Braille Monitor                                                                           October 1986

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Resolutions Adopted by the Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind

Kansas City, Missouri, July 1986

RESOLUTION 86-01

WHEREAS, many areas in our nation have long had public transit which enables citizens to participate in education, employment, and community life; and

WHEREAS, available and affordable mass transit is essential for blind people who seek the fullest participation in society; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, transportation providers have instituted a new service known as paratransit, which meets the needs of citizens who cannot use fixed-schedule systems because of age or disability; and

WHEREAS, transit providers throughout the country have adopted widely varying rules concerning the use of paratransit systems by blind persons, ranging from prohibiting paratransit use by the blind to discouraging fixed route use by the blind and instead encouraging that all blind riders use paratransit; and

WHEREAS, all blind persons, except those disabled by lack of training or independent mobility skills or by another disabling condition in addition to blindness, can and should use mass transit wherever it is available, and doing so ensures that paratransit funds are used for those who really need this service: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization promote a policy on mass transit, including paratransit, which is designed to achieve the following objectives:

(1) requiring transit providers to serve the blind as a class as all other passengers so that those blind passengers who can use fixed-route service use it as their only source of transit during all times when fixed route service is available;

(2) requiring transit providers to allow blind persons to use paratransit only when an individual blind person can demonstrate a legitimate need for paratransit as a primary source of transit because of lack of training or skills or independent mobility or because of a disability other than blindness; and

(3) requiring transit providers to allow blind persons who are capable of traveling independently to use paratransit as a secondary source of transit and only for those times and trips where fixed-route mass transit is not available; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization advocate, as a centerpiece in any such policy, a requirement that paratransit providers meaningfully involve transit consumers, who are members of the National Federation of the Blind, in policy-making and ongoing advisory boards of mass transit systems, including paratransit, to ensure that blind transit users are served appropriately and well.

RESOLUTION 86-02

WHEREAS, the managers of sheltered workshops and their national associations are promoting legislation in Congress for the purpose of obtaining a new source of preferential treatment in the awarding of Federal government contracts; and

WHEREAS, Congressman RobertMrazek has introduced H.R. 3866 and Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. has introduced S. 2147, both bills representing the workshop management objective to qualify for government contracts now reserved by law for competition among for-profit small businesses; and

WHEREAS, by seeking small business set-aside contracts, the workshops are asking on the one hand to be treated like small businesses (as opposed to nonprofit rehabilitation or therapeutic centers), while on the other hand the workshops are continuing to insist that they must pay their blind workers substandard wages and accord them substandard benefits and substandard labor protection: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this Federation condemn and deplore the preposterous plan of sheltered workshops to obtain preferential treatment through access to federal small business set aside contracts without making even the slightest nod toward providing better wages and fair employment opportunities to the blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we continue to urge Congress to turn thumbs down on the proposal for small business set-aside contracts for sheltered workshops until the managers of the workshops are willing to meet the federal pay and other labor standards which Congress has applied to all other employers who benefit by doing business with the government.

RESOLUTION 86-03

WHEREAS, federal law now wrongfully permits employers (especially sheltered workshops) to pay blind people as low as 25% of the minimum wage in "regular workshops" and even less in "work activity centers"; and

WHEREAS, despite having these wage concessions, the managers of sheltered workshops are now asking Congress to relax further the law in order to give workshop managers even more discretion in the payment of subminimum wages; and

WHEREAS, in official testimony before a subcommittee of the Congress holding a hearing on H.R. 2676 (the bill backed by workshop managers) a witness for the United States Department of Labor admitted that, with the enactment of this bill, sheltered workshops would then be approved to pay the blind "any wage above zero": Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization express its official outrage at the idea of giving any employer (even a sheltered workshop) more discretion in paying the blind any wage below the federal minimum; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, consistent with the policies repeatedly and unanimously expressed by the National Federation of the Blind, all members of Congress are hereby urged soundly to reject any legislation giving any employer greater freedom to pay the blind less than the federal minimum wage.

