“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features information about the Supreme Court’s decision to decline the appeal on the Domino’s case, Facebook Live on the Domino’s case, Clark Rachfal’s appearance on Comcast Newsmakers, White Cane Day, the latest Advocacy Update podcasts, ACB’s 2018 annual report, news from Social Security about the cost of living adjustment and the SGA level for 2020, and information on Hulu’s newest upgrades.
ACB Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Decline Appeal on Domino’s v. Robles Case
To read this release in its entirety, go to http://acb.org/supreme-court-dominos-robles.
On Monday, October 7, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on Domino’s v. Robles. The American Council of the Blind and its members applaud this decision and commend the Supreme Court for their action. The unanimous ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit made it resoundingly clear that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites, and by declining to hear Domino’s appeal, the Supreme Court upholds the civil rights of people who are blind and visually impaired in online commercial settings.
As we celebrate 29 years of the ADA, it is important to note that guidelines and best practices for digital accessibility have existed for decades. The World Wide Web Consortium developed the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and these guidelines are included in the federal government’s Section 508 standards.
“ACB has worked with numerous companies to seamlessly integrate accessible universal design into their digital offerings; this makes it more difficult to understand Domino’s position that their website is not for customers who are blind and visually impaired. Companies like Domino’s should welcome the flexibility created by these guidelines and standards to implement accessibility in a way that makes their products and services available to all paying customers,” said Eric Bridges, ACB’s Executive Director.
Facebook Live: The Domino’s Case
After learning about the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the Domino’s v. Robles case, Clark and Claire set up a Facebook Live broadcast to explain what it all meant – including the fact that the ADA really does apply to websites. To view the video, go to https://tinyurl.com/y65edvxx.
Rachfal on Comcast Newsmakers
ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, Clark Rachfal, was interviewed by Comcast Newsmakers on the topic of making durable medical equipment accessible, especially for the treatment and care of people with diabetes. Tackling inaccessible diabetes durable medical equipment is a legislative imperative for ACB, and in this interview, Clark discusses the wide spread nature of this problem and the work ACB is doing to address the needs of the blind and low vision community with diabetes. To view this interview, Comcast customers may speak “Comcast Newsmakers” into their X1 remote, or visit https://tinyurl.com/y3rmut7f.
ACB Celebrates White Cane Day on Facebook Live
October 15th was White Cane Safety Day! Claire Stanley and Eric Bridges talked about the importance of white canes, learning how to use them, and getting around independently on Facebook Live. View the video at https://tinyurl.com/y2zddk4v.
This week’s edition of the Advocacy Update features Claire Stanley talking with two ACB members. Chris Bell postulates about necessary policies and state action to prevent safety hazards, and Joanne Stombaugh shares her personal experience with e-scooters and her involvement in related advocacy. To hear it, visit http://acbradio.org/acb-advocacy-update-10-17-19.
The October 10th Advocacy Update is the first part of a two-part series on micro and shared mobility services. Claire and Clark spoke with the Acting Executive Director of the Micromobility Coalition, Ryan McConaghy, about the proliferation of e-bikes and scooters around the country. We discussed the role for these new services in the transportation ecosystem, and the need for these services to integrate seamlessly with public rights of way and maintain pedestrian safety. To learn more about the Micro Mobility Coalition, visit https://micromobilitycoalition.org/. To hear the podcast, go to http://acbradio.org/ACB-Advocacy-Update-10-10-19. To access the written transcript of this podcast, go to http://acb.org/ACB-advocacy-update-10-10-19-transcript.
Got an idea for a future podcast? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Annual Report Available
Want to know exactly what’s going on in the national office and in ACB? Are you not getting enough information from “The ACB Braille Forum?” Take a look at ACB’s 2018 Annual Report! It will inform you about partnerships formed with corporations, structured negotiations activities, ACB’s capacity building, and give you details about new legislation, accessibility, and staff changes at the national and Minnesota offices. It will also update you about ACB’s programs and services, from scholarships to ACB Link, the Audio Description Project to ACB Radio, and more. It also includes information about ACB Enterprises and Services and financial information – a numbers geek’s dream! Browse through and enjoy photos and stories from the 2018 annual conference, too. Plunge in and satisfy your cravings for more information! Access the annual report by visiting: http://acb.org/sites/default/files/2018%20Annual%20Report%20final-w.pdf.
News from Social Security
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020, the Social Security Administration announced recently.
The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 63 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2020. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2019. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits.) The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level for blind people in 2020 will be $2,110 per month.
Making Hulu More Accessible than Ever Before
To read this press release in its entirety, visit https://www.hulu.com/press/hulu-update/making-hulu-more-accessible-than-ever-before/.
Hulu has been working to deliver a more accessible experience so that all viewers can stream their favorite shows and movies. As part of these efforts, the company made accessible design the main focus of its summer hackathon and launched an audio description hub on its web platform earlier this year. The audio description hub allows viewers to find content with audio descriptions quickly and easily. And the changes don’t stop there.
The most recent round of improvements focused on text legibility and screen-reader capabilities. Viewers will experience easier-to-read text as we’ve enhanced the text opacity to improve readability. This update will be applied automatically for all our users.
To enable the screen reader — also referred to as the audio guide on some devices — go to your device’s settings to turn on the feature.
These updates are now available on the Roku® platform, and will continue rolling out to Android, tvOS, iOS and more devices in the coming weeks.