cooperatively with colleges and universities throughout the country to create or expand programs that will assure that teachers who must work with blind and visually impaired children can receive the specialized training they need to provide effective instruction in orientation and mobility, braille, listening skills, home and personal management and access technology, without which such children will not be able to access a free and appropriate public education.

3. The American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired are hereby encouraged to work collaboratively to develop and implement specific proposals which shall be submitted to appropriate authorities.

4. At a minimum, such proposals shall include the development of priority funding for teacher preparation, stipends that will support students training as vision teachers, and the strengthening of regulations at the federal and state levels which will preclude the retention of out-of-field teachers who do not receive specialized credentialing within three years of the date they are hired.

WHEREAS, Florida State University chose to eliminate significant elements of its vision training programs earlier this spring and this constitutes one of several program closures over the past few years, including a significant reduction of the program at Portland State University; and

WHEREAS, there is already a huge shortage of teachers specifically trained to serve children who are blind or visually impaired in our school systems throughout the country; and

WHEREAS, over the next few years, many of the qualified vision teachers will reach retirement age and will cease to be available as teachers of visually impaired children; and

WHEREAS, this eventuality constitutes an exacerbation of an already intractable problem;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization deeply regrets the decision taken by Florida State University and other colleges and universities to eliminate progams or parts of programs intended to provide speialized training which is now becoming more and more difficult to find; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization asks the Department of Education to work cooperatively with colleges and universities throughout the country to create or expand programs that will assure that teachers who must work with blind and visually impaired children can receive the specialized training they need to provide effective instruction in orientation and mobility, braille, listening skills, home and personal management and access technology without which such children will not be able to access a free and appropriate public education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired are hereby encouraged to work collaboratively to develop and implement specific proposals which shall be submitted to appropriate authorities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, at a minimum, such proposals shall include the development of priority funding for teacher preparation, stipends that will support students training as vision teachers, and the strengthening of regulations at the federal and state levels which will preclude the retention of out-of-field teachers who do not receive specialized credentialing within three years of the date they are hired.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Commendation of the Hotel
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-22

WHEREAS the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., has provided essential services and important accommodations to the members of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) attending its 2009 convention; and

WHEREAS, the staff of the Rosen Center has been friendly and helpful; and

WHEREAS, the success of a convention is dependent upon the quality of the services provided by the hotel;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization express its thanks and appreciation for the services and accommodations provided to its members and its staff.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Commendation of Florida Council of the Blind
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-23

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

WHEREAS, the host committee and ACB members in the Florida Council of the Blind have met every challenge in hosting the 2009 ACB national convention in Orlando, Florida and have welcomed and assisted ACB members in a friendly, helpful, and grand fashion;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization wholeheartedly thank and commend the host committee for its fine work.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085

 

Commending Volunteers
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2009-24

WHEREAS, volunteers, under the most able stewardship of Volunteer Coordinator Margarine Beaman, have provided superb services in all ways to attendees of the 2009 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on the 10th day of July, 2009, that this organization warmly and most sincerely express its appreciation to all volunteers who worked to assist the attendees of the 2009 ACB convention; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization request yet one more accommodation from Ms. Beaman, that being to assist in communicating this resolution, or its sense, to all volunteers.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary