[nfbwatlk] Seminar recap
M J via nfbwatlk
nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Mon May 26 21:12:53 UTC 2014
Thirty Federationists gathered on May 18th in Seattle for a jam-packed day of learning discussion and action.
Members came from Spokane, Vancouver, Seattle, Marysville, Bellingham, Sequim, Tacoma and Oak Harbor. Some were veterans and some were new to the NFB.
Representative Eileen Cody talked with us about some very practical aspects of passing legislation including the process a bill goes through, the state legislative committee structure, how she legislators priori tie communications from and appointments requested by constituents and what times of the year are best for working on starting to get a bill introduced. We discussed the need for more children to be taught braille. Ms. Cody explained that the OSPI has little enforcement power. This is due to the very strong emphasis on local control in school matters. She said that the legislature is unlikely to deal with any state transportation funding and will be focusing its attention to the state Supreme Court ruling concerning funding of basic education. Depending on the ligislative climate and the November elections, we may want to look at amending our state’s Help Amerce Vote Act to increase availability of Accessible voting machines.
We spent some time in small groups: getting to know each other better and developing skits about legislative issues, which were performed for the whole audience. two groups performed skits about the minimum wage issue, and the other two performed skits about the lack of accessible voting machines. Some Congresspeople were portrayed as helpful and others were condescending or corrupt. A good time was had by all.The skits were very entertaining and showcased each group’s interest in the issues.
We decided to form a statewide transportation committee. Committee members can discuss strategies which can be implemented at the local level. Perhaps, in a few years, we can look at supporting some kind of statewide transportation funding package.
Ellyn Lee is a blind woman from Bellingham who wants to reconstitute a Whatcom County chapter. We decided to work towards having this chapter up and developed by the time of our state convention. Several members offered to assist Ellyn.
There was a good discussion concerning the need for statewide fundraising events. Many members were interested in holding a braille read-a-thin to be held in October (Meet The Blind Month). This will either take place all around the state or at our state convention. The Name It will be called “The March of Dots”.
A 50/50 drawing was held, which raised $70 for the NFBW. Ron Snyder won the other $70.
Unlike state convention, there were no outside speakers except for Rep. Cody. This gave the membership time to plan the future of the NFBW in a relaxed setting. New friendships were made and old ones strengthened. Everyone had something to contribute, and all ideas and opinions were received openly. The seminar was an important part of the work of our affiliate and and of building our sense of being one team whose purpose is to improve the lives of blind people in Washington.
Onward we go!
NFB of Washington
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