2018 Resolutions

Table of Contents

Summary of 2018 Resolutions

The following are brief summaries of the resolutions adopted by the ACB membership at the 2018 conference and convention held at the Union Station Hotel in July. One resolution was referred to ACB’s advocacy services committee. It is not included in this compilation. Please note that these summary statements are not the authoritative voice of the ACB membership; they 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 www.acb.org.

Resolution 2018-01 directs ACB to strongly urge all developers of antivirus and anti-malware programs to ensure that their software is designed to be fully accessible to and usable by people who are blind or visually impaired in accordance with appropriate technical accessibility standards.

Resolution 2018-02 instructs members of ACB’s state affiliates to request their state to immediately take all necessary steps to ensure equal access to absentee and vote by mail balloting in every state; directs the organization to strongly encourage election officials in every state to comply with all state and federal laws which require equal access to ballots and voting by directing all counties to deploy an accessible vote-by-mail (AVBM) solution within six months of such a system being approved by that state; and that ACB encourage each state’s Division of Elections or equivalent to assist local jurisdictions to acquire a single, centralized, uniform AVBM system that state officials would help to develop.

Resolution 2018-03 directs ACB to take all steps necessary to obtain the recognition that electronic polling books or voter verification systems should be accessible to persons who are blind or have low vision and for the adoption of a requirement that every jurisdiction must implement an accessible voter verification system.

Resolution 2018-04 tells ACB to encourage both newly prepared and experienced teachers of the visually impaired to pursue continuing education and/or professional development opportunities and training to keep abreast of the ever-changing body of knowledge and practices concerning neurological visual impairment in order to effectively meet the unique needs of children with CVI. It instructs ACB to urge the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and state and local educational agencies to protect the integrity of assessments conducted by TVIs, both by rejecting calls that expressly or implicitly require the use of any single specific assessment tool or technique with specific populations of students with visual impairments, and by refusing to impose specifically branded in-service training requirements on state-licensed TVIs who are prepared in accordance with nationally recognized TVI standards (i.e., the Council for Exceptional Children and Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) as a precondition for such TVIs’ provision of special education to children with CVI or any other students with visual impairments. And it renews ACB’s call to Congress to promptly enact the Cogswell Macy Act, which would significantly increase investment in quantitative and qualitative research, allowing our field to identify evidence-based practices in assessment and instruction for children with CVI and all other students who are blind, have low vision, are deaf-blind, or who may also have additional disabilities.

Resolution 2018-05 directs ACB to review the 2018-2019 Common College Application for accessibility after its next release on August 1, 2018 and, if the application remains inaccessible after August 1, ACB shall use all appropriate resources and influence to pursue full accessibility of the Common College Application for the release scheduled for August 1, 2019.

Resolution 2018-06 congratulates The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Seattle, Wash., on providing 100 years of successful and innovative job opportunities for people who are blind, visually impaired, DeafBlind, and who may have additional disabilities.

Resolution 2018-08 directs ACB to advocate for the full accessibility of commercial and other advertising to ensure that on-screen information is communicated effectively to viewers with vision loss.

Resolution 2018-09 expresses the belief that Publix must do significantly more to create a standard of service in stores that is consistently appropriate; expresses ACB’s deep disappointment with the disregard to online accessibility demonstrated by Publix both on its website and through apps; directs ACB to urge Publix to develop and implement policies and procedures that will result in the deployment of accessible prescription labels allowing Publix to effectively monitor the effectiveness of this service; and instructs ACB to continue to work with Publix but expect a significant and substantial improvement in their attitude and approach to online, in-store, and prescription label access.

Resolution 2018-10 instructs the ACB national office to expand and further its relationships with U.S. air carriers, calling upon airlines to: ensure that development of any such policies is done in consultation with ACB, its affiliate Guide Dog Users, Inc., and other service animal advocates to assure that the long-standing commitment to full and equal inclusion of passengers with guide dogs is not compromised; and that the airlines commit to implement ongoing training with airline personnel in order to assure that the letter of the law protecting the rights of passengers with service animals not be impeded. It also directs ACB to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation as it undertakes regulatory proceedings to ensure that that the rights of passengers with legitimate, well-trained service animals not be negatively impacted by any changes to the service animal definition and subsequent relevant policies.

Resolution 2018-11 directs ACB to immediately call upon President Donald J. Trump to promptly deposit the Senate-approved Marrakesh Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization, and to urge the leadership and members of the U.S. House of Representatives to take up and pass S. 2559, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, so that the legislation can be transmitted as soon as possible to the White House for the President’s signature.

Resolution 2018-12 congratulates RSVA on its 50th birthday and reaffirms ACB’s commitment to support the right of blind vendors to receive priority to bid on military dining facilities.

Resolution 2018-13 directs ACB to encourage its state chapters to consider advocating for the establishment of a state legislative task force on paratransit services, which would include the following representation: legislators or their designees, local and regional entities that fund paratransit services, large and small fixed-route providers, and members and representatives of disability and senior advocacy organizations who are active paratransit users themselves; and directs the task force to identify and disseminate best practices on paratransit issues, including those set forth in this resolution.

Resolution 2018-14 instructs ACB to call upon the Department of Transportation to enforce laws and rules which prevent such accidents from occurring, and to strongly encourage local and state affiliates to work with transit districts to assure compliance with appropriate safety standards.

Resolution 2018-15 directs ACB to work with the FCC to require all broadcast and non-broadcast networks providing video description to establish a clear point of contact to address issues of quality and standards for video description.

Resolution 2018-16 instructs ACB, along with its affiliates Library Users of America and the Braille Revival League, strongly urge NLS to consider producing electronic braille books in greater numbers than those produced in hard copy; and commends NLS for beginning to work on creating different elements of braille output using document flow and we also urge that NLS consider developing a format for electronic braille not tied to the specifications that would apply to the production of hard-copy braille books.

Resolution 2018-17 directs ACB, and Library Users of America, to ask the Information Access Committee to join Library Users of America in reaching out to standard-setting bodies of the American Library Association and other entities deemed appropriate to advocate that these standards include accessibility components. Elements to be incorporated into standards should include accessibility of web sites, accessibility of electronic books available for loan, accessibility of computers that are available for patron use, specific outreach components for people who are blind or have low vision and periodic evaluation of accessibility compliance. It orders the Information Access Committee and Library Users of America to report to the 2019 ACB convention on what progress has been made to implement this resolution.

Resolution 2018-18 instructs ACB to strongly urge the Federal Communications Commission to exercise all appropriate authority to require the broadcast and non-broadcast networks to establish and/or join an automated digital listing of all available audio-described programming, and directs that the FCC monitor such listings on an ongoing basis for quality assurance and to ensure that such listings provide consumers of audio-described programming with a level of service equal to that provided today to consumers of closed-captioned television.

Resolution 2018-19 reiterates ACB’s ongoing assertion that an experience that is carefully and effectively described includes more information than can possibly be provided by an in-person guide, and directs ACB to urge the White House to take steps to reinstate the described tour as soon as possible.

Resolution 2018-20 directs ACB to continue its advocacy in support of net neutrality.

Resolution 2018-21 thanks the management and staff of the Union Station Hotel for their warm welcome, very hard work and hospitality.

Resolution 2018-22 expresses ACB’s heartfelt congratulations and thanks to this year’s convention host committee and the women and men of the Missouri Council of the Blind for their enthusiastic welcome, the untold hours of planning and hard work, and the tremendous privilege of bringing our national conference and convention to the “Show Me” state.

Resolution 2018-23 thanks each and every individual volunteer who so selflessly and graciously gave of their time and energy.

­Antivirus Software Accessibility

Resolution 2018-01

Whereas, access to information technology and the Internet have become critically important to people who are blind or visually impaired; and

Whereas, protection from Internet viruses and malware is essential to the safe and secure operation of computer systems; and

Whereas, many antivirus programs are inaccessible because of their use of interfaces and graphics which make them unusable by people who are blind or visually impaired;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 3rd day of July, 2018 at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization strongly urge all developers of antivirus and anti-malware programs to ensure that their software is designed to be fully accessible to and usable by people who are blind or visually impaired in accordance with appropriate technical accessibility standards.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Absentee Balloting

Resolution 2018-02

 

Whereas, in the United States of America, nearly one in four voters votes by mail; and  

Whereas, all voters with and without disabilities have the legal right to vote by mail; and

Whereas, many voters with disabilities lack adequate transportation, skills, or the ability to leave their homes and travel to polling places to vote on accessible voting machines; and

Whereas, voters that cannot see, hold, or mark a ballot due to a disability are the only voters in the United States that must go to an actual polling place if they want to vote privately and independently; and 

Whereas, federal and state law requires equal access to the ballot and voting experience, including the right to a private and independent verifiable mail ballot; and 

Whereas, numerous states and localities around the U.S. have already deployed an accessible alternative to paper absentee and “vote by mail” ballots, and at least two states have already officially certified accessible absentee and “vote by mail” technologies; and  

Whereas, accessible absentee and “vote by mail” technologies could be acquired and provided by every state without delay and with a minimum outlay of funds; and

Whereas, all states recently received a substantial new allocation from federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds from which a small portion could be utilized for the purchase of such a statewide “Accessible Vote By Mail” (AVBM) technology in every state;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 4th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization commit to the following:

  • The members of state affiliates of the American Council of the Blind request their state to immediately take all necessary steps to ensure equal access to absentee and vote by mail balloting in every state;
  • The American Council of the Blind strongly encourages election officials in every state to comply with all state and federal laws which require equal access to ballots and voting by directing all counties to deploy an AVBM solution within six months of an AVBM system (or systems) being approved by that state; and
  • In conjunction with the spirit and purpose of this resolution, the Division of Elections or its equivalent in every state is further encouraged to assist local jurisdictions to acquire a single, centralized, uniform AVBM system that state officials would help to develop.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Voter Verification Systems 

Resolution 2018-03 

 

Whereas, the Help America Vote Act and Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as other federal and state laws, guarantee the right of all Americans with disabilities to vote privately and independently; and 

Whereas, these laws, taken together, require the entire voting experience to be accessible to persons with disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision; and 

Whereas, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has been at the forefront of advocacy ensuring that this right is implemented for every person in America with a vision impairment; and 

Whereas, areas in which voting rights advocacy by the ACB have occurred include accessible voting machines, accessible voting registration platforms, online ballot platforms, and access to sample ballots; and 

Whereas, voter verification, the process by which a voter is deemed eligible or ineligible to vote, remains largely inaccessible to persons who are blind or have low vision; and 

Whereas, now that jurisdictions are considering switching from hard-copy voting rolls to electronic poll books as the preferred method for maintaining the information for voter verification; and 

Whereas, the technology exists to make this information, through an interactive platform, available to persons with vision loss; and 

Whereas, at least one company has already designed a poll book kiosk that allows voters who are blind or have low vision to access not only information about the election in general, but also address and related information on file with election officials which will ultimately allow voters to communicate with the jurisdiction to alter any incorrect information that may impact their right to cast a ballot; 

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 4th of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization take all steps necessary, beginning with advocacy with the Federal Election Assistance Commission and the National Association of Secretaries of State, for the recognition that electronic polling books or voter verification systems should be accessible to persons who are blind or have low vision and for the adoption of a requirement that every jurisdiction must implement an accessible voter verification system. 

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

TVIs’ Preparedness to Properly Evaluate Children with CVI

Resolution 2018-04

 

Whereas, to receive a truly free and appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all children and youth with visual impairment, including those who may have additional disabilities, should be properly evaluated by teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) who are equipped with and use multiple assessment tools to determine such students’ individual sensory channels, functional vision, and learning media needs; and

Whereas, these types of evaluations are especially critical for the large and growing population of students who experience neurological visual impairment (frequently otherwise known as cortical or cerebral visual impairment) (hereinafter children with CVI); and

Whereas, it is imperative that parents and guardians of such students have accurate, complete, and unbiased information about the professional training and qualifications possessed by TVIs today who are prepared both to evaluate children with CVI and to effectively develop individualized education programs (IEPs) to meet such students’ unique needs; and

Whereas, TVIs must also have access to resources and participate in professional development opportunities in order to keep up with the changes in the diagnosis and assessment of, and appropriate interventions for, children with CVI to ameliorate the functional impact of neurological visual impairment; and

Whereas, whenever possible, assessments conducted by TVIs should include (as called for in IDEA) a variety of research-based, data-driven, and validated tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information; and

Whereas, there are currently no assessments available today to TVIs that meet the exacting scientific standards for research-based, data-driven, and validated evidence; and

Whereas, frameworks for functional vision and learning media assessments commonly used by TVIs today are nevertheless based upon recommended best practices in the field; and

Whereas, the CVI Range by Christine Roman-Lantzy is but one assessment designed to provide information on the visual and sensory functioning of children with CVI; and

Whereas, there are other such assessments available for use by TVIs when assessing visual functioning of children with CVI; and

Whereas, a package of continuing education opportunities bundled under the Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsement brand, along with other professional development opportunities, are valuable resources to teachers and others who wish to hone and test their skills in the administration of the CVI Range; and

Whereas, some enthusiastic proponents of the CVI Range and the related Endorsement appear to be urging policymakers and state and local education agencies to mandate the use of the CVI Range and to require TVIs to obtain the Endorsement as a condition on such TVIs’ provision of special education to children with CVI; and

Whereas, a TVI’s failure to obtain specifically branded continuing education opportunities, even if such opportunities are marketed as a so-called “endorsement,” is no indicator of a TVI’s preparedness to provide special education to children with CVI or any other students with visual impairment; and

Whereas, knowledge about neurological visual impairment and children with CVI is evolving rapidly, and a rich body of research and related developments from around the world promises to further enlighten and change educational practice over time; and

Whereas, requiring the use of a single specific assessment today, such as the CVI Range, or the express or implied imposition of brand-specific credentialing requirements on TVIs beyond state licensure and adherence to nationally recognized TVI standards, puts students at risk of being denied the most up-to-date assessments and services and needlessly locks state and local educational agencies into practices and purported credentials with a limited shelf life and which do not square with federal and state law and policy;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., as follows:

  • ACB encourages both newly prepared and experienced TVIs to pursue continuing education and/or professional development opportunities and training to keep abreast of the ever-changing body of knowledge and practices concerning neurological visual impairment in order to effectively meet the unique needs of children with CVI.
  • ACB urges the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and state and local educational agencies to protect the integrity of assessments conducted by TVIs, both by rejecting calls that expressly or implicitly require the use of any single specific assessment tool or technique with specific populations of students with visual impairments, and by refusing to impose specifically branded in-service training requirements on state-licensed TVIs who are prepared in accordance with nationally recognized TVI standards (i.e., the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)) as a precondition for such TVIs’ provision of special education to children with CVI or any other students with visual impairments.
  • ACB shall disseminate this resolution online and any other appropriate means to make it widely available to parents, TVIs and all other stakeholders to ensure national, state and local communication of these matters.
  • ACB renews its call to the U.S. Congress to promptly enact the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, which, among other critical policy objectives, would significantly increase investment in quantitative and qualitative research, allowing our field to identify evidence-based practices in assessment and instruction for children with CVI and all other students who are blind, have low vision, are deaf-blind, or who may also have additional disabilities.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Common College App

Resolution 2018-05

 

Whereas, the Common College Application, or “Common App,” is a powerful interactive online tool that permits prospective students to apply to multiple colleges with a single application, search databases, track deadlines, and manage the submission of transcripts and test scores; and 

Whereas, the Common App is used by more than 5 million students every year to apply for admission to undergraduate programs, making it the primary way that American students apply to college; and

Whereas, for approximately one-third of the 700 member colleges and universities, the Common App is the only way for students to apply for admission; and

Whereas, a 2015 review of the Common App website by members of the Bay State Council of the Blind who are also experts in the field of assistive technology concluded that the Common App is largely inaccessible to blind students who use screen-reader software; and

Whereas, these experts documented several conversations with Common Application Inc., in which senior management was informed that the website was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and

Whereas, in spite of the addition of accessible PDFs that students with vision loss may use to file an application, the Common App website's interactive features remain inaccessible; and

Whereas, the inaccessibility of the Common App also impacts blind teachers, guidance counselors, parents, and other stakeholders who cannot use the tool for employment or to advise and support students; and

Whereas, an unequal application process creates an unnecessary barrier to higher education and employment for individuals who use adaptive technology;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization review the 2018-2019 Common College Application for accessibility after its next release on August 1, 2018; and

Be it further resolved that if the Common Application remains inaccessible after August 1, this organization shall use all appropriate resources and influence to pursue full accessibility of the Common College Application for the release scheduled for August 1, 2019.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Lighthouse for the Blind Centennial

Resolution 2018-06

 

Whereas, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., headquartered in Seattle, Washington, was incorporated in 1918 with a mission to help people who are blind or visually impaired to be self-supporting through employment opportunities; and

Whereas, The Lighthouse conducts business through thirteen locations, including manufacturing facilities in Seattle and Spokane, Washington, as well as Summerville, South Carolina, and operates service business through military and civilian contracts at locations on the west coast; and

Whereas, today, The Lighthouse is the largest employer of people who are blind on the west coast and the largest employer of people who are DeafBlind in the country; and

Whereas, The Lighthouse has an expanded mission to include opportunities to support the individual employee to become more independent and self-sufficient; and

Whereas, The Lighthouse will be holding its momentous centennial event at a celebration on September 15, 2018, to include a time capsule commemorating its first 100 years;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization congratulate The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Seattle, Washington, on providing 100 years of successful and innovative job opportunities for people who are blind, visually impaired, DeafBlind, and who may have additional disabilities; and

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be sent to The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. for inclusion in the time capsule for Lighthouse’s Centennial Celebration.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

TV Marketplace

Resolution 2018-08

 

Whereas, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) permits TV commercials to flagrantly exclude viewers who are blind or visually impaired from critical information, such as a toll-free ordering phone number or even product or company name appearing on screen but which is not verbalized; and

Whereas, even publicly supported television follows this exclusionary practice of failing to communicate the most basic on-screen information; and

Whereas, failure to provide such critical information not only discriminates against viewers with vision loss but also denies a sizeable customer base for commercial advertisers;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization advocate for the full accessibility of commercial and other advertising to ensure that on-screen information is communicated effectively to viewers with vision loss.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Supermarket Websites

Resolution 2018-09

 

Whereas, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has been actively involved in work done to make the experience of shopping at Publix supermarkets more accessible through structured negotiations; and

Whereas, in-store shopping experience is inconsistent, ranging from good to very poor; and

Whereas, in spite of continuing feedback, the online access to Publix web pages remains substantially deficient; and

Whereas, the Publix app available for use with iOS and Android devices has serious accessibility issues; and 

Whereas, people who are blind or have low vision should be able to take advantage of a range of services available to everybody else online and in stores including, but not limited to, weekly ads, ordering online, preparing shopping lists, and making use of accessible prescription labels; and

Whereas, despite ongoing attempts to improve online access, Publix appears to change their web pages with no regard to the impact changes have on their accessibility; and

Whereas, even though a settlement was proposed mandating accessible prescription labels, the implementation of this project has been significantly wanting;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization believe that Publix must do significantly more to create a standard of service in stores that is consistently appropriate; and

Be it further resolved that the American Council of the Blind express its deep disappointment with the disregard to online accessibility demonstrated by Publix both on its website and through apps; and

Be it further resolved that this organization urge Publix to develop and implement policies and procedures that will result in the deployment of accessible prescription labels allowing Publix to effectively monitor the effectiveness of this service; and

Be it further resolved that this organization will continue to work with Publix but expect a significant and substantial improvement in their attitude and approach to online, in-store, and prescription label access.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Flying Dogs

Resolution 2018-10

 

Whereas, in the spring of 1938, United Airlines permitted the carriage of Buddy, the first guide dog in the United States, to accompany her handler Morris Frank on a flight from Chicago to Newark, making her the first service animal allowed to travel in the cabin of an airplane; and

Whereas, since that time 80 years ago, guide dog handlers have advocated tirelessly to enjoy freedom of mobility in the skies, taking their case before state and federal courts, legislatures, and regulatory bodies in order to secure their right to full and equal inclusion through statutes such as the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986; and

Whereas, there has been a noted increase in recent years in the number of fraudulent bad actors who misrepresent their pets as service or emotional support animals in order to game the system; and

Whereas, in an attempt to curtail this fraud and abuse, airlines have taken it upon themselves in the first half of 2018 to advance policies that limit access to the multiple classes of service animal teams protected under the Air Carrier Access Act, with some airlines seeking little to no input from guide dog handlers and advocates; and

Whereas, these policy changes have created confusion among airline personnel, resulting in stress for passengers with guide dogs; and

Whereas, the U.S. Department of Transportation has begun regulatory proceedings to revise the current service animal definition in response to pressure from airlines and advocates;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that the ACB national office expand and further its relationships with U.S. air carriers, calling upon airlines to:

  • Ensure that development of any such policies is done in consultation with ACB, its affiliate Guide Dog Users, Inc., and other service animal advocates to assure that the long-standing commitment to full and equal inclusion of passengers with guide dogs is not compromised; and
  • Airlines commit to implement ongoing training with airline personnel in order to assure that the letter of the law protecting the rights of passengers with service animals not be impeded; and

Be it further resolved that ACB work with the U.S. Department of Transportation as it undertakes regulatory proceedings to ensure that that the rights of passengers with legitimate, well-trained service animals not be negatively impacted by any changes to the service animal definition and subsequent relevant policies.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Marrakesh

Resolution 2018-11

 

Whereas, on June 27, 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization, assembled in Marrakesh, approved a treaty committed to ending the accessible book famine for people who are blind or who have other so-called print disabilities; and

Whereas, this historic treaty is the product of an unprecedented consensus among the international publishing industry, a united blindness consumer community, advocates for public libraries, and a host of governmental and non-governmental organizations from around the world; and

Whereas, five years and one day from when the Marrakesh Treaty was introduced to the world, the United States Senate, with unanimous consent, ratified the Marrakesh Treaty and passed legislation necessary for the U.S. to be in full compliance with its requirements; and

Whereas, all that remains for the United States to become the 40th country to enter into this treaty is to have the President of the United States deposit the signed treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization; and

Whereas, in order to allow the treaty to become fully implemented in U.S. law, the U.S. House of Representatives must itself move to pass S. 2559, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, already passed by the Senate, which will make the necessary changes to U.S. copyright law;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization immediately call upon President Donald J. Trump to promptly deposit the Senate-approved Marrakesh Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization; and

Be it further resolved that ACB urge the leadership and members of the U.S. House of Representatives to take up and pass S. 2559, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, so that the legislation can be transmitted as soon as possible to the White House for the President’s signature.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

RSVA 50th Anniversary

Resolution 2018-12

 

Whereas, Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA) is celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year; and

Whereas, for many years, RSVA has worked hard to assure that the Department of Defense continues to recognize the ability of blind vendors to receive the right to provide services in military dining facilities; and

Whereas, recently the Department of Defense has sought to preempt the right of vendors to operate military dining facilities by introducing a “self-feeding” program;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization congratulate our RSVA affiliate on their fiftieth birthday and, especially in the face of the “self-feeding program,”  reaffirm our commitment to support the right of blind vendors to receive priority to bid on military dining facilities.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Paratransit

Resolution 2018-13

 

Whereas, many seniors and persons with disabilities including people with visual impairments rely on paratransit as their primary or frequent mode of transportation; and 

Whereas, paratransit programs operated by local providers vary widely in the policies and procedures that they adopt and in the rules established by local governments for their operation; and 

Whereas, most paratransit riders have encountered difficulties regarding such key issues as scheduling, timeliness of rides, location of pick-up and drop-offs, availability of door-to-door or curb-to-curb service, methods for transferring between trips across provider or district boundaries, procedures and criteria for establishing and maintaining eligibility for services, methods and timely resolution of complaints, and other issues arising from resource limitations which significantly and consistently affect the riders’ ability to participate in the economic and social life of our communities; 

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization encourage its state chapters to consider advocating for the establishment of a state legislative task force on paratransit services, which would include the following representation: legislators or their designees, local and regional entities that fund paratransit services, large and small fixed-route providers, and members and representatives of disability and senior advocacy organizations who are active paratransit users themselves; and

Be it further resolved that such a task force be directed to identify and disseminate best practices on paratransit issues, including those set forth in this resolution.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

WMATA Woes

Resolution 2018-14

 

Whereas, over the past several years, a number of accidents have occurred in which persons who are blind or have low vision have fallen to the tracks between rail cars; and

Whereas, for decades ACB has consistently advocated for measures to prevent such accidents from occurring; and

Whereas, as an example, a blind person recently fell on the tracks in Washington, D.C. on the subway system;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization call upon the Department of Transportation to enforce laws and rules which prevent such accidents from occurring; and

Be it further resolved that this organization strongly encourage local and state affiliates to work with transit districts to assure compliance with appropriate safety standards.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Point of Contact

Resolution 2018-15

 

Whereas, audio description is mandated on the 4 broadcast networks and the 5 top-rated cable networks by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA); and

Whereas, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees the enforcement of the CVAA which includes both audio description and closed captioning for people who are deaf and hard of hearing; and

Whereas, if consumers have a complaint or concern about the quality of audio description, it is nearly impossible for them to reach an appropriate contact if such contact even exists; and

Whereas, the FCC already has regulations requiring the broadcast and non-broadcast networks to have a consumer point of contact to address issues of quality and standards for captioning; and

Whereas, the FCC also maintains a database to list such points of contact; and

Whereas, people who are blind or visually impaired need a comparable structure for video description;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization work with the FCC to require all broadcast and non-broadcast networks providing video description to establish a clear point of contact to address issues of quality and standards for video description.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Electronic Braille from NLS

Resolution 2018-16

 

Whereas, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) demonstrated technological innovation by creating access to braille titles when Web-Braille was created more than a decade ago; and 

Whereas, over time, Web-Braille was integrated into the BARD application which has made braille and audio titles directly downloadable to qualified people’s computers; and 

Whereas, both the Web-Braille and the BARD system have only made available electronic versions of books and magazines that have already been released as hard-copy braille titles; and 

Whereas, this means that the standard for most braille titles involves the use of 40 characters per line; and 

Whereas, the quantity of hard-copy braille produced each year has been limited by a decline in the number and capacity of braille producers in the United States; and 

Whereas, electronic braille displays are becoming less expensive; and 

Whereas, there are a wide range of sizes of braille displays now available which run from 10 to 80 available characters per line; and 

Whereas, this means that the standard hard-copy files often result in a combination of full and nearly empty lines on displays that are becoming less likely to be 40 characters per line;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization, along with its affiliates Library Users of America and the Braille Revival League, strongly urge NLS to consider producing electronic braille books in greater numbers than those produced in hard copy; and 

Be it further resolved that ACB commend NLS for beginning to work on creating different elements of braille output using document flow, and urge that NLS consider developing a format for electronic braille not tied to the specifications that would apply to the production of hard-copy braille books.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Public Library Standards

Resolution 2018-17

 

Whereas, access to local public libraries is mandated under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and 

Whereas, despite some serious efforts to recognize the needs of people who are blind at such libraries, virtually every public library is significantly deficient in meeting accessibility requirements for this population; and 

Whereas, the traditional approach to ADA compliance does not appear to be working at this time; and 

Whereas, through the American Library Association and other entities, there are clear standards that are used for such things as collection development and other library-specific areas; and 

Whereas, the advantage of the “standards” approach is that it offers all libraries clear ways of meeting the expectation that library science professionals believe ought to apply to every library; 

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization, along with its affiliate Library Users of America, hereby ask the Information Access Committee to join Library Users of America to reach out to standard-setting bodies of the American Library Association and other entities deemed appropriate to advocate that these standards include accessibility components; and 

Be it further resolved that, among other things, elements to be incorporated into standards should include accessibility of web sites, accessibility of electronic books available for loan, accessibility of computers that are available for patron use, specific outreach components for people who are blind or have low vision and periodic evaluation of accessibility compliance; and 

Be it further resolved that the Information Access Committee and Library Users of America are hereby required to report to the 2019 conference/convention of the American Council of the Blind on what progress has been made to implement this resolution.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

TV Listings

Resolution 2018-18

 

Whereas, the multiplicity of TV programming delivery methods available today, along with the growth in the number of markets where audio-described television programming is available, has the potential to exponentially increase the demand for audio description; and

Whereas, for this anticipated increased demand to be satisfied, consumers of described television must have a convenient and reliable means for browsing among and selecting audio-described programming; and

Whereas, at this time, other than the manually gathered American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project website listing, there is no reliable automated digital listing, fed by the broadcast and non-broadcast networks, that electronic program guides can incorporate to provide consumers with timely and accurate notice of all available audio-described programming; and

Whereas, such a listing would better enable set-top boxes to provide consumers with ready access to audio description via meaningful electronic program guides; and

Whereas, for well over a decade, there has been a commitment to ensure that all closed-captioned programs are appropriately listed in electronic program guides;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization strongly urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to exercise all appropriate authority to require the broadcast and non-broadcast networks to establish and/or join an automated digital listing of all available audio-described programming; and