RESOLUTION 86-04

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act provides business opportunities for blind people who are eligible and qualified to be vendors as determined by a licensing agency in each state; and

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Program, now in its 51st year, has had a long history of nationwide success in promoting employment opportunities for the blind, yet, despite the merits of this program, the states of Wyoming and Montana have recently terminated their state licensing agency services to the blind; and

WHEREAS, the decisions of Wyoming and Montana to withdraw from the blind vendor program have caused immediate unemployment for several blind individuals and the loss of future opportunities for employment for many more; and

WHEREAS, by abandoning the blind vendors and potential blind vendors of their respective states, the vocational rehabilitation agencies in Wyoming and Montana have callously ceased to fulfill their responsibilities toward the blind now so far carried out by every other state in this country, yet neither agency lost a dime of federal money by withdrawing from the blind vendor program: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization actively seek to reinstate the blind vendor program on federal, state, and other property in the states of Wyoming and Montana at the earliest possible opportunity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge Congress to assist the blind of this nation in preserving the RandolphSheppard Program by enacting safeguard legislation to the end that state participation in the blind vendor program shall be a requirement of each state's plan for vocational rehabilitation services to the blind.

RESOLUTION 86-05

WHEREAS, at the specific request of the National Federation of the Blind, the Honorable Ted Stevens, senior United States Senator from Alaska, conducted a special oversight hearing to examine policies and practices of the General Services Administration (GSA) regarding the operation of cafeterias by blind vendors in federal buildings nationwide; and

WHEREAS, despite the mandates of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, GSA was applying the blind priority for cafeterias selectively, resulting in few opportunities for blind people to operate large federal cafeterias in GSA buildings; and

WHEREAS, following the hearing held before Senator Stevens' Subcommittee on Civil Service, Post Office, and General Services, GSA dramatically changed its approach to awarding cafeterias to the blind by (1) adopting a new policy of negotiating first with the state licensing agencies for blind vendors rather than requiring the agencies to bid on cafeteria contracts against commercial competitors; and (2) offering to turn over to the Randolph-Sheppard Program any cafeteria contract which, were it not for the blind priority, would otherwise automatically be extended: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization present official praise and thanks to Senator Ted Stevens, a friend of the nation's blind and a national leader who is willing to stand with us to fight for our rights and to win.

RESOLUTION 86-06

WHEREAS, H.R. 4471, the SSI Improvement Amendments of 1986, has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives by the Honorable Fortney (Pete) Stark of California; and

WHEREAS, among other needed and beneficial Supplemental Security Income (SSI) improvements, this bill includes notice provisions recommended by the National Federation of the Blind for the purpose of giving blind SSI recipients timely information by telephone and certified letter describing actions oeing taken and the appeal rights that are available; and

WHEREAS, an additional and very much needed SSI improvement, not included in H.R. 4471, is to strengthen work incentives for blind SSI recipients by increasing the amount of the earned income exemptions and annually adjusting the basic earned income exclusion to reflect wage and price changes: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization urge Congress to consider and pass the SSI Improvement Amendments of 1986 together with an amendment to provide improved work incentives for the blind by restoring the value of the earned income exemptions first adopted by Congress in 1972 and further by assuring that the basic earned income exclusion will not be eroded by inflation in the future.

RESOLUTION 86-07

WHEREAS, S. 2536 has been introduced in the United States Senate by the Honorable Orrin Hatch for the purpose of making grants to states for immunosuppressive drug therapy for recipients of organ transplants; and

WHEREAS, many blind people suffering from diabetes have experienced enormous benefits from kindey transplantation only to find themselves faced with enormous medical expenses which are often not fully covered or not covered at all by the state administered Medicaid programs or by private insurance; and

WHEREAS, although immunosuppressive drug therapy is often prohibitively expensive for individuals to obtain without Medicaid or private insurance coverage, frequent and continuing kidney dialysis treatments for non-kidney transplant patients is even more costly, but ironically such treatments are paid for by Medicaid and Medicare funds: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this Federation enthusiastically support enactment of S. 2536 in this session of Congress in order to aid the growing number of blind individuals who need and will require financial assistance in order to obtain life sustaining immunosuppressive treatments.

RESOLUTION 86-08

WHEREAS, hiring procedures of the federal government are supposed to promote affirmative action in the remployment and advancement of qualified handicapped individuals, including applicants or employees who are blind; and

WHEREAS, appointment of blind individuals to positions in the federal civil service and in the United States Postal Service may be done on a noncompetitive basis, called an "AcceptedAppointment"; and

WHEREAS, certification by a vocational rehabilitation counselor that the individual has a handicap and is qualified to perform the work is virtually a requirement for accepted appointments with many federal agencies, although authority for trial appointments does exist; and

WHEREAS, some agencies, such as the United States Postal Service, are so extremely unwilling to evaluate blind job applicants that the blind who seek Postal Service employment are routinely referred back to Vocational Rehabilitation to be evaluated and approved by a rehabilitation counselor before consideration by the Postal Service may commence; and

WHEREAS, the blind are all too familiar with the backward notions and false images of blindness that prevail in the rehabilitation counseling profession and among individuals in the profession, sadly with only a few exceptions: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this Federation deplore the exclusive use of vocational rehabilitation agencies and counselors as so called "authorities on jobs that the blind can do"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we specifically and vigorously protest the veto power over employment of the blind which some federal agencies have given to Vocational Rehabilitation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Federation shall do all in its power to persuade all appropriate federal officals and agencies to expand their recruitment efforts on behalf of blind people by obtaining referrals for employment from programs such as Job Opportunities for the Blind and other positive job placement sources.

RESOLUTION 86-09

WHEREAS, the Honorable Patricia Schroeder, Chairwoman of the Subcommitee on Civil Service in the United States House of Representatives, has introduced H.R. 3145 for the purpose of "encouraging the employment of handicapped individuals in the federal government"; and

WHEREAS, a key provision of this bill requires that readers for blind federal employees shall be exempt from federal agency personnel ceilings, thus insuring that an agency will not be penalized for hiring a blind employee who needs a reader; and

WHEREAS, another important provision of this bill specifically gives federal managers strong personal incentives to recruit and advance qualified handicapped individuals by rating their performance records in this respect as a part of their specific duties; and

WHEREAS, these proposals were recommended to Mrs. Schroeder by the National Federation of the Blind during meetings at our 1985 National Convention, and she has now responded by introducing H.R. 3145 with a statement that she intends to move this bill through Congress: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization express its strong approval and great appreciation to Representative Patricia Schroeder for her enlightened and sensitive approach toward employment of the blind in the federal civil service; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge all members of the 99th Congress enthusiastically to endorse Mrs. Schroeder's legislation in order that it may move quickly through the Congress and be enacted into law.

RESOLUTION 86-10

WHEREAS, regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allow each commercial air carrier independently to develop and implement procedures for the transportation of any "passenger who may need the assistance of another person to move expeditiously to an exit in the event of an emergency"; and

WHEREAS, the FAA and most of the commercial air carriers have erroneously presumed that blind people, as a class, necessarily fall within the category of passengers who may need the assistance of another person, thereby being subject to the airline procedures authorized by the FAA regulations; and

WHEREAS, this false presumption of the airlines and the FAA has led to a shocking and shameful increase in the pattern of hostile incidents provoked against blind passengers by airline personnel; and

WHEREAS, the growing pattern of airline hostility toward the blind raises serious Constitutional questions involving the freedom to travel and the right to equal protection, yet the airlines deliberately sidestep these issues by talking about safety, even to the point of using other passengers and the general public in an attempt to cajole and frighten the blind into submission; and

WHEREAS, the blind, as much as any other group of human beings, are seriously concerned about legitimate safety issues, and unlike some of the airlines we do not believe that safety is so unimportant that it should be raised as a mask for whatever form of treatment the airlines want to inflict on anyone, blind or not; Now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this Federation vigorously insist that any airline procedures or practices providing for treatment of all blind people as helpless and unsafe must be changed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all commercial air carriers are hereby asked and urged to work with the blind, through the National Federation of the Blind, in order to adopt more reasonable and responsible approaches, including the modification of any procedures to insure that the blind are no longer erroneously classified.

RESOLUTION 86-11

WHEREAS, on June 27, 1986, the United States Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States Department of Transportation v. Paralyzed Veterans of America; and

WHEREAS, this 6 to 3 decision of the high court holds that most commerical air carriers do not receive federal financial assistance, with the exception of any carrier or carriers which are paid direct federal subsidies; and

WHEREAS, it has been said by some in the aviation industry and in reports by the news media that the Supreme Court's decision gives the airlines greater freedom to discriminate against the blind since the court did not apply to the airlines a specific law pertaining to discrimination on the basis of handicap; and

WHEREAS, this unfounded and overly broad interpretation of the Supreme Court 's ruling will if followed inevitably lead to even more hostile confrontation provoked by airline personnel against blind air travelers who seek only the right to fly on equal terms with others similarly situated; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court has not struck down the right of every person, sighted or blind, to freedom of travel throughout our country without undue restriction and the right of the blind, along with others similarly situated, to equal protection under the United States Constitution, nor has the Court invited the airlines to discriminate, and no airline policy of discrimination has been upheld by the court: Now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization alert all airlines and the public at large that the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Paralyzed Veterans of America case actually changes nothing insofar as the blind are concerned. Prior to that decision, the airlines were not legally permitted to discriminate against blind air travelers, and there is no law or interpretation of law that says they may do so now.

RESOLUTION 86-12

WHEREAS, blind people everywhere throughout the United States have the right to travel with freedom and independence; and

WHEREAS, independent mobility for the blind includes the use of appropriate alternative techniques and aids such as long white canes or dog guides; and

WHEREAS, the notable and singular exception to the aforementioned right is a quarantine imposed by the State of Hawaii on dog guides; and

WHEREAS, this quarantine amounts to an abridgement of the Constitutional right of a blind person to free travel within the United States; and

WHEREAS, historically the Hawaii quarantine has been rationalized on the basis that the State of Hawaii is allegedly rabies free and that such a quarantine is necessary to prevent the introduction of rabies into Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, modern medical techniques developed within the last three years obviate the need for the Hawaii quarantine requirement through the ability to make an immediate diagnosis of the presence of active or dormant rabies in a dog guide; and

WHEREAS, because of parochial and economic reasons unrelated to the medical facts at hand, officials of the State of Hawaii have continued callously to impose this now unjustifiable and invidious quarantine: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this Federation condemn and deplore the continued use of the Hawaii quarantine in the face of contrary medical techniques which would insure the Constitutional right of blind persons to unrestricted travel; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the Congress of the United States to establish a Federal prohibition against any quarantine of dog guides, particularly the quarantine currently imposed by the State of Hawaii.

RESOLUTION 86-13

WHEREAS, it has been proposed that the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB) establish a national standard for installed travel aids for the blind and that the Department of Transportation use such standard to promulgate regulations for cities to install such devices as audible traffic signals, pathfinder tiles, and tactile detection for bus stops, platform edges, and openings to public buildings; and

WHEREAS, it is reported that the American Association of State Highway and Transporation Officials (AASHTO) is considering the adoption of a policy on tactile aids for the blind for inclusion in its manual (the GREEN BOOK); and

WHEREAS, the establishment of such standards and regulations for installed travel aids is being purported in the name of safety for the blind traveler; and

WHEREAS, such standards of safety are aimed to coddle and pad the world for the blind; and

WHEREAS, such a coddle-and-pad-the world-for-the-blind mentality is harmful to the blind and imposes a negative attitude on society toward the blind which results in a lack of acceptance of the blind and other discriminatory practices, including discrimination against the blind in employment; and

WHEREAS, blind people are capable and competent travelers without installed travel aids which are wasteful of public funds and annoying to both blind and sighted members of the public: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization condemn and deplore the establishment of a national standard for installed travel aids for the blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization proclaim that the expenditure of funds for such installed travel aids as audible traffic signals, pathfinder tiles, and tactile detection for bus stops, platform edges, and openings to public buildings flies in the face of reason as it is a frivolous and harmful expenditure of public funds.

RESOLUTION 86-14

WHEREAS, blind students attending post-secondary educational institutions require access to printed material, including books, articles, computer printouts, library references, and other matter available only in print formats; and

WHEREAS, given the diversity of subject matter and the formats in which it may be presented, access to printed information by means of a sighted reader remains the most practical, versatile, and cost-effective alternative technique for providing blind students equal access to the same material which sighted students routinely have in print; and

WHEREAS, the equal access principle identified in the preceeding paragraph includes freedom of choice for the blind student in the selection of readers to assure their sufficient competence, scheduling of reader times and locations as determined by the blind student and the reader, and, based on the requirements of each student's program of instruction and related educational and training activities, a sufficient quantity of reader service to provide the same amount of access to the same information as compared to sighted students in comparable circumstances; and

WHEREAS, Section 103 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, authorizes reader services for the blind as a vocational rehabilitation service to be provided to blind students by state vocational rehabilitation agencies; and

WHEREAS, despite the obvious and documented need for reader services to the blind in post-secondary education, and despite the authority for such services to be provided, certain legal and administrative roadblocks now exist, making reader services hard to get or unavailable altogether in all but the most exceptional of circumstances; and

WHEREAS, ironically, although it may have been intended otherwise, the application of Section 504's nondiscrimination requirements coupled with the "similiar benefits" principle of the Rehabilitation Act have had the combined effect of denying blind students equal access to information available to sighted students in print formats: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization urge all appropriate state and federal policy makers, including responsible committees of the Congress, to adopt the principle of equal access to information in print formats for the blind in post-secondary education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the policy of equal access to information in print formats called for in this resolution shall be implemented by requiring that each state vocational rehabilitation agency shall have the lead agency responsibility for meeting the equal access requirments by providing reader services to blind students who, regardless of financial need, are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and that each institution of higher education shall have the lead agency responsibility for meeting the equal access requirements with respect to blind students who are not eligible for vocational rehabilition services.

RESOLUTION 86-15

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has been a long-time advocate of the right of the blind to obtain post-secondary education; and

WHEREAS, a basic component of this right is the guarantee that academic equality is afforded to the blind student; and

WHEREAS, during recent hearings before a committee created by the California

legislature, disabled student coordinators from within the California State University System stated that the ratio of blind to sighted in the University System was not equal to that in the secondary schools; and

WHEREAS, the disabled student coordinators have proposed the lowering of standards for entrance requirements for the blind in order to achieve a college entrance ratio equal to that of the sighted population; and

WHEREAS, this proposed solution ignores the true causes of the under representation which are inferior training and preparation of the blind in pre-secondary and secondary educational institutions; and

WHEREAS, reduction in requirements incorporates into college programs inadequate standards and incomplete education for the blind; and

WHEREAS, reduced academic expectations diminish the opportunity for legitimate achievement by blind students and ultimately lessen the value of diplomas earned by blind persons; and

WHEREAS, a lowering of academic standards would lead to a generation of blind persons ill-educated and ill prepared to assume their rightful place of equality within society: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization condemn and deplore any effort to lower college entrance requirements or academic standards for blind students; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind call upon college administrators to preserve and protect the standards of education for the blind by upholding the requirements for admission to and graduation from post-secondary institutions which are equal to those required of sighted students.

