National Federation of the Blind
Resolutions for 2016

Resolution 2016-01

Regarding the Introduction of the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) Act

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, has made access to all aspects of the educational experience for blind students a priority and since 2013 has actively sought congressional support for digital accessibility legislation that will expand the circle of participation to fully include students who are blind or print disabled at institutions of higher education nationwide; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has led efforts to bring about consensus among all relevant stakeholders to support such legislation by engaging in negotiations with the Association of American Publishers, the American Council on Education, EDUCAUSE®, and the Software and Information Industry Association, while also seeking input from other disability organizations; and

WHEREAS, these negotiations have culminated in the successful drafting of the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) Act, which will authorize a purpose-based commission comprised of representatives from all relevant stakeholder communities to develop voluntary accessibility guidelines that will be beneficial to both developers and manufacturers of postsecondary electronic instructional materials and related technologies, as well as to the institutions that procure such materials and related technologies; and

WHEREAS, the purpose-based commission will also develop an annotated list of existing national and international IT standards as an additional resource for institutions of higher education and companies that service the higher education market to provide information about the applicability of such standards in higher education settings; and

WHEREAS, Congressman Phil Roe from Tennessee’s First Congressional District has recognized the importance of digital accessibility and has demonstrated a commitment to equal access by agreeing promptly to introduce the AIM HE Act to the United States House of Representatives: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization commend Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee’s First Congressional District for recognizing the importance of digital accessibility by championing the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act in the United States House of Representatives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the United States Congress to act swiftly to provide consideration and a floor vote to the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act, thereby ensuring that blind, and otherwise print-disabled, students are afforded the same educational benefits provided to nondisabled students so that they can live the lives they want.


Resolution 2016-02

Regarding Space Available Travel for Veterans Discharged from the Military for a Disability Prior to September 23, 1996

WHEREAS, the budget-neutral Space Available program, operated by the Air Mobility Command, allows members of the active military, retirees, and others to fly on military aircraft if space is available; and

WHEREAS, Congress recognized that servicemen and women who became disabled fighting to protect the homeland deserve the same benefits as retired members of the Armed Forces and therefore classified anyone discharged from the service due to disability from a combat-related injury occurring after September 23, 1996, as medically retired; and

WHEREAS, Congress failed to make this re-categorization automatically retroactive to include disabled veterans discharged due to an injury occurring prior to September 23, 1996, thus preventing these heroes from participating in the Space Available program; and

WHEREAS, the National Association of Blind Veterans, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, believes that all disabled veterans discharged from the military due to disability should be allowed to participate in the Space Available program; and

WHEREAS, the House Committee on Armed Services staff met with the National Federation of the Blind in person and maintained an open line of communication while they crafted the National Defense Authorization Act; and

WHEREAS, Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas included H.R. 2264 in the base House National Defense Authorization Act; and

WHEREAS, on May 18, 2016, the United States House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act; and

WHEREAS, Senators Ayotte and Hirono fought for the inclusion of the Equal Access to Air Travel bill, S. 2596, into the Senate National Defense Authorization Act; and

WHEREAS, Senator Bob Dole wrote Senator McCain on multiple occasions urging him to allow all medically discharged veterans the right to participate in Space Available; and

WHEREAS, Senators Heller and Tester offered a floor amendment, Senate Amendment 4235, to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have included the same language from the House National Defense Authorization Act in the Senate version to end the unequal treatment of disabled veterans based on when they were injured; and

WHEREAS, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senator McCain, and Ranking Member Reed refused to include S. 2596 into the base bill and refused to allow a vote on the amendment or allow its inclusion in a manager’s amendment; and

WHEREAS, the House and Senate will appoint conferees later this year to conference and combine their respective bills into one: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization commend the Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, Congressman Mac Thornberry, the House Committee on Armed Services staff, and Congressmen Bilirakis, Nugent, and Moulton for their efforts to end the unequal treatment of medically discharged disabled veterans in the Space Available program based on the date they were injured; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind commend Senators Heller, Ayotte, Hirono, and Tester, as well as former Senator Bob Dole, for their efforts to include S. 2596 in the National Defense Authorization Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind demand that the conference committee end the unequal treatment of our nation’s blind or otherwise disabled veterans in the Space Available program by adopting the language in Section 1046 of the National Defense Authorization Act passed in the House.


Resolution 2016-03

Regarding the Swift Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (or “Marrakesh Treaty”)

WHEREAS, in June 2013 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) convened a diplomatic conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, in order to deliberate on a treaty to address the book famine plaguing over three hundred million blind, low-vision, and print-disabled people across the globe, who are denied access to more than 95 percent of published works; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind was one of the key negotiators in Marrakesh, expressing strong support for the treaty, which was signed by the United States on October 2, 2013; and

WHEREAS, after more than two and a half years of subsequent deliberation and negotiation among the members of the United States intergovernmental working group tasked with developing the Marrakesh Treaty’s implementing legislation, President Barack Obama submitted the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled ratification and implementing legislation packages to the United States Senate for its advice and consent on February 10, 2016; and

WHEREAS, since its transmission to the US Senate, six additional countries have succeeded in ratifying the treaty within their borders, bringing the total number of countries ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty to twenty, and twenty are required to bring the treaty into force: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the United States Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty to provide its advice and consent for the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled without delay; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon all relevant stakeholders to make a good faith effort to encourage the US Senate to consider the Marrakesh Treaty before the conclusion of the second session of the 114th Congress.


Resolution 2016-04

Regarding Apple’s Inadequate Testing of Software Releases

WHEREAS, Apple, Inc. has made VoiceOver, a free and powerful screen-access program, an integral part of many of its products, including the Apple Macintosh, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and iPad; and

WHEREAS, when a significant software update for one of these products is released, there are often accessibility bugs that impact the usability of the product by blind users, causing them to lose their productivity or their ability to perform certain job duties when the use of Apple devices is required; and

WHEREAS, recent updates have included a large number of serious, moderate, and minor bugs that have made it difficult or impossible for blind people to perform various tasks such as answering calls, browsing the internet, entering text into forms, or adding individuals to the Contacts Favorites list; and

WHEREAS, for example, after iOS 9.0 was released, some iPhones running VoiceOver occasionally became unresponsive when getting a phone call, and there was no way to choose any option on screen; and

WHEREAS, although this issue was fixed in a new release of iOS, it would not have occurred if Apple had conducted more thorough testing with VoiceOver; and

WHEREAS, another example of inadequate testing by Apple involves VoiceOver failing to render the contents of the screen when a user attempts to add a contact to the Favorites list in the phone app and has multiple contact groups from which to select; and

WHEREAS, because Apple products and its accessibility tools are built by the same company, there is no need to share confidential information with partners that may affect the normal development of the software; and

WHEREAS, we recognize the efforts made by Apple to inform developers about the accessibility features built into Apple products and encourage the company to keep working in that direction; however several accessibility issues still appear with new software releases even when they have been reported during beta testing; and

WHEREAS, it is vital that Apple give priority to addressing bugs that have an impact on accessibility before releasing software updates: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon Apple to make nonvisual access a major priority in its new and updated software by improving its testing of new releases to ensure that nonvisual access is not limited or compromised; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon Apple to work actively to incorporate feedback from testers who use VoiceOver during the beta testing phase of software development to ensure that accessibility for blind individuals is properly and fully addressed.


Resolution 2016-05

Regarding Equal Access for Educational Internships

WHEREAS, educational internships are often a curricular requirement for graduation from a college or university; and

WHEREAS, educational internships can provide graduates with invaluable experiences and training that enhance graduates’ likelihood of being hired in their chosen career fields; and

WHEREAS, Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit colleges and universities from discrimination against and disparate treatment of individuals with disabilities, and ultimately mandate the provision of equal access to opportunities for such persons; and

WHEREAS, Americans with Disabilities Act protections include off-campus educational internships offered as a part of a school’s programs, services, and benefits; and

WHEREAS, blind students regularly face discrimination by college internship coordinators who fail to coordinate auxiliary aids for off-campus internships and mistakenly believe that blindness will limit a student’s ability to perform an internship: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization hereby condemn and deplore the actions of colleges and universities that have restricted blind students’ participation in educational internships, required blind students to complete internships only with assistance from sighted peers, or denied accommodations within these internships; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we demand that colleges and universities implement procedures, train employees, and otherwise take active measures to ensure that educational internships are fully, equally, and independently accessible to blind students.