Be it further resolved that the FCC monitor such listings on an ongoing basis for quality assurance and to ensure that such listings provide consumers of audio-described programming with a level of service equal to that provided today to consumers of closed-captioned television.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

ADP at the White House

Resolution 2018-19

 

Whereas, the Audio Description Project was proud to have worked with the White House to develop an audio-described version of the White House tour; and

Whereas, many people who are blind or have low vision were able to benefit from the wealth of information that far exceeds that which would be available on a regular tour provided by actual White House guides; and

Whereas, the audio-described version of the White House tour is currently not being utilized there;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that the American Council of the Blind reiterate its ongoing assertion that an experience that is carefully and effectively described includes more information than can possibly be provided by an in-person guide; and

Be it further resolved that ACB urge the White House to take steps to reinstate the described tour as soon as possible.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Net Neutrality

Resolution 2018-20

 

Whereas, access to the Internet as a conduit of information and knowledge is a fundamental civil and human right which should be available to all individuals, including people with disabilities; and 

Whereas, the American Council of the Blind, in 2017, joined eight other disability organizations in filing a public comment with the FCC in support of maintaining net neutrality; and

Whereas, a vote may be expected this fall in the House of Representatives on an initiative introduced by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization continue its advocacy in support of net neutrality.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Thanks to Hotel

Resolution 2018-21

 

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 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization communicate its deep gratitude to the management and staff of the Union Station Hotel for their warm welcome, very hard work and hospitality.

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Thanks to Host Committee

Resolution 2018-22

 

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 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., that this organization express its heartfelt congratulations and thanks to this year’s Convention Host Committee and the women and men of the Missouri Council of the Blind for their enthusiastic welcome, the untold hours of planning and hard work, and the tremendous privilege of bringing our national conference and convention to the “Show Me” state, where you have definitively shown us all how it’s done!

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary

Summary of 2018 Resolutions

 

The following are brief summaries of the resolutions adopted by the ACB membership at the 2018 conference and convention held at the Union Station Hotel in July. One resolution was referred to ACB’s advocacy services committee. It is not included in this compilation. Please note that these summary statements are not the authoritative voice of the ACB membership; they 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 www.acb.org.

 

Resolution 2018-01 directs ACB to strongly urge all developers of antivirus and anti-malware programs to ensure that their software is designed to be fully accessible to and usable by people who are blind or visually impaired in accordance with appropriate technical accessibility standards.

 

Resolution 2018-02 instructs members of ACB’s state affiliates to request their state to immediately take all necessary steps to ensure equal access to absentee and vote by mail balloting in every state; directs the organization to strongly encourage election officials in every state to comply with all state and federal laws which require equal access to ballots and voting by directing all counties to deploy an accessible vote-by-mail (AVBM) solution within six months of such a system being approved by that state; and that ACB encourage each state’s Division of Elections or equivalent to assist local jurisdictions to acquire a single, centralized, uniform AVBM system that state officials would help to develop.

 

Resolution 2018-03 directs ACB to take all steps necessary to obtain the recognition that electronic polling books or voter verification systems should be accessible to persons who are blind or have low vision and for the adoption of a requirement that every jurisdiction must implement an accessible voter verification system.

 

 Resolution 2018-04 tells ACB to encourage both newly prepared and experienced teachers of the visually impaired to pursue continuing education and/or professional development opportunities and training to keep abreast of the ever-changing body of knowledge and practices concerning neurological visual impairment in order to effectively meet the unique needs of children with CVI. It instructs ACB to urge the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and state and local educational agencies to protect the integrity of assessments conducted by TVIs, both by rejecting calls that expressly or implicitly require the use of any single specific assessment tool or technique with specific populations of students with visual impairments, and by refusing to impose specifically branded in-service training requirements on state-licensed TVIs who are prepared in accordance with nationally recognized TVI standards (i.e., the Council for Exceptional Children and Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) as a precondition for such TVIs’ provision of special education to children with CVI or any other students with visual impairments. And it renews ACB’s call to Congress to promptly enact the Cogswell Macy Act, which would significantly increase investment in quantitative and qualitative research, allowing our field to identify evidence-based practices in assessment and instruction for children with CVI and all other students who are blind, have low vision, are deaf-blind, or who may also have additional disabilities.

 

Resolution 2018-05 directs ACB to review the 2018-2019 Common College Application for accessibility after its next release on August 1, 2018 and, if the application remains inaccessible after August 1, ACB shall use all appropriate resources and influence to pursue full accessibility of the Common College Application for the release scheduled for August 1, 2019.

 

Resolution 2018-06 congratulates The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Seattle, Wash., on providing 100 years of successful and innovative job opportunities for people who are blind, visually impaired, DeafBlind, and who may have additional disabilities.

 

Resolution 2018-08 directs ACB to advocate for the full accessibility of commercial and other advertising to ensure that on-screen information is communicated effectively to viewers with vision loss.

