The following are brief summaries of the resolutions adopted by the ACB Board of Directors at its telephonic meetings on Aug. 31, 2021 and Sept. 29, 2021. Seven resolutions were withdrawn by their makers; those were Resolutions 2021-05, 2021-08, 2021-17, 2021-19, 2021-20, 2021-27 and 2021-32.
Resolution 2021-02 was referred to the Information Access Committee. Resolution 2021-03 was considered by ACB’s board of directors, but it did not pass. Resolutions 2021-14 and 2021-31 were also referred.
Please note that these summary statements are not the authoritative voice of the ACB board of directors; they are simply meant to capture the overall scope and intent of the resolutions. You can find the full text of resolutions at https://acb.org/2021-resolutions.
Resolution 2021-01 directs ACB to urge its state affiliates to strongly consider undertaking advocacy efforts to create disability awareness training requirements for health care facilities, professionals and their staffs, and instructs affiliates that make such efforts to work with ACB’s Get Up and Get Moving campaign.
Resolution 2021-04 directs ACB to urge the Rehabilitation Services Administration, in the strongest possible language, to establish comprehensive standards of conduct and ongoing verification that such standards are being adhered to by all residential rehabilitation training centers, community rehabilitation programs (CRPs), service providers, and all other individuals contracted to provide rehabilitation services to people who are blind or have low vision as part of RSA’s ongoing monitoring processes. Also instructs RSA to direct state rehabilitation agencies to include in their State Plans policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that documented allegations of sexual misconduct and/or bullying be appropriately investigated, resolved and reported to State Rehabilitation Councils (SRCs), the consumer entities responsible for providing input and oversight to state rehabilitation departments and commissions, and to RSA. This resolution directs state agencies serving the blind to immediately suspend all approvals for consumers to attend any residential rehabilitation training center for which documented allegations of sexual or other abuse/misconduct have been made until such time as the department or commission determines that the issues arising from any documented allegation have been addressed in accordance with standards to be developed by the state entity and/or RSA pursuant to this resolution.
Resolution 2021-06 instructs ACB to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice immediately adopt regulations which establish categorical application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to all elements of the Internet, and that DOJ require that WCAG 2.1 level AA or the most current successor versions be the applicable standard in developing such regulations.
Resolution 2021-07 directs ACB’s advocacy and governmental affairs staff to work with the Advocacy Steering Committee to develop guidelines that can be used to make pill packs accessible for someone who is blind or has low vision, and directs ACB to urge the Access Board to reconvene in a manner consistent with the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act to update best practices for accessibility of pill packets.
Resolution 2021-09 states that ACB welcomes innovative solutions to the global challenge of inaccessibility on the Internet, but does not support a response that creates a separate experience for users of assistive technology, and directs that any technology designed to help the blindness community must include meaningful feedback from users who are blind or have low vision to ensure that it will not harm the community it purports to serve. Also instructs the Information Access Committee to determine how best ACB can play a role in remedying the issues discussed in this resolution.
Resolution 2021-10 directs the newly established Spanish Language Subcommittee of the Multicultural Affairs Committee to develop plans, timelines, budget allocations, and priorities to implement initiatives and programs in order to expand ACB’s outreach to the Spanish-speaking community beginning in 2022, and charges the Multicultural Affairs Committee and ACB Membership Committee with the task of developing a set of recommendations on how to effectively outreach to and recruit individuals who are blind or have low vision whose principal language is Spanish.
Resolution 2021-11 directs ACB to urge PBS to immediately recommence the practice of noting which programs contain audio description in all PBS publications and, at a minimum, include audio description on all PBS Video programming that originally contained an audio description track.
Resolution 2021-12 directs all health care practitioners using telehealth offer an accessible, WCAG-compliant telehealth option and alternative that offers effective communication to all people who are blind or have low vision, and urges all state affiliates to advocate on the issues presented in this resolution with their state’s medical licensing agencies and local healthcare providers. Also instructs ACB to assist people who are blind or have low vision who may need assistance in advocating with their health care practitioner to obtain an accessible telehealth option.
Resolution 2021-13 directs Guide Dog Users, Inc., together with the American Council of the Blind, its officers, directors and staff, advise the U.S. Department of Transportation to immediately inform airlines that the Department expects them to ensure that both the processes of completing and submitting their service dog travel forms are accessible to persons who are blind or have low vision, and that they must validate the accessibility of these processes through user testing. Also instructs ACB and GDUI to recommend that DOT compel airlines to provide their personnel with appropriate training in how to advise prospective passengers about the new requirements and, upon request, provide assistance with filling out the new forms.
Resolution 2021-15 congratulates the American Foundation for the Blind on providing 100 years of advocacy, research, and collaboration to create a world of no limits for people who are blind or have low vision, and directs that AFB collaborate with ACB and the entire blindness community to forge a path of innovation and inclusion for AFB’s second century of service.
Resolution 2021-16 directs that ACB collaborate with the Blinded Veterans Association concerning the need to ensure that, during this transition period, VA employees who are blind or have low vision receive the training, services and performance equity protections they need to enable them to continue performing the essential functions of their positions, and thus ensure their continued employability with the VA, and if the VA is not responsive to the concerns expressed in this resolution, this organization inform the appropriate Congressional oversight committees of these issues.
