[nfbwatlk] NFB 2010 National Convention Resolutions

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Sat Jul 24 14:29:05 CDT 2010


Resolution 2010-01
Regarding the Creation of a New Educational Model for Blind Students

WHEREAS, literacy rates among blind children remain unacceptably low
as demonstrated by statistics showing that only 10 percent of today's blind
students under age twenty-two are being taught to read Braille, resulting in
an unacceptably low (45 percent) high-school graduation rate for blind
students; and 

WHEREAS, approximately 70 percent of blind people nationwide are not
employed, but of those blind people who are employed, 85 percent or more use
Braille in the workplace, demonstrating a clear relationship among literacy,
confidence, and success; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has been the leader in
encouraging legislative reform, but, despite the improvement that gives
Braille a stated priority in the delivery of educational services to a blind
child, school administrators and the lawyers who represent them continue to
find ways to avoid their responsibility to provide appropriate Braille
literacy educational services, and the results of that legal process more
often than not yield ineffective and inadequate remedies; and 

WHEREAS, even in those infrequent cases in which a parent or
advocate is successful in obtaining improved services for a blind child, the
due process hearing does not improve educational services generally because
the remedies, however beneficial, are limited to that child; and 

WHEREAS, too many parents of blind children remain frustrated with
the ineffective remedies provided under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) because, even if they file for a due process hearing,
the due process hearing officer, following judicial precedent, finds that a
blind child is receiving a free and appropriate public education (FAPE),
even when "minimal educational benefit" results from the educational
services to the blind child; and 

WHEREAS, even with the presumption that Braille will be included in
a child's individualized education program (IEP) as required in current
federal and most state laws, if a child is taught Braille, it often occurs
after the child has no remaining vision or at best insufficient vision to
read print, resulting in the child's learning to read in the upper grades or
later when the opportunity to establish real literacy skills is diminished
or altogether past; and 

WHEREAS, assessments performed by well-meaning but ill-informed
professionals demonstrate that a child has enough vision to read print but
do not take into consideration a diagnosis that inevitably portends the
inability to read print, and reports from around the country indicate that
blind children are still not getting their books on time despite the clear
requirement in federal and state law that books be provided on time; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind convened a meeting of
parents of blind children, lawyers, educators and teachers of blind
children, elected leaders of the blind, and other blindness professionals
for the purpose of discussing innovative and effective ways to improve the
delivery of educational services, including the teaching of Braille; and 

WHEREAS, the Braille Readers are Leaders initiative, established by
the National Federation of the Blind in July 2008, has a primary goal of
ensuring that the number of blind students able to read Braille will double
by 2015; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is the leading force
in the field of blindness, possesses the collective experience of thousands
of blind people (an accumulated body of knowledge about blindness
education). and has an unwavering will to improve educational opportunities
for all blind students: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization pursue innovative and nontraditional models for teaching
literacy and other blindness skills, including the investigation and
establishment of a charter school for blind children and any other model at
the discretion of the president and that the resources of this organization
be used to establish models that will demonstrate the success achieved by
high expectations and the philosophy of the National Federation of the
Blind; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge teachers of blind
students, state special education agencies, organizations of and for the
blind, and others responsible for the education of blind children to take
all other steps necessary to join the National Federation of the Blind in
ensuring that the number of blind students who are able to read and write
Braille competently doubles by 2015. 
------------
Resolution 2010-02
Regarding the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010

WHEREAS, on January 28, 2009, Congressmen Edolphus Towns of New York
and Cliff Stearns of Florida introduced the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement
Act of 2009 (H.R. 734); and 

WHEREAS, this legislation directs the secretary of transportation to
issue a motor vehicle safety standard to address the dangers posed to blind
and other pedestrians by silent hybrid and electric vehicles; and 

WHEREAS, on April 21, 2009, Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and
Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania introduced companion legislation in the United
States Senate (S. 841); and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has worked actively to
gain cosponsor support for this important legislation to preserve the right
to independent travel for blind pedestrians; and 

WHEREAS, in September 2009 the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) released a report stating that hybrid and electric
vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents as
traditional internal-combustion-engine vehicles when operating at low speed;
and 

WHEREAS, the United States Congress has recently introduced the
Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 (H.R. 5381 in the House of Representatives
and S. 3302 in the Senate) to address safety concerns related to unintended
rapid acceleration and sticky pedals in some automobiles; and 

WHEREAS, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously
agreed to Congressman Stearns's amendment to include provisions of the
Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 at the committee markup of the
Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 on May 26, 2010; and 

WHEREAS, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation also included a similar amendment offered by Senator Kerry
during its markup of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 on June 9, 2010;
and 

WHEREAS, the number of hybrid and electric vehicles on America's
roadways continues to increase; and 

WHEREAS, passage of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 will
mandate that regulations be promulgated by the Department of Transportation
to provide that electric and hybrid vehicles sold in the United States must
be equipped with an alert sound, which is recognizable as a motor vehicle,
in order to allow blind pedestrians to maintain the right to safe and
independent travel: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge Congress to pass the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010
to ensure that regulations will be issued to protect the right to safe and
independent travel for blind pedestrians; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commend Congressmen
Towns and Stearns and Senators Kerry and Specter for their leadership on
this issue as demonstrated by their work to ensure that provisions of the
Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 were included in the Motor Vehicle
Safety Act of 2010; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commend the Alliance
of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile
Manufacturers for working with the National Federation of the Blind and for
supporting the inclusion of provisions of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement
Act of 2009 in the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010. 
------------
Resolution 2010-03
Regarding Inaccessibility of Google Products and Services

WHEREAS, Google is the leading Internet search engine, used by both
blind and sighted people in the United States and throughout the world; and 

WHEREAS, in addition to its powerful search engine, Google, Inc.,
offers an ever-increasing number of digital and electronic products and
services, including but not limited to Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar,
Google Books, Google TV, Google Wave, and the Android operating system for
smart phones; and 

WHEREAS, while Google's basic search function is accessible to and
usable by the blind and Google has promised accessibility to some of its
other products and services (especially Google Books, pending the approval
of the legal settlement related to that product), many of its other services
are either inaccessible or not fully accessible; and 

WHEREAS, while Google provides a screen-access solution called
Talkback for phones using the Android operating system, the company provides
no customer support for users of Talkback except YouTube videos posted by
one of its employees, and Talkback does not provide access to all the
functions available in Android; and 

WHEREAS, blind people find using Google Calendar difficult because
among other things clickable regions of the screen are not always identified
by screen-access software as clickable due to improper application coding;
and 

WHEREAS, when Google Maps data are embedded on third-party Websites,
Google directs blind users seeking full access to those data to use an
alternative, inferior accessibility interface through which they have
difficulty accessing critical features of Google Maps such as turn-by-turn
driving directions; and 

WHEREAS, Google continues to roll out and announce the future
availability of new services, but blind people too often find to their
dismay that these services are not accessible; and 

WHEREAS, apparently Google does not plan to make new services such
as Google Wave and Google TV accessible; and 

WHEREAS, Google's corporate motto is "Don't be evil," but the
company is certainly failing to do good consistently for its blind users:
Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization demand that Google make a serious, identifiable commitment
to accessibility in all of its products and services and avoid the future
release of products and services that are inaccessible to its blind users. 
------------
Resolution 2010-04
Regarding Access to Mass Transit Information and Services

WHEREAS, public transportation can be a critical tool in helping
blind people participate fully in the economic, political, and social life
of their communities; and 

WHEREAS, mass transit systems increasingly use technology to provide
information and services to customers; and 

WHEREAS, schedules, routing information, and reservations are
examples of information and services available to customers on the Websites
of mass transit systems; and 

WHEREAS, customers are increasingly required to use electronic fare
cards, but the machines that read them can often not be used independently
by the blind; and 

WHEREAS, mass transit systems are beginning to provide specific,
up-to-the-minute location information about buses to customers at bus stops;
and 

WHEREAS, when designing Websites, fare cards, and other information
technology and services, too many mass transit systems either totally
overlook or provide minimal nonvisual access to their technology, ignoring
the access requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization insist that the U.S. Department of Transportation take all
necessary steps to ensure compliance with access laws by mass transit
systems; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the Federal
Transit Administration and the American Public Transportation Association to
work with the National Federation of the Blind to develop best practices
that result in enhanced nonvisual access to mass transit system information
technology and services. 
------------
RESOLUTION 2010-05
Regarding Equal and Independent Participation in the Census for the Blind

WHEREAS, all Americans are required to provide census data under
Title 13, United States Code, Sections 143 and 191; and 

WHEREAS, data collected through the census are used for legislative
redistricting as well as the allocation of over $400 billion in government
funding to public projects such as schools, road and infrastructure
construction, hospital and healthcare services, rehabilitation programs, and
disaster preparedness projects, all of which affect the blind just as they
do all other Americans; and 

WHEREAS, the United States Census Bureau originally permitted 2010
Census participation only through the completion of a paper form that was
mailed to American households, and the Census Bureau had not developed a
strategy for obtaining such data by alternate means; and 

WHEREAS, after learning that the original strategy for collecting
census data barred meaningful and independent participation by the nation's
blind, the Census Bureau promptly recalibrated its strategy to permit blind
individuals to complete the 2010 census form by calling a toll-free phone
number or by requesting a census worker to conduct an in-person visit; and 

WHEREAS, the Census Bureau administers the American Community Survey
to a portion of American households annually by employing the same
data-collection strategies as the decennial census; and 

WHEREAS, these alternatives still preclude the blind from
independently providing census data: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization strongly urge the United States Bureau of the Census to
develop and implement mechanisms for blind Americans to submit decennial
census data independently and participate in annual Community Surveys no
later than April 2011; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist upon being
involved in the development of such mechanisms or policies to ensure that
the blind can comply with federal law and participate meaningfully and
independently in the census. 
------------
Resolution 2010-06
Regarding the Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind

WHEREAS, rapid advances in digital technology have led to the
increased use of touch screens and interactive visual interfaces, replacing
traditional controls such as knobs, switches, and buttons on consumer
electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and office equipment and technology;
and 

WHEREAS, this major shift in technology has rendered most consumer
electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and office equipment and technology
inaccessible through nonvisual means, widening the digital divide between
blind consumers and their sighted peers and threatening the employment,
independence, and productivity of blind people; and 

WHEREAS, methods (such as text-to-speech and sound cues) exist for
manufacturers to make their products accessible; and 

WHEREAS, accessibility is relatively easy and inexpensive to
implement when it is incorporated into the design of a product from the
outset; and 

WHEREAS, Apple, Inc., has demonstrated the feasibility of
incorporating access for blind consumers by incorporating text-to-speech
technology in its entire line of touch-screen consumer electronic products,
allowing blind consumers to use these products without the addition of
third-party applications; and 

WHEREAS, the ability to access and use all functions of consumer
electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and office equipment and technology
independently is essential to a blind person's independence, productivity,
and employment; and 

WHEREAS, on January 27, 2010, Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky of
Illinois introduced the Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind (H.R. 4533)
to address the growing trend of inaccessible consumer electronics, home
appliances, kiosks, and office equipment and technology; and 

WHEREAS, this legislation would establish an office within the
Department of Commerce to conduct a study on how consumer products can be
made accessible to the blind, and then establish minimum nonvisual access
standards for consumer electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and office
equipment and technology: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge the United States Congress to pass the Technology
Bill of Rights for the Blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commend Congresswoman
Schakowsky for her introduction and championship of this initiative. 
------------
Resolution 2010-07
Regarding the Failure of the United States Postal Service
to Comply with the Randolph-Sheppard Act

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act applies to all federal agencies,
including the United States Postal Service; and 

WHEREAS, the Postal Service has at best been inconsistent
historically in honoring the Randolph-Sheppard priority, resulting in lost
opportunities for blind entrepreneurs; and 