Resolution 2016-06

Regarding Releasing Web Access Regulations under ADA Titles II and III

WHEREAS, President Barack Obama called the release of web access regulations under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “the most important updates to the ADA since its original enactment”; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on July 26, 2010, putting the public on notice that DOJ intended to issue guidance to state and local governments as well as places of public accommodation on how to comply with web access requirements under the ADA; and

WHEREAS, a proposed rule with respect to public entities covered by Title II of the ADA was submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on July 9, 2014, leading state and local governments and consumers to believe that much-needed guidance in the area of web accessibility was imminent; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to the release of the proposed Title II rule, and despite the need for guidance from DOJ and the rising number of lawsuits from around the nation resulting from the absence of such guidance on how to comply with Titles II and III of the ADA, DOJ announced that it had decided to delay the release of regulations under Title III of the ADA (which governs places of public accommodation) until an unspecified date; and

WHEREAS, on April 29, 2016, DOJ announced that it was also withdrawing the proposed Title II rule, thereby further delaying regulatory guidance on how to comply with web accessibility requirements for state and local governments; and

WHEREAS, while blind Americans remain unable to access many of the websites offering information, goods, and services that are available to the general public, DOJ has issued a Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and requested further comments with respect to Title II regulations, propounding questions that have already been asked and answered since the ANPRM was first announced six years ago: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization condemn and deplore the Obama administration's repeated delay tactics in issuing the much-needed guidance for public entities and public accommodations with respect to the information, goods, and services that they provide via the internet; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the administration to release the regulations that will provide guidance on web accessibility as authorized under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act without further delay; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge all political and civic leaders to join with us in calling on this administration to fulfill the promise made and bring clarity to the accessibility of public information, commerce, and education in the twenty-first century.


Resolution 2016-07

Regarding MathML

WHEREAS, MathML is increasingly used for coding and presentation of math web content; and

WHEREAS, MathML can be interpreted by screen access technology; and

WHEREAS, different access technology packages choose to implement and rely on different methods of interpreting MathML, and not all technologies even implement MathML; and

WHEREAS, this inconsistency causes problems for web developers when developing accessible web content: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization encourage all access technology manufacturers to implement MathML support; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on manufacturers to standardize the features of MathML that will be relied upon and the methods in which the content will be accessed, so as to provide a consistent experience for users and web developers alike.


Resolution 2016-08

Regarding Protecting the Civil Rights of Blind Parents

WHEREAS, protecting the rights of parents with disabilities is a notion that, incredibly, was rejected by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200 (1927), in which Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind”; and

WHEREAS, this insulting and unjustified view that people with disabilities, including blind people, are somehow “manifestly unfit” to be parents (or otherwise to live the lives they want and to participate as members of society with all rights and privileges associated therewith) has too often continued to prevail in the courts even as we move further into the twenty-first century; and

WHEREAS, this bias is reflected in matters involving adoption and guardianship and in contested child custody proceedings, because blind parents have been perceived by the courts, child protection agencies, guardians ad litem, hospital staff, and others as incapable of caring adequately for their children’s needs, which has resulted in blind parents routinely being denied the right to be parents without unfair bias or unnecessary overreach by government entities; and

WHEREAS, for most people a fundamental aspect of living life to the fullest includes the joy of being a parent and sharing in the nurturing, growth, and development of a child; and

WHEREAS, being a parent and raising children is a fundamental right which is protected under the Constitution of the United States of America by the First and Ninth Amendments thereto and under the Fourteenth Amendment as applied to the states; and 

WHEREAS, in the case of blind parents, there is a need to protect this fundamental constitutional right; yet nearly forty states have no laws at all to protect the right of blind citizens to be parents and raise their children without being fearful of discriminatory treatment or unnecessary inquiries of fitness solely based on blindness: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon state legislatures across the nation to enact laws that establish procedural safeguards to protect the right of blind people to be parents and prohibit discriminatory presumptions of manifest unfitness solely because a parent (or prospective parent) happens to be blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge state attorneys general, in protecting the best interest of the child(ren) in each proceeding, to use their good offices affirmatively to protect blind parents in every state against discrimination and bias based solely upon blindness and to urge the courts, guardians ad litem, and officials of child protection agencies to base decisions about what is in the best interest of the child on issues regarding fitness to parent, not on blindness.