Resolution 2021-18 instructs ACB to immediately make known to CMS the degree to which HCBS targeted at Medicaid recipients who are blind or have low vision will meet the goals of the Medicaid program and enhance the lives of this population, and to urge CMS, in implementing its oversight of state Medicaid funds, including those under the American Rescue Plan Act, to issue guidance to states concerning the value of targeting these services to recipients who are blind or have low vision. Also directs ACB to urge its affiliates to advocate for the use of Medicaid funds, including American Rescue Plan Act funding, for home and community-based services targeted at the needs of Medicaid recipients who are blind or have low vision.
Resolution 2021-21 directs ACB to work with its advocacy services committee to develop a list of best practices which can be shared with ACB’s state affiliates and local chapters, and that the best practices cover access to polling places during early voting and on Election Day, the availability of accessible vote-by-mail ballots including electronic return, effective access to voter registration, sample ballot information and other responsibilities of county authorities, and state and local legislation and regulations that provide for appropriate treatment for people with disabilities during all elements of the voting process which take into account medical conditions that might otherwise limit appropriate participation in federal, state and local elections.
Resolution 2021-22 directs ACB to make known its full support for and advocate for the use of human voices in the voicing of audio description for cinema and narrative video or streaming, and lend its assistance, where feasible, to affiliates undertaking such advocacy efforts.
Resolution 2021-23 instructs ACB to specifically communicate with the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference to urge them to immediately require all presentations, including digital content, be made accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.
Resolution 2021-24 directs ACB to support and urge Congress to adopt a long-term, federally funded broadband benefit program, managed and administered by the FCC, to provide low-income individuals with enhanced financial support for broadband after the pandemic ends, and for Congress to codify and fund it through mandatory directed spending as other entitlement programs are, instead of subjecting it to an annual discretionary appropriations process. Also directs Congress to renew its commitment to federal digital inclusion programs, as they are highly effective in helping persons living with disabilities to gain the skills and confidence necessary to thrive in the digital age.
Resolution 2021-25 states that this organization strongly condemns the denial of the reasonable accommodation request by Rebecca Meyers, and directs ACB and its SASI committee engage in an ongoing dialogue with the USOPC to develop and adhere to a transparent and ADA-compliant reasonable accommodations policy and process (inclusive of auxiliary communication requests). It directs that such policy and process ensure, at a minimum, that athletes who are deaf-blind will be permitted to have an SSP accompany them to all future competitions and related events sanctioned by the USOPC.
Resolution 2021-26 urges the ACB Board of Publications and writers and editors who produce written communications and other media reflecting the values of the ACB to explore ways of implementing guidance regarding the organization’s preference for using gender-neutral language in all ACB communications and media. Also directs BPI to conduct at least one community call on the use of gender-neutral language and agrees to consult with the Board of Publications on the implementation of this inclusive approach to language.
Resolution 2021-28 directs that ACB continue on the path of diversity, equity, and inclusion by working with the Multicultural Affairs and other appropriate committees to outline and facilitate intentional steps to hire and retain a well-qualified, well-trained and more diverse staff, including a plan to ensure more diverse candidate pools. Also directs ACB’s president to report to the membership, at least twice a year, on ongoing diversity efforts in staff and membership demographics, the number of people of color who are leaders of affiliates and committees, and the ongoing efforts to ensure that all publications and media reflect the diversity of America and our membership.
Resolution 2021-29 expresses ACB’s profound dissatisfaction with the current state of Free Matter for the Blind delivery, and work with the appropriate U.S. Postal Service staff with expertise in free matter to promote and improve this vital service; and encourages the Postmaster General to ensure that ongoing training is provided to local post office personnel.
Resolution 2021-30 communicates ACB’s dissatisfaction with ABWA and BNI, and requests that these entities make all digital products and services fully accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.
Resolution 2021-33 directs ACB to commit to an organization-wide strategy to seek the prompt enactment of Teddie-Joy’s Law, and to work in coalition with all like-minded stakeholders to launch a multi-year effort to promote such legislation and related public awareness strategies and tactics. Also directs the organization to strongly consider making passage of Teddie-Joy’s Law a primary legislative imperative at the 2022 ACB Legislative Seminar.
Resolution 2021-34 instructs the board of directors to assign the advocacy steering committee the task of drafting a plan to implement this resolution in order to address the mental and emotional health crisis among people with vision loss.
Resolution 2021-35 directs that ACB call upon NLS to prioritize distribution of this new braille E-reader by revising LOC/NLS policy to allow network libraries to provide secondary preference to braille-reading NLS patrons who are blind and have a severe hearing impairment.
Resolution 2021-36 directs ACB to contact RSA to explore avenues for requiring compliance without harming the ability of state agencies to deliver rehabilitation services, and directs ACB and RSA to send a letter to the National Council of Governors requesting dialogue on how state rehab councils differ from advisory councils, how incomplete SRCs impede RSA-mandated responsibilities such as state agency annual reports and State Plans, how incomplete SRCs damage direct and official consumer input into the rehabilitation of citizens with disabilities in general, and citizens who are blind or have low vision in particular, and a request that governors and other appointing agencies immediately consider pending SRC applications in their state.