WHEREAS, the Postal Service entered into a nationwide contract with
a private entity to provide cafeteria and vending services that are covered
by the Randolph-Sheppard priority without seeking the input of state
licensing agencies (SLAs), the Rehabilitation Services Administration, or
Randolph-Sheppard entrepreneurs; and 

WHEREAS, the Postal Service has failed to ensure that this private
contractor is following the procedures negotiated with the Randolph-Sheppard
community to ensure that any food service opportunity is declined in writing
by an SLA prior to turning it over to its contractor; and 

WHEREAS, the Postal Service has refused to provide SLAs with
complete lists of food service opportunities in each state to facilitate the
independent determination of whether Postmasters and the national contractor
are following the law; and 

WHEREAS, under this nationwide contract both the Postal Service and
the private contractor have a financial incentive not to comply with the
Randolph-Sheppard Act; and 

WHEREAS, the contractor has not consistently complied with the
Randolph-Sheppard Act, resulting in the further denial of opportunities to
blind entrepreneurs and imposing an additional obstacle to obtaining the
Postal Service's full compliance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act: Now,
therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization condemn and deplore the continued failure of the United
States Postal Service to comply with the Randolph-Sheppard Act and demand
that the Postal Service cancel its nationwide cafeteria and vending contract
so that these opportunities can be provided to blind entrepreneurs in
accordance with the law. 
------------
RESOLUTION 2010-08
Regarding Reading Rights for 2010

WHEREAS, the ability to read is critical to living a well-informed
personal and professional life; and 

WHEREAS, blindness and some other disabilities pose challenges to
accessing all available written information fully and efficiently; and 

WHEREAS, text-to-speech technology has helped to remove these access
barriers for the approximately thirty million blind and otherwise
print-disabled people living in the United States; and 

WHEREAS, this heretofore untapped community of eager consumers
promises to benefit publishers and authors; and 

WHEREAS, while a few eReading applications and devices take
advantage of text-to-speech technology to deliver the content of
commercially available eBooks to the blind and others with print
disabilities and other providers of eReading solutions are promising to
provide access, many such devices and applications, such as the Sony Reader
and Barnes and Noble Nook, are still inaccessible to the blind and
print-disabled, and some publishers are still resistant to allowing this
population to access eBooks; and 

WHEREAS, at least two major publishers, Random House and Simon and
Schuster, are still preventing text-to-speech access to all of their titles
available for the Amazon Kindle eReader; and 

WHEREAS, despite repeated promises of access by Amazon, the Kindle
eReader device and the Kindle applications for personal computers and other
devices are still inaccessible to blind users, denying them access to even
those eBooks that are available with text-to-speech; and 

WHEREAS, the solutions employed by some publishers to provide access
such as making their books available through third-party services like
Bookshare.org, are ultimately inadequate because they do not serve all
Americans with print disabilities and rely on the discredited logic of
separate-but-equal access for the blind and print-disabled; and 

WHEREAS, any attempt by authors or publishers to restrict
text-to-speech access to eBooks that are not available as audiobooks
violates the spirit of a joint statement agreed to by the Reading Rights
Coalition (of which the National Federation of the Blind is a founding
member), the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers,
which states in part: 

The Reading Rights Coalition, the Authors Guild, and the Association of
American Publishers believe that the contents of books should be as
accessible to individuals with print disabilities as they are to everyone
else. To that end these groups agree to work together and through the
communities they represent to ensure that, when the marketplace offers
alternative formats to print books such as audio and electronic books,
print-disabled consumers can access the contents of these alternative
formats to the same extent as all other consumers; and 

WHEREAS, civil rights laws and policies in the United States oppose
and protect against acts that thwart equal access and equitable treatment of
the blind and other people with print disabilities: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization reaffirm its call for accessible eBooks and urge all
government procurement agencies, schools, institutions of higher education,
and libraries to exercise diligence in complying with technology-procurement
requirements and state and federal disability nondiscrimination laws and to
insist that mobile eBook readers and eBooks have accessible text-to-speech;
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge all eBook reader
developers and content providers to allow equal access by the blind and
others with print disabilities to the interfaces of their eReaders and to
the content of eBooks; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commend those
providers of eBooks and eBook readers that have incorporated accessibility
for the blind and others with print disabilities in their products and
services. 
------------
RESOLUTION 2010-09
Regarding a Statute of Limitations on Allegations of Overpayment by the
Social Security Administration

WHEREAS, many blind people who receive Social Security Disability
Insurance find that, after receiving benefits for years, they are notified
by letter that a review of their records indicates that they have been
substantially overpaid; and

WHEREAS, it is not uncommon for the Social Security Administration
to make a determination of overpayment more than twenty years after the
fact, requiring that the recipient of benefits produce data showing they
were indeed entitled to the benefits they received in order to appeal the
determination; and

WHEREAS, the record-keeping requirements that this practice imposes
on beneficiaries exceed even those of the Internal Revenue Service and often
present an impossible challenge to the individual recipient, who often has
limited space for filing records; and 

WHEREAS, this practice also places an undue demand on former
employers to supply records, a demand that they are often unable to meet:
Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge the United States Congress to enact a statute of
limitations, not to exceed seven years, in which the Social Security
Administration can attempt to retrieve alleged overpayments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the Congress to
require the Social Security Administration to share with the beneficiary
such evidence as it has in arriving at its determination that an overpayment
has been made.
------------
Resolution 2010-10
Regarding the National Education Technology Plan for 2010

WHEREAS, on March 5, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education's Office
of Educational Technology released a draft National Educational Technology
Plan (NETP) for 2010 entitled "Transforming American Education: Learning
Powered by Technology"; and 

WHEREAS, although the NETP embraces principles of universal design,
it addresses the specific issue of accessibility to the blind and others
with disabilities in only a few paragraphs of its more than one hundred
pages; and 

WHEREAS, at present blind students are consigned to separate and
unequal access to educational materials due to inaccessible technology or
the failure to convert materials into an accessible format in a timely
manner; and 

