Legislative Agenda of Blind Americans

PRIORITIES FOR THE 115TH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION

The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation’s blind. Every day we work together to help blind people live the lives we want.

  • The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (Aim High) Act

Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of ebooks, courseware, web content, and other technologies are inaccessible to students with print disabilities. The law requires equal access in the classroom but fails to provide direction to schools for the way it applies to technology. The Aim High Act creates voluntary accessibility guidelines for educational technology to stimulate the market, improve blind students’ access to course materials, and reduce litigation for schools.

  • The Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA)

Currently, blind Americans rely on scarce sources of funding to acquire access technology. By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying access technology purchases, Congress will stimulate individual procurement of access technology and promote affordability of these tools for blind Americans.

  • Opposition to the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017” (H.R. 620)

The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 would undermine the ADA by significantly eroding equal access protections and progress made over nearly three decades.

  • The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled

Despite the ability to convert print books into accessible formats like Braille, large print, audio, and digital copies, millions of blind and otherwise print-disabled Americans are excluded from accessing 95 percent of published works. The Marrakesh Treaty will enable the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies, thereby vastly expanding the availability of accessible foreign language literature to blind and otherwise print disabled Americans.

These priorities will remove obstacles to education, employment, and access to published works. We urge Congress to support our legislative initiatives.