Resolution 2016-09

Regarding the Accessibility of Integrated Development Environments for Blind Developers

WHEREAS, development environments in principle offer an equal footing to sighted and blind developers; and

WHEREAS, many integrated development environments (IDEs) are largely accessible to blind developers, as is the case with Microsoft’s Visual Studio; and

WHEREAS, many prominent IDEs and tools such as SublimeText and the Arduino IDE remain closed to blind developers: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urge developers of integrated development environments and other development tools to build and expand their products with blind developers in mind.


Resolution 2016-10

Regarding the Application of the Randolph-Sheppard Act to Military Dining Facilities

WHEREAS, in 1974 Congress expanded the priority for blind persons to operate vending facilities on federal property under the Randolph-Sheppard Act by specifying that the priority applies to contracts for cafeterias, subsequently interpreted to include military dining halls; and

WHEREAS, as stated in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress defined food service contracts to include “full food services, mess attendant services, or services supporting the operation of all or any part of a military dining facility”; and

WHEREAS, on June 7, 2016, the Department of Defense issued proposed regulations which, if implemented, would disregard the law defining food service contracts, and limit opportunities for the blind to contracts for dining hall management rather than giving priority to the blind under food service contracts as defined in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act and to all contracts pertaining to operation of cafeterias, as specified in existing regulations of the Department of Education issued to implement the Randolph-Sheppard Act; and

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act charges the United States Department of Education, not the Department of Defense, with prescribing regulations to assure that licensed blind persons are given priority in the operation of vending facilities and cafeterias on all federal property, stating unambiguously in the Randolph-Sheppard Act that any limitation on the placement or operation of a vending facility must be fully justified in writing to the Secretary of Education, who shall determine if such limitation is justified; and

WHEREAS, the professed authority relied upon by the Department of Defense to promulgate regulations is merely a statement signed by the Chairmen of the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively and was never voted upon by Congress or any committee within Congress; and

WHEREAS, by restricting the priority for the blind to contracts for food service management only, the proposed regulations would eventually replace approximately forty-five blind vendors who now have military dining service contracts with contracts awarded to the Source America/AbilityOne Program, a program that is being investigated by a federal grand jury for corruption, fraud, and failing to hire and maintain the number/percentage of disabled workers required by law: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization demand withdrawal of the Department of Defense proposed regulations pertaining to military dining services, recognizing that the currently effective regulations of the Department of Education pertaining to the award of cafeteria contracts supersede those of any other federal department; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist that the Department of Education clearly instruct the Department of Defense that the Department of Education’s regulations mean that a current non-blind operated contract for military dining services cannot be entered into or renewed unless a contract opportunity has been offered to the blind as provided by the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

Resolution 2016-11

Regarding the Need for Interstate Uniformity in the Determination of Eligibility for Special Education Services under the Disability Category of “Visual Impairment, Including Blindness”

WHEREAS, in 1966 the United States Congress recognized the importance of educating children with disabilities in the regular education classroom by amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to include Title VI—Aid to Handicapped Children, which provided grant funding for schools serving disabled students; and

WHEREAS, in 1974 the US Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which expanded the initial grant funding and required public schools to allow students with disabilities to attend their institutions; and

WHEREAS, nineteen years ago, in 1997, the IDEA was amended and the implementing regulations issued pursuant to this amendment defined ‘‘visual impairment including blindness’’ to mean an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance and the term includes both partial sight and blindness and subsequent amendments to the IDEA and its implementing regulations have retained this definition in its entirety; and

WHEREAS, states are required by IDEA implementing regulations to determine whether the child is a child with a disability, as defined by the statute; and

WHEREAS, twenty-three states have created eligibility criteria in addition to those set forth in the federal definition of “visual impairment, including blindness,” and these additional eligibility criteria exclude some children who otherwise meet the federal definition from receiving special education services to which they are entitled under federal law and violate the state’s duty to use the definitions issued pursuant to the IDEA to make eligibility determinations: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon each state department of education to ensure that its special education regulations define the disability of “visual impairment, including blindness” using the definition issued by the implementing regulations pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and eliminate any additional eligibility criteria; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to audit each state’s definition of the disability of “visual impairment, including blindness” to ensure that a child’s eligibility for special education is not dependent upon that child’s state of residence.


Resolution 2016-12

Regarding Making Autonomous Vehicle Technologies Accessible to Consumers Who Are Blind

WHEREAS, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), seven jurisdictions—California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington DC—have enacted legislation related to the operation of autonomous vehicles since 2011; and

WHEREAS, while most states to date have not enacted autonomous vehicle legislation, NCSL statistics reveal that such legislation was introduced in six states in 2012, nine states in 2013, twelve states in 2014, and sixteen states in 2015; and

WHEREAS, recent congressional hearings and proceedings before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) clearly indicate that the United States government also intends to consider potential legislation and regulations related to the design and operation of fully self-driving automobiles; and

WHEREAS, the Honorable Anthony Foxx, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), in an announcement made at the North American International Auto Show in January of 2016 in Detroit, Michigan, committed nearly $4 billion over the next ten years to the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation and updated NHTSA’s policy on autonomous vehicles to include plans during 2016 to propose guidance to industry on the safe operation of fully autonomous vehicles; and

WHEREAS, proponents of autonomous vehicle technologies have testified at congressional hearings and administrative committee meetings, offered comments at public forums, and explained in the press how the advent of fully self-driving cars will be most beneficial to people with disabilities who are not now permitted to drive on our nation’s roads and highways; and

WHEREAS, despite this advocacy by manufacturers and organizations that support the proliferation of autonomous vehicles, most autonomous vehicle technology being deployed today, ironically, is in fact not accessible to people with disabilities or to blind people; and

WHEREAS, early intervention is absolutely necessary in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle technology because the seven jurisdictions that have adopted autonomous vehicle legislation so far require that a licensed driver be present while the autonomous vehicle is in operation, which defeats the purpose of having a truly self-driving car in the first place; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has done more to promote nonvisual access to all types of technology (including the operation of motor vehicles) than any government entity, manufacturer, or advocacy organization promoting the proliferation of autonomous vehicles or the rights of people with disabilities:  Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization reaffirm its position as a stakeholder in the proliferation of fully self-driving cars, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the private sector, as well as government entities at all levels, to work with the National Federation of the Blind to create nonvisual accessibility standards for all technologies related to autonomous vehicles; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon national associations that support the proliferation of autonomous vehicles, as well as organizations promoting the rights of people with disabilities, to join with the National Federation of the Blind to advocate for nonvisual accessibility in all autonomous vehicle technologies so that all people, including those who are blind, may benefit from these technologies.


Resolution 2016-13

Regarding the Target Corporation's Commitment to Web Accessibility

WHEREAS, accessible websites allow blind and other disabled users a greater measure of independence and convenience than inaccessible websites and offer the same convenience accorded to sighted users who do not wish to travel to brick-and-mortar locations; and

WHEREAS, Target has formed a longstanding partnership with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that its products and services are accessible to disabled customers, particularly those who are blind; and

WHEREAS, Target has proven its commitment to creating websites and applications that conform to the leading industry standard for web accessibility, WCAG 2.0 Level AA; and

WHEREAS, Target is the first organization to partner with the National Federation of the Blind in its Strategic Nonvisual Access Partnership Program; and

WHEREAS, Target shows every indication of continuing its commitment to the accessibility of its services in the future: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization commend Target on the excellent quality of its website's accessibility and on its continued efforts to make its site and services fully usable and accessible for all users, both now and in the future.


Resolution 2016-14

Regarding the Preservation of Access to Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation for Blind Students in the United States

WHEREAS, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) passed a motion on November 12, 2012, adopting Unified English Braille to replace the current English Braille, American Edition in the United States, while maintaining the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, 1972 Revision and published updates; the Music Braille Code 1997; and the IPA Braille Code, 2008; and

WHEREAS, BANA has issued “Provisional Guidance for Transcription Using the Nemeth Code within UEB Contexts,” which sets forth the minor changes needed to incorporate UEB as the literary component of mathematics and technical materials to replace the function formerly performed by the English Braille, American Edition (EBAE) code; and

WHEREAS, each state was tasked with creating a customized plan for implementation of UEB, and while all states have adopted UEB to replace EBAE as the literary Braille code for students in elementary and secondary schools, there is a split with regard to Braille code for technical materials (mathematics and science); and

WHEREAS, this split has emerged because BANA has failed to confirm unequivocally its 2012 motion to retain Nemeth Code for use in technical materials and now opines that it cannot “reach consensus regarding the establishment of a single standard code for technical materials for [B]raille in the United States,” leaving the decision to use UEB or the Nemeth Code within UEB context for technical materials up to each individual state; and

WHEREAS, while the majority of states, including textbook leaders California and Texas, are implementing the 2012 BANA resolution and retaining Nemeth Code, a few states are deciding to reject portions of the 2012 BANA resolution and are adopting UEB for technical materials; and

WHEREAS, there is no certification for the transcription of technical material into UEB  technical materials, yet despite the lack of qualified, certified transcribers, states choosing to utilize UEB for technical materials and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) are producing curricular material in UEB for technical materials; and

WHEREAS, the fundamental differences between Nemeth Code and UEB for technical materials create time-consuming reinstruction for both students and teachers when switching between Nemeth Code and UEB for technical materials, and producing the same curricular material in two different codes is an inefficient use of limited educational resources; and

WHEREAS, the concurrent use of two different Braille codes for technical materials creates unnecessary barriers for students and teachers moving from one state to another and also produces inefficiencies in the preparation of teachers of blind students by requiring the teaching of both codes in order to prepare all teachers properly to serve all blind students; and

WHEREAS, the concurrent use of two different Braille codes for technical materials generates additional need for professional development of teachers of blind students, which unnecessarily reduces time available to keep up with technology and other emerging trends in the education of blind students; and

WHEREAS, since 1952, the use of the Nemeth Code in the United States has been beneficial to and supportive of blind students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields; the Nemeth Code is more efficient than UEB for technical materials in terms of writing math at all instructional levels; and the Nemeth Code is more efficient than UEB for technical materials in terms of using technology for writing math: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the Braille Authority of North America to state unequivocally that the Nemeth Code, with the guidance for Nemeth in UEB contexts, is the only standard for mathematics Braille in the United States; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon each state legislature, should BANA continue to neglect its duty to establish a single standard code for Braille technical materials in the United States, to require its state department of education to eliminate needless confusion and unnecessary cost by unequivocally adopting the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, with BANA's guidance for Nemeth in UEB contexts as the standard for math Braille; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon each university preparation program to eliminate needless confusion and unnecessary cost by unequivocally adopting the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, with BANA's guidance for Nemeth in UEB contexts, as the standard for math Braille.


Resolution 2016-15

The Right of the Blind to Access Exercise Equipment in Fitness Facilities

WHEREAS, the fitness industry is on the rise with over thirty-four thousand health clubs across the United States and with countless more hotels, universities, and work places offering consumers and employees access to fitness facilities; and

WHEREAS, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, and the United States Access Board guidelines specific to sports facilities seek to provide guidance so that places of public accommodation, including stand-alone fitness facilities or fitness facilities in hotels, universities, or places of work, are approachable, functional, and usable by persons with disabilities in a safe, independent, and dignified manner, which includes their facility access, membership, and access to exercise equipment;

WHEREAS, the current Access Board standards are primarily focused on rendering the built environment accessible and say very little about accessibility of fitness equipment for people who are blind;

WHEREAS, the 2015 “Standard Specification for Universal Design of Fitness Equipment for Inclusive Use by Persons with Functional Limitations and Impairments” created by ASTM International, Subcommittee F08.30, an international standard-setting body, is designed to provide manufacturers the tools they need to produce accessible equipment but does not provide purchasing guidance for fitness facilities; and

WHEREAS, many fitness facilities contain equipment that must be operated with a flat screen, touch screen, or other technology that has not been made accessible to the blind; and

WHEREAS, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services publication Healthy People 2020 and numerous other scholarly publications, individuals who are blind are twice as likely to be obese as individuals in the general population, leading to increased instances of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, sleep apnea, certain site-specific cancers, and osteoarthritis; and

WHEREAS, significantly limited access to fitness facilities due to inaccessible exercise equipment makes it increasingly difficult for individuals who are blind to meet the surgeon general’s recommendation of one-hundred fifty minutes of moderate physical activity weekly to help reduce obesity and offset other negative health consequences: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly encourage health clubs, hotels, universities, workplace fitness facilities, and other fitness facilities open to the public to provide full and meaningful access on a nonvisual basis to fitness and exercise equipment, thereby complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s general prohibition on discrimination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon fitness facilities to work directly with the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and the National Federation of the Blind Sports and Recreation Division to ensure that exercise and fitness equipment is accessible to the blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization, in an effort to provide clarity to those who operate fitness facilities regarding what their obligations are under the ADA, urge Congress to give the United States Access Board the authority to write standards to make all fitness equipment fully accessible so that the blind can use such equipment on an equal basis with the sighted.


Resolution 2016-16

Regarding the Technology Bill of Rights for Individuals with Diabetes and Vision Loss

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind and the NFB Diabetes Action Network advocate for the rights of an ever-increasing population of blind and low-vision people with diabetes; and

WHEREAS, the NFB Diabetes Action Network has created and adopted the following Technology Bill of Rights for Individuals with Diabetes and Vision Loss, which proclaims that all people with diabetes have a right to technology that is thoughtfully, collaboratively, and inclusively designed, and that we who have diabetes and are blind assert the following rights: (1) true independence—to manage our diabetes independently, with dignity, and without requiring assistance from sighted individuals; (2) meaningful access—to access the same life-changing diabetes information, diagnostic tools, and treatments as are available to others; (3) identical devices--to benefit from the same (not inferior, antiquated, or less effective) diabetes devices at the same time and price as are available to our sighted peers; (4) direct control—to operate these devices directly, through flexible and inclusive nonvisual and low-vision features, rather than relying upon smartphones or apps for access; (5) full participation—to participate fully in planning, pre-market testing, clinical trials, and evaluation of these technologies, their user interfaces, and related apps; and

WHEREAS, low vision and blindness complicate diabetes self-care; and

WHEREAS, for the past thirty years diabetes technologies have failed to include essential usability features (audio, high contrast, large print) that make independent diabetes self-care possible; and

WHEREAS, increasingly powerful and life-changing diabetes devices are emerging, many with high tech user interfaces such as onscreen menus and touch screens that create unintentional digital barriers that make the devices difficult to use without good vision; and

WHEREAS, this lack of access disadvantages users with visual disabilities and causes serious health inequities; and

WHEREAS, all diabetes devices can be designed to be fully accessible out of the box for little or no extra cost using existing technology; and

WHEREAS, audio features are already enhancing functionality and user experience for all consumers in other technologies such as GPS systems, elevators, ATMs, and Google Maps, not just for blind or low-vision consumers; and

WHEREAS, in some products simple tactile buttons and audible tones or vibrations may make devices fully accessible, while in others text-to-speech and zoom features can make user interfaces more inclusive: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization adopt and affirm the Diabetes Action Network’s Technology Bill of Rights for Individuals with Diabetes and Vision Loss; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization pledge to work toward establishing and securing these important rights until all diabetes devices are fully accessible out of the box; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge other diabetes advocates, technology developers, and federal policy makers to affirm these rights and join with us to work to end these unjust health inequities.