WHEREAS, with twenty-first century technology, there is no reason
why all educational materials cannot be made immediately accessible to blind
students; and 

WHEREAS, mainstream access for the print disabled occurs when it is
demanded by educational institutions or by state or federal authorities, as
evidenced by (1) the latest version of Blackboard's becoming substantially
more accessible after California State University refused to allow
Blackboard to bid on a contract while its course management software was
inaccessible; (2) iTunes U's becoming fully accessible after the NFB and the
Massachusetts Attorney General threatened Apple's collegiate partners with
lawsuits; and (3) Amazon's announcing it would produce an accessible Kindle
after the Department of Justice secured consent decrees from five colleges
using the device in pilot projects to terminate those projects; and 

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education has an
unprecedented opportunity to provide the leadership necessary to ensure that
emerging educational technologies include equal access for the blind and
others with disabilities in their design and that manufacturers view equal
access as the expected standard: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization express our serious concern that the NETP fails to
recognize the need for the United States Department of Education to provide
concentrated leadership, in both policy and practice, in order to ensure
that blind students and other students with disabilities can take full
advantage of the opportunities offered by emerging educational technologies
in America's classrooms; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urge the
Department of Education to recognize that accessibility of educational
technology to the blind and other students with disabilities must play a
more prominent role within and throughout the NETP; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the United
States Department of Education to conduct research in collaboration with the
National Federation of the Blind and other blindness and print-disability
organizations to create standards for the development of accessible
educational technologies and then to issue regulations requiring
manufacturers of educational technology to adhere to such standards when
producing new technologies, once such standards are published, ensuring that
the nonvisual experience with technology is as rich as the visual experience
and that there is equal ease of access to all functions of the technology,
whether it is being used visually or nonvisually.
------------
Resolution 2010-11
Regarding National Industries for the Blind and the Definition of
"Employment Outcome" in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program

WHEREAS, blind people are capable of working with the sighted,
playing with the sighted, and living with the sighted on terms of complete
equality; and 

WHEREAS, the blind seek the day when we no longer need to assert our
civil rights to be given equal opportunities and to be treated on terms of
equality with our sighted peers, but that day will only come if our lives
are fully integrated with those of the sighted; and

WHEREAS, in enacting the Rehabilitation Act, Congress found that the
blind have the right to enjoy full inclusion and integration in the
economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of
American society; and

WHEREAS, following congressional intent, in January 2001 the U.S.
Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)
issued regulations that redefined the term "employment outcome" as an
outcome in which an individual with a disability enters full or part-time
competitive employment in an integrated setting; and

WHEREAS, before redefining what constitutes an employment outcome
recognizable in the vocational rehabilitation program, many state vocational
rehabilitation agencies limited their blind clients' opportunities to
sheltered, nonintegrated settings, relegating them to working in positions
that pay less than their sighted counterparts receive in the competitive
labor market, to poor opportunity for career advancement, and to work
settings with little opportunity to work alongside their sighted peers; and

WHEREAS, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) has recently
requested that RSA issue guidelines stating that an employment outcome
recognizable by the vocational rehabilitation program include placement of
individuals who are blind and are working in NIB's AbilityOne network of
agencies; and 

WHEREAS, NIB's primary purpose for requesting a change in the
definition of "employment outcome" is to give state vocational
rehabilitation agencies the ability to count placement in NIB programs as
successful employment outcomes for purposes of meeting RSA's mandatory
standards and indicators; and

WHEREAS, although at present NIB's policy is that the blind should
be paid at least the minimum wage, several NIB workshops do not adhere to
this policy, and NIB officials maintain that they cannot require the
workshops to do so; and

WHEREAS, blind people must be allowed to determine for themselves
whether an NIB program is their desired employment outcome and not be
subjected to a vocational rehabilitation system incentivized to achieve easy
placements: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization condemn and deplore National Industries for the Blind's
campaign to change the definition of an "employment outcome"; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urge the
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Commissioner of the
Rehabilitation Services Administration to retain the current definition of
"employment outcome," which will continue to place the emphasis of
rehabilitation on employment in integrated settings rather than on easy
closure of cases or the support of National Industries for the Blind.
------------
Resolution 2010-12
Regarding Developer Guidelines and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
from Vendors of Screen-Access Software

WHEREAS, the ability of blind computer users to use fully the
functions available in word processors, email clients, database programs,
Web browsers, and other Windows-based applications requires screen-access
software to have the information it needs to provide meaningful information
in speech, refreshable Braille, or magnification; and 

WHEREAS, despite a tremendous amount of information published by
Microsoft about developing accessible applications, the accessibility
guidelines and recommendations promulgated by the Worldwide Web Consortium
through its Web Access Initiative, and the standards and guidelines
implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, not enough information
is available for the well-intentioned Windows application developer who
poses the question to the screen-access software developer, "What can I do
to make my application accessible to the blind users of your program?"; and 

WHEREAS, by contrast, developers of applications designed to run on
Apple platforms such as the Macintosh and the iPhone are provided a rich set
of guidelines and application programming interfaces designed to maximize
accessibility to end users of Apple products who rely on access technology;
and 

WHEREAS, experience has shown that, from the perspective of the
blind computer user of Windows software, the most accessible application is
the one that can pass meaningful information directly to the screen-access
program--either through a well-documented application programming interface
or by painting the screen in a way that is calculated to generate meaningful
output from the screen-access technology: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization call upon the manufacturers of Windows-based screen-access
technology for the blind to do one or both of the following to enable
application developers to maximize the accessibility of their software to
the blind: (1) develop a well-documented application programming interface
(API) through which application software can exchange meaningful information
with screen-access technology; and (2) publish clear and definitive
guidelines for application developers that will enable them to make their
applications truly accessible to the blind end user.
------------
Resolution 2010-13
Regarding Insurance Coverage of Accessible Equipment for Diabetics

WHEREAS, standard medical treatment for diabetics calls for the
patient to monitor blood glucose levels so that he or she can make
adjustments in the amount of insulin needed; and 