 

Resolution 2018-09 expresses the belief that Publix must do significantly more to create a standard of service in stores that is consistently appropriate; expresses ACB’s deep disappointment with the disregard to online accessibility demonstrated by Publix both on its website and through apps; directs ACB to urge Publix to develop and implement policies and procedures that will result in the deployment of accessible prescription labels allowing Publix to effectively monitor the effectiveness of this service; and instructs ACB to continue to work with Publix but expect a significant and substantial improvement in their attitude and approach to online, in-store, and prescription label access.

 

Resolution 2018-10 instructs the ACB national office to expand and further its relationships with U.S. air carriers, calling upon airlines to: ensure that development of any such policies is done in consultation with ACB, its affiliate Guide Dog Users, Inc., and other service animal advocates to assure that the long-standing commitment to full and equal inclusion of passengers with guide dogs is not compromised; and that the airlines commit to implement ongoing training with airline personnel in order to assure that the letter of the law protecting the rights of passengers with service animals not be impeded. It also directs ACB to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation as it undertakes regulatory proceedings to ensure that that the rights of passengers with legitimate, well-trained service animals not be negatively impacted by any changes to the service animal definition and subsequent relevant policies.

 

Resolution 2018-11 directs ACB to immediately call upon President Donald J. Trump to promptly deposit the Senate-approved Marrakesh Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization, and to urge the leadership and members of the U.S. House of Representatives to take up and pass S. 2559, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, so that the legislation can be transmitted as soon as possible to the White House for the President’s signature.

 

Resolution 2018-12 congratulates RSVA on its 50th birthday and reaffirms ACB’s commitment to support the right of blind vendors to receive priority to bid on military dining facilities.

 

 

Resolution 2018-13 directs ACB to encourage its state chapters to consider advocating for the establishment of a state legislative task force on paratransit services, which would include the following representation: legislators or their designees, local and regional entities that fund paratransit services, large and small fixed-route providers, and members and representatives of disability and senior advocacy organizations who are active paratransit users themselves; and directs the task force to identify and disseminate best practices on paratransit issues, including those set forth in this resolution.

 

Resolution 2018-14 instructs ACB to call upon the Department of Transportation to enforce laws and rules which prevent such accidents from occurring, and to strongly encourage local and state affiliates to work with transit districts to assure compliance with appropriate safety standards.

 

Resolution 2018-15 directs ACB to work with the FCC to require all broadcast and non-broadcast networks providing video description to establish a clear point of contact to address issues of quality and standards for video description.

 

Resolution 2018-16 instructs ACB, along with its affiliates Library Users of America and the Braille Revival League, strongly urge NLS to consider producing electronic braille books in greater numbers than those produced in hard copy; and commends NLS for beginning to work on creating different elements of braille output using document flow and we also urge that NLS consider developing a format for electronic braille not tied to the specifications that would apply to the production of hard-copy braille books.

 

Resolution 2018-17 directs ACB, and Library Users of America, to ask the Information Access Committee to join Library Users of America in reaching out to standard-setting bodies of the American Library Association and other entities deemed appropriate to advocate that these standards include accessibility components. Elements to be incorporated into standards should include accessibility of web sites, accessibility of electronic books available for loan, accessibility of computers that are available for patron use, specific outreach components for people who are blind or have low vision and periodic evaluation of accessibility compliance. It orders the Information Access Committee and Library Users of America to report to the 2019 ACB convention on what progress has been made to implement this resolution.

 

Resolution 2018-18 instructs ACB to strongly urge the Federal Communications Commission to exercise all appropriate authority to require the broadcast and non-broadcast networks to establish and/or join an automated digital listing of all available audio-described programming, and directs that the FCC monitor such listings on an ongoing basis for quality assurance and to ensure that such listings provide consumers of audio-described programming with a level of service equal to that provided today to consumers of closed-captioned television.

 

Resolution 2018-19 reiterates ACB’s ongoing assertion that an experience that is carefully and effectively described includes more information than can possibly be provided by an in-person guide, and directs ACB to urge the White House to take steps to reinstate the described tour as soon as possible.

 

Resolution 2018-20 directs ACB to continue its advocacy in support of net neutrality.

 

Resolution 2018-21 thanks the management and staff of the Union Station Hotel for their warm welcome, very hard work and hospitality.

 

Resolution 2018-22 expresses ACB’s heartfelt congratulations and thanks to this year’s convention host committee and the women and men of the Missouri Council of the Blind for their enthusiastic welcome, the untold hours of planning and hard work, and the tremendous privilege of bringing our national conference and convention to the “Show Me” state.

 

Resolution 2018-23 thanks each and every individual volunteer who so selflessly and graciously gave of their time and energy.

Thanks to Volunteers 

Resolution 2018-23

 

Whereas, there are no more valuable things in this life than a kind word, an open hand, a supportive shoulder, a warm heart, and a willing elbow;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 5th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., 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; you have been our convention’s gateway to success!

Adopted.

Ray Campbell, Secretary