RESOLUTION 86-16

WHEREAS, under the leadership of the United States Employment Service (USES), many state job services have begun offering aptitude testing as part of their service to job applicants; and

WHEREAS, the test used for this purpose (The General Aptitude Test Battery) relies heavily on the use of vision and is not available in any form which is useable by blind people; and

WHEREAS, employers may request that applicants be referred for vacancies based in part on their aptitude test scores; and

WHEREAS, this procedure has the effect of eliminating all blind people from consideration, regardless of their qualifications; and

WHEREAS, this discriminatory testing system is one more barrier to employment of the blind; and

WHEREAS, in partnership with the United States Department of Labor, the National Federation of the Blind operates the Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) Program, the program which is nationally recognized as the authoritative source of information about employment of the blind: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization call upon the United States Employment Service and all state job services to work with Job Opportunities for the Blind to eliminate discrimination in its aptitude testing.

RESOLUTION 86-17

WHEREAS, the right of all Americans to travel unencumbered and unburdened by harassment is guaranteed by the Constitution and by the laws of the United States; and

WHEREAS, blind people are equal and are entitled to the same rights, the same consideration, and the same courtesy as are members of the general population; and

WHEREAS, for nearly ten years, the airline industry, with few exceptions, has taken the attitude that blind people should be subjected to special rules, not applicable to the general public; and

WHEREAS, over that period of time, blind people have been subjected to humiliation, harassment, interference with their freedom, and, in some cases, outright abuse and arrest; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has repeatedly tried to explain to top officials of the airlines and of the Federal government that these actions on their part are unwanted, unwarranted, custodial, and in some cases illegal; and

WHEREAS, with few exceptions, we have been met with either no success and often with outright rejection; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind believes that the time for talk has now passed, since responsible officials will not listen to reason based on past record: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization take all actions necessary including taking our case to the general public, the news media, members of Congress, Federal officials, the airlines themselves by picketing, and the courts of this land, to ensure that the rights and the dignity of all blind Americans are protected and upheld.

RESOLUTION 86-18

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind was founded in 1940 for the purpose of improving the lives of all blind Americans by promoting their social and economic well-being; and

WHEREAS, from the beginning, the National Federation of the Blind has been able to attract uniquely talented and outstanding leaders, most especially Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, our founder and long time President, and Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, a President who has lead this organization into full maturity as a respected and successful force for the involvement of the blind on equal terms in American society; and

WHEREAS, through a spirit of dedication and hard work from among the blind of America driven and sustained by the commitment of our national leaders, the National Federation of the Blind is, today, the fulfillment of Dr. tenBroek's dream that the blind of the United States would be organized for self expression and collective action; and

WHEREAS, such efforts by the blind themselves on behalf of the blind merit national recognition: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization call for the issuance of a United States commemorative postage stamp to honor the accomplishments of the National Federation of the Blind and the leadership and vision of its principal founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its founding.

RESOLUTION 86-19

WHEREAS, the responsibility of parenting affects the future of our society; and

WHEREAS, this responsibility requires access to information in order adequately to prepare oneself for this important role; and

WHEREAS, parents constitute a large portion of the blind population; and

WHEREAS, the National Library Service (NLS) serves many special interest groups through the production of periodicals and other literature in Braille and recorded format; and

WHEREAS, NLS produces no periodicals and a relatively small amount of literature on parenting in a format useful to blind parents; and

WHEREAS, recognizing the need for information on the subject of parenting, one regional library regularly records a periodical on parenting for distribution to its special interest readership; and

WHEREAS, some regional libraries regularly distribute this recorded periodical to their special interest readership while other regional libraries refuse to do so: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization request the National Library Service to produce and distribute at least one distributed periodical on parenting in recorded format; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLS implement a mechanism for the distribution through all regional libraries of the periodical on parenting currently being produced by one regional library.

RESOLUTION 86-20

WHEREAS, an increasing number of blind people are participating in the business world; and

WHEREAS, blind business people need to have access to the same information as sighted business people in order to make sound business decisions; and

WHEREAS, FORTUNE magazine publishes annually several lists including the "FORTUNE 500" list of top companies in the United States; and

WHEREAS, these lists are used by many businesses in their sales and marketing efforts; and

WHEREAS, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) publishes FORTUNE magazine in Braille, but does not publish the aforementioned lists even though they are