WHEREAS, certain health insurance plans dictate what brand of
diabetic equipment a member must use to comply with the treatment regimen,
claiming that this strategy controls costs for both the insurer and the
insured; and 

WHEREAS, most insurance companies contract strictly with one
manufacturer, who typically provides only inaccessible blood glucose meters
and inaccessible insulin injection devices, presenting a serious obstacle to
complying with the testing regimen for tens of thousands of blind people
with diabetes; and 

WHEREAS, the failure to place accessible blood glucose meters and
accessible insulin injection devices on the insurers' formulary lists not
only is a barrier to independence for blind diabetics, but also adversely
affects their quality of life because of the added difficulties they must
confront in attempting to manage and control their diabetes; and 

WHEREAS, the only way blind diabetics can acquire an accessible
blood glucose meter or accessible insulin injection device is through a long
and complicated process of submitting extensive medical documentation, and
approval is not guaranteed; and 

WHEREAS, blind people have the same right to health care as their
sighted peers; and 

WHEREAS, insurance companies must no longer be allowed to
discriminate against blind people because of their need for specialized
equipment; and 

WHEREAS, the denial of accessible equipment by insurance companies
undermines the emphasis on preventive care set forth in the 2010 federal
healthcare reform legislation: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization strongly urge the secretary of health and human services
to eliminate discrimination against the blind by requiring that Medicare,
Medicaid, and all other medical insurance programs under the secretary's
jurisdiction cover accessible equipment for diabetics; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urge state
legislatures and regulators to eliminate discrimination against the blind by
requiring private medical insurance companies to cover accessible equipment
for diabetics.
------------
Resolution 2010-14
Regarding Access by the Blind to Virtual Laboratory Experiences in the
Sciences

WHEREAS, science classes have presented access barriers to the blind
for decades; and 

WHEREAS, these barriers have been created by a lack of accessible
equipment and materials and by misconceptions held by science faculty and
teachers of the blind about the capabilities of the blind in these
curricula; and 

WHEREAS, these misconceptions have contributed to a significantly
lower percentage of blind students pursuing careers in science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and 

WHEREAS, increasingly school districts across the United States have
replaced hands-on science learning with online virtual laboratory
experiences; and 

WHEREAS, many of these virtual laboratory experiences are not
accessible using the access technology employed by blind students, thereby
denying them the experience of scientific exploration and discovery; and 

WHEREAS, this lack of educational experience and opportunity will
further decrease the number of blind students seeking to enter STEM
professions; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is creating greater
understanding among teachers by offering challenging STEM-related programs
that serve as a demonstration of the techniques that can be used to
integrate the blind into STEM courses: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge the United States Department of Education to mandate
that all hands-on and virtual laboratory learning experiences be accessible
to blind students so that they can have the same educational opportunities
as their sighted classmates; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization promote legislation as
part of the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA) to provide parents and blind students with legal recourse
provisions in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to require that a
school provide a hands-on science learning experience if an accessible
virtual one cannot be offered; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge technology
companies to work with the National Federation of the Blind to eliminate the
accessibility barriers to virtual laboratory learning experiences, making
them more accessible to the blind of this nation.
------------
Resolution 2010-15
Regarding Discrimination by Airlines Against Blind Passengers

WHEREAS, in an age in which the Internet increasingly dominates the
way business is conducted, air carriers usually make their lowest fares and
deepest discounts available only to those customers who book travel through
airline Websites; and 

WHEREAS, while booking air travel online can be convenient, blind
passengers cannot always take advantage of this service because of
accessibility barriers on airline Websites; and 

WHEREAS, in recognition of this fact the Department of
Transportation issued regulations requiring that, if a passenger with a
disability cannot use an airline Website to book travel because it is
inaccessible and instead calls the airline's customer service number, the
airline must offer the passenger the same air fares and discounts available
on the Website over the telephone and must waive any fee for the use of the
telephone service; and 

WHEREAS, a recent study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Lazar, director of
the Universal Usability Laboratory (UUL) at Towson University in Maryland,
and some of his students found that Websites operated by four out of the ten
U.S. airlines that were studied--Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, United
Airlines, and US Airways--contain accessibility barriers that prevent blind
users from booking travel on these Websites; and 

WHEREAS, this study, which will be published in Government
Information Quarterly, further found that, when the call centers of these
four airlines were contacted by study participants who identified themselves
as blind people needing to book travel by telephone because they could not
access the airline's Website, the airlines did not always follow the
Department of Transportation regulations requiring them to offer the same
air fares to blind customers who call their customer service lines and to
waive the fee for using their call center instead of their Website, even
when specifically informed by the caller of these regulations; and 

WHEREAS, the most egregious violators of these regulations were
United Airlines and US Airways, which failed to follow one or both of these
regulatory requirements in at least a third and as many as 46 percent of the
calls placed to them; and 

WHEREAS, the results of this study are a textbook example of why
government agencies and businesses must not rely on a philosophy of
separate-but-equal access for blind customers, since in reality separate is
never equal; and 

WHEREAS, the only way to ensure truly equal access by the blind and
to prevent discrimination is to require air carriers to maintain accessible
Websites that allow blind customers to perform all of the functions that
sighted customers can perform, particularly the booking of air travel: Now,
therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge the secretary of transportation to issue regulations
requiring all air carriers to maintain accessible Websites that allow blind
customers to perform all of the functions available to sighted customers,
including the booking of air travel; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that the four
airlines whose Websites were identified as having accessibility barriers
take immediate steps to remove those barriers and allow blind customers full
and equal access to their Websites and specifically to the ability to book
air travel online.
------------
Resolution 2010-16
Regarding the Randolph-Sheppard Act and the
Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act applies to all federal contracts
and permits for cafeteria and food services on federal property; and 

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act takes priority over the
Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act in contracts for cafeteria and food services; and 

WHEREAS, notwithstanding the Randolph-Sheppard Act's priority, the
Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled
routinely seeks to add cafeteria and food services to its procurement list
without notice to the Rehabilitation Services Administration or the affected
state licensing agencies; and 

