Braille Monitor                                                 March 2011

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Legislative Agenda of Blind Americans:
Priorities for the 112th Congress, First Session

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States. As the Voice of the Nation’s Blind, we represent the collective views of blind people throughout society. All of our leaders and the vast majority of our members are blind, but anyone can participate in our movement. There are an estimated 1.3 million blind people in the United States, and every year approximately 75,000 Americans become blind. The social and economic consequences of blindness affect not only blind people, but also our families, our friends, and our coworkers.

Three legislative initiatives demand the immediate attention of the 112th Congress in its First Session.

Initiative 1

We urge Congress to work with blind Americans to create a Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind which mandates that consumer electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and electronic office technology and software provide user interfaces that are accessible through nonvisual means.

This legislation should:

Initiative 2

We urge Congress to work with blind Americans to establish an independent commission within the Department of Education to set uniform nationwide standards for the education of blind students in grades K–12. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other existing laws and regulations do not currently provide objective standards to measure the educational progress of blind students.

This legislation should:

Initiative 3

We urge Congress to increase business opportunities for disabled Americans by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Business Opportunity Act.

This legislation should:

For more information about these priorities, please consult the attached fact sheets.

Blind Americans need your help to achieve our goals of economic security, increased opportunity, and full integration into American society on a basis of equality. Enactment of these legislative proposals will represent important steps toward reaching these goals. We need the help and support of each member of Congress. Our success benefits not only us, but the whole of America as well. In this time of national economic insecurity, these measures will contribute to increasing the tax base and encouraging the purchase of consumer goods.

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