WHEREAS, the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or
Severely Disabled also routinely seeks to add mess-attendant or
dining-facilities-attendant services to the procurement list without notice
to the Rehabilitation Services Administration or the affected state
licensing agencies and without providing information from which it can be
determined whether the services fall under the Randolph-Sheppard Act; and 

WHEREAS, the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or
Severely Disabled has refused to respond to requests for information about
services proposed for addition to the procurement list: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization condemn and deplore the actions of the Committee for
Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled in continuing to
place on the procurement list services that fall under the Randolph-Sheppard
Act; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization condemn and deplore
the refusal of the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or
Severely Disabled to follow appropriate, transparent, and accountable
practices to determine which contracts should be placed on the procurement
list; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the Committee for
Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled and other federal
agencies to provide full details about the services proposed for addition to
the procurement list so that all interested stakeholders can be assured that
the addition complies with all applicable laws; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Committee on
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to take such actions as will require
the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled to
comply with the law.
------------
Resolution 2010-17
Regarding Online Testing

WHEREAS, many school districts throughout the country are now using
online test preparation sites, such as Study Island by CTB/McGraw-Hill, to
aid their students in readying themselves for the assessments used in their
states to determine progress in meeting the goals of the No Child Left
Behind Act and other end-of-course requirements; and 

WHEREAS, Study Island and other preparation and testing sites have
failed to incorporate adequate accessibility features to allow blind or
visually impaired students to access all of the needed information to
prepare for and take pretests; and 

WHEREAS, this inaccessibility is evidenced in designs that convey
essential information to the student by using color, strike-throughs,
unlabeled graphics, and split frames, all of which create barriers for the
blind student; and 

WHEREAS, these barriers result in blind test takers' being evaluated
more on the accessibility of the computer programs used to administer the
pretests than on the content the test is intended to measure; and 

WHEREAS, cooperation with organizations of and for the blind can
result in software solutions that ensure equality of opportunity to blind
students preparing for these all-important tests: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization call upon the United States Department of Education to
ensure that any test preparation company receiving a contract to produce
statewide or national tests or study materials build accessibility features
into its software and make its Websites accessible to the blind; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that until such time as electronically
administered tests and study materials are as usable by the blind as they
are by the sighted, this organization insist that all materials be made
available in hard-copy Braille, large print, and such other alternative
formats as may be necessary to ensure that preparation for and
administration of tests are equally accessible to blind people.
------------
Resolution 2010-18
Regarding the Blind Persons Return to Work Act of 2010

WHEREAS, on January 28, 2010, Senators Christopher Dodd of
Connecticut and John McCain of Arizona introduced the Blind Persons Return
to Work Act of 2010 (S. 2962), the Senate companion to the Blind Persons
Return to Work Act of 2009 (H.R. 886), introduced in the House last year by
Congressman John Lewis of Georgia; and 

WHEREAS, this legislation would encourage blind people to reach
their full employment potential by reforming the Social Security Disability
Insurance (SSDI) program so that blind beneficiaries will lose only one
dollar of benefits for every three dollars earned over the monthly limit,
instead of losing all benefits when they exceed this limit; and 

WHEREAS, this legislation will also relieve administrative burdens
for both the Social Security Administration and blind beneficiaries by
changing the monthly earnings test to an annual test and by setting a fixed
deduction for impairment-related work expenses; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has worked tirelessly
for well over ten years to remove the disincentive to work in the SSDI
program so that blind beneficiaries can transition from SSDI to the
workforce without being penalized for doing so; and 

WHEREAS, in 1999 Congress recognized this problem and passed Ticket
to Work legislation that was supposed to establish a demonstration project
to test the viability of a two-for-one earnings-to-benefit reduction
program; and 

WHEREAS, despite over ten years' having elapsed, the demonstration
project has yet to begin because of changes in leadership and disagreements
among actuaries; and 

WHEREAS, with a 70 percent rate of unemployment and underemployment
for the blind, we cannot wait for the stalled demonstration project to
begin; and 

WHEREAS, the United States Senate is working on a jobs bill to
address the high unemployment rate across America, which affects people with
disabilities even more than the rest of the population: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge the United States Senate to include provisions of the
Blind Persons Return to Work Act of 2010 in the Senate jobs bill to ensure
that blind people can successfully enter the workforce and reach their full
employment potential; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization urge Congress to pass
this jobs bill, thus passing the Blind Persons Return to Work Act; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization commend Congressman
Lewis and Senators Dodd and McCain for their longtime championing of the
Blind Persons Return to Work Act and loyalty to our cause.
------------
Resolution 2010-19
Regarding NLS Restrictions on Foreign-Produced Materials

WHEREAS, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically
Handicapped of the Library of Congress (NLS) has a long history of providing
reading materials in Braille and recorded formats to its patrons; and 

WHEREAS, NLS is able to produce only approximately 2,000 books per
year, a mere fraction of the number of books published in the U.S. each
year; and 

WHEREAS, in recognition of the dearth of books available to its
patrons, NLS has in the past offered materials recorded by libraries and
producers outside the United States through interlibrary loan; and 

WHEREAS, although NLS still permits patrons to borrow Braille
materials from producers outside the U.S., in 2008 following the conversion
to digital audio format and the development of the Braille and Audio Reading
Download program, NLS discontinued interlibrary loan of digital audio
materials from foreign producers; and 

WHEREAS, one of the principal reasons for this discontinuation is
the incompatibility of file formats with the NLS system, which requires
features not available to international producers; and 

WHEREAS, the expectation of greater access to materials created by
the digitization of books is now being curtailed because of the new NLS
policy on digital audio books from foreign producers: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the City of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge NLS immediately to work with foreign producers of
digital audio materials to fulfill the real promise of access made possible
by today's advanced digital technology.
------------
RESOLUTION 2010-20
Regarding Refreshable Braille Notetaker Devices

WHEREAS, the advent of refreshable Braille technology has made
Braille more portable; more flexible; and, best of all, more widely
available than ever before; and 

WHEREAS, refreshable-Braille technology is becoming increasingly
necessary in educating blind children because a rapidly increasing portion
of the reading material is available only in an on-screen format; and 

WHEREAS, the failure to provide blind students with a Braille
interface reduces their opportunity to acquire literacy skills because they
are forced to listen to the material using computer speech output; and 

WHEREAS, personal data assistants with refreshable Braille displays
(more commonly known as electronic notetakers) include the ability for the
user to handle word processing, email, and Web browsing, providing potential
for seamless communication between those who use Braille and those who use
print; and 

WHEREAS, despite the advertised claims that these devices are
compatible with mainstream word processors, the reality is that none of them
allows a Braille user the security of knowing they can author, read, or
collaborate with sighted peers who use current versions of today's popular
applications, even though the Braille devices cost three to four times as
much as the hardware and software used by the general public; and 

WHEREAS, while all of these Braille notetakers advertise access to
the Internet and feature some version of a browser, most do not allow
communication with even the most basic Java scripts used to gain access at
airports and hotels, and they are not compatible with Aria and other
technologies currently being deployed by businesses, Internet providers, and
even social-networking sites; and 

WHEREAS, many of today's mainstream computers, phones, and PDAs can
be accessed in Braille by connecting them to a type of refreshable Braille
display that is not itself a notetaker, giving the user access to the power
and integration of the mainstream device but sacrificing some of the
convenience of an all-in-one device (as are the notetakers): Now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge the designers and manufacturers of notetakers with
refreshable Braille displays to give top priority in their future
development to providing better integration with mainstream devices,
applications, and data; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly encourage
school districts and others involved in the purchase of educational access
technology to acquire refreshable Braille technology for blind students and
to consider the need for integration with mainstream devices, applications,
and data when choosing which devices to purchase. 
------------
Resolution 2010-21
Regarding Manufacture of Accessible Medical Devices

WHEREAS, diabetics must measure the level of glucose in their blood
accurately and draw the correct amount of insulin in order to control their
diabetes and to reduce the risk of diabetic complications; and

WHEREAS, tens of thousands of diabetics need nonvisual access to
equipment such as blood glucose meters and insulin-injection and infusion
devices because diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults of
working age in the United States with thousands losing their vision each
year; and

WHEREAS, the need for nonvisual access is even greater because many
blind and visually impaired senior citizens become diabetic and many
diabetic senior citizens lose vision either temporarily or permanently from
causes other than diabetes; and

WHEREAS, nonvisual access means that a blind person can use all
features, functions, and navigation aspects of a given device, and merely
providing speech output does not constitute true accessibility; and 

WHEREAS, some manufacturers of diabetic equipment incorporate true
nonvisual access features in their devices, but more companies must be
encouraged to follow this practice; and

WHEREAS, to meet the goal of emphasizing wellness programs in the
2010 healthcare reform legislation, the federal government should encourage
manufacturers to ensure true nonvisual access to their devices; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is
currently promulgating regulations for health information technology
programs, but the scope of the regulations should be broadened to include
medical devices as well: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization strongly urge the secretary of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services to incorporate true nonvisual access requirements
for the manufacture of diabetic devices in its health information technology
regulations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist that the
secretary of health and human services create incentives that will lead to
greater accessibility of current and future diabetic equipment.
------------
Resolution 2010-22
Regarding Inaccessible Basic Cell Phones and Smartphones

WHEREAS, more and more manufacturers are introducing basic cell
phones and smartphones with an ever increasing number of capabilities such
as call management, contact management, text messaging, Internet browsing,
and e-mail; and

WHEREAS, some of these phones even have the capability to function
as social networking content aggregators for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and
Windows Live; and 

WHEREAS, despite the requirements of Section 255 of the
Telecommunications Act and best industry practices, as demonstrated by
Apple, for making cell phones accessible to the blind out of the box, too
many manufacturers release cell phones without any way for blind users to
access many of their features; and 

WHEREAS, many companies advertise their commitment to accessibility
but ignore our needs, despite the fact that blind consumers are now, and
have been for many years, purchasers of basic cell phones and smartphones:
Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization condemn and deplore the release of these inaccessible
basic cell phones and smartphones by manufacturers in flagrant disregard of
both their legal obligations and their obligation to provide equal access to
their products for all consumers, including the blind; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that
manufacturers follow the lead of Apple and immediately take steps to provide
equal access for the blind to all current and future basic cell phones and
smartphones.
------------
Resolution 2010-23
Regarding Sirius XM Radio, Inc.

WHEREAS, Sirius XM Radio, Inc., is the sole provider in the United
States of radio programming delivered by satellite to paid subscribers using
receivers specifically designed to receive these satellite transmissions;
and 

WHEREAS, the service provided by Sirius XM offers a wide variety of
audio programming, including most genres of music, live sporting events,
news, talk, comedy, and both classic and contemporary radio drama; and 

WHEREAS, despite the fact that Sirius XM is a radio service, the
units that subscribers must purchase in order to receive the service have
visual displays to convey information to the listener such as the title and
artist of the current song being played or the score of the sporting event
to which the listener is tuned; and 

WHEREAS, Sirius XM also transmits some information exclusively to
the visual display such as the latest stock quotes and the current
temperature and weather conditions when a user is tuned to its traffic and
weather channels; and 

WHEREAS, sighted users of the service can perform a number of tasks
such as viewing the current time, date, signal reception, and battery status
of the receiver; setting the receiver to record a scheduled program; viewing
what is playing across the service without switching stations; organizing
recorded music and programs; creating, organizing, and navigating a list of
favorite channels; and much more, but these features are not available to
blind users because they cannot read the visual display; and 

WHEREAS, like many other consumer electronic products, Sirius XM
radio receivers increasingly rely on touch screens and interactive visual
interfaces to accomplish all tasks, rather than traditional buttons,
switches, or knobs, making it difficult for blind users to access even the
basic features of these receivers; and 

WHEREAS, despite these barriers to full access to the Sirius XM
satellite radio service, many blind Americans have purchased subscriptions
to the service because of its wide variety of quality radio programming, and
it is likely that many more would do so if Sirius XM were to make its radio
receivers accessible; and 

WHEREAS, the technology to make these receivers accessible already
exists and has been implemented in other personal entertainment devices such
as Apple's iPod and iPhone product lines and the DICE ITR-100-A HD radio;
and 

WHEREAS, accessible Sirius XM receivers that allow users to access
all functions nonvisually would not only benefit blind consumers, but would
also be ideal for older Americans who are losing vision, for those with
other disabilities that prevent them from reading print, and for the many
subscribers who use the service in their cars, since they would be able to
control their satellite radios with less distraction from driving: Now,
therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization urge Sirius XM Radio, Inc., to make its receivers fully
accessible to blind subscribers.
------------
Resolution 2010-24
Regarding the Worldwide Reading Rights Campaign and the
Right to Get Accessible Texts from Throughout the World

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has led the way in
advancing the rights of the blind to gain access to published works on the
national and international levels; and 

WHEREAS, the Federation's national efforts resulted in passage of
the Chafee Amendment to U.S. copyright law, which permits authorized
entities to reproduce published works in accessible formats without
permission from the copyright holder; and 

WHEREAS, the vast majority of the countries of the world do not
possess such laws or possess laws that are much weaker; and 

WHEREAS, generally speaking, international copyright law does not
currently permit the sharing of accessible texts across international
borders, with the result that blind people in the United States cannot get
access to hundreds of thousands of works in accessible formats produced in
other countries, and blind people throughout the rest of the world cannot
get access to the United States collection, creating a worldwide book
famine, in which less than one percent of all published works are available
to the blind in accessible formats; and 

WHEREAS, this inability to share accessible books across borders and
the international inconsistency in copyright law lead either to needless
duplication in the conversion of published works into accessible formats or
to no access at all; and 

WHEREAS, to address this book famine, the National Federation of the
Blind worked with the World Blind Union (WBU) to draft a proposed treaty
that would legalize the cross-border sharing of accessible works and also
harmonize copyright exceptions to create an atmosphere in which even greater
numbers of accessible works can be produced; and 

WHEREAS, in 2008 the WBU brought this proposed treaty before the
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an entity of the United
Nations, through original sponsorship by Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay, and
later by Mexico; and 

WHEREAS, from June 21 through 24, 2010, WIPO's Standing Committee on
Copyright (SCCR) conducted its twentieth regular session (SCCR 20) in
Geneva, where the WBU-proposed treaty and three other proposals on the same
topic received extensive consideration; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind received official
standing as an authorized non-governmental organization (NGO) and gave an
intervention in favor of the WBU-proposed treaty and/or some other binding
international legal instrument; and 

WHEREAS, the SCCR cannot make recommendations unless all nations
present agree; and 

WHEREAS, after years of negotiation between governments and NGOs, it
appeared that a proposal would go forward at SCCR 20 that would have led to
binding international legal instruments within a definite time; and 

WHEREAS, at the last minute, despite the Herculean efforts of the
WBU community, the U.S. government delegation, and the Latin American block
of countries, the African Union countries withdrew their support for the
negotiated proposal, stating that one of their issues (gaining copyright
exceptions for educational, research, and archive purposes) must proceed at
the same pace as the issue affecting the blind, even though the African
Union's proposal addresses an entirely different subject and is not as well
developed at this time: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization reaffirm its support for the World Blind Union's proposed
Treaty for the Visually Impaired; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization express its great
outrage and disappointment that the African Union chose to hijack the
proposed WBU treaty and related proposals, an action needlessly delaying
relief from the worldwide book famine for blind people; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commend the U.S.
government delegation's efforts in Geneva to keep the process moving
forward; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the U.S.
government to work closely with the National Federation of the Blind, the
WBU, and other governments to find a way forward to the adoption of binding
international norms and legal instruments that permit cross-border sharing
of accessible works and harmonize copyright exceptions as part of the
overall effort to secure the right of blind people to read published works
on the same terms as the rest of the world population.
------------
Resolution 2010-25
Regarding Civil Rights Protection of Blind People
and Their Service Animals in Public Accommodations

WHEREAS, the purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is "the
removal of the legal, social, and economic barriers faced by the blind" so
that we will achieve "full integration into society on terms of equality";
and 

WHEREAS, discrimination by places of public accommodation is one of
the barriers faced by the blind, especially among those who choose to use a
guide dog as their mobility tool; and 

WHEREAS, state laws vary in the protection from discrimination that
they offer to their blind citizens; and 

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits
discrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations and
offers greater protection against discrimination than many state laws; and 

WHEREAS, many states have laws that contain provisions that are
incongruent with the ADA such as requirements that service animals wear
specific gear, provisions for muzzling, requirements for documentation,
language concerning certifications that do not exist, and prohibitions of
service animals in zoos, all of which are considered discriminatory under
the ADA; and 

WHEREAS, although the ADA has been in existence for twenty years,
many states have not bothered to change their laws to conform to the ADA;
and 

WHEREAS, a large majority of states provide criminal penalties for
discrimination on the basis of disability, allowing law enforcement to
intervene, generally resulting in an immediate resolution of such access
issues while providing appropriate penalties for more serious infractions;
and 

WHEREAS, criminal penalties allow a more expeditious resolution of
such access issues (benefiting the disabled community in general and society
as a whole) by addressing discrimination at the local level, while relieving
individuals from the burden of costly litigation and prolonged civil
processes: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2010, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that
this organization call upon state legislatures to examine their statutes for
parity with the ADA, removing provisions that are not in conformity with
this federal law; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the
remaining states that do not provide criminal penalties for discrimination
against blind guide dog users to promote and protect the equal rights of
their blind citizens more effectively by creating criminal penalties for
acts of discrimination; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge all states to
protect the civil rights of the blind by vigorous enforcement of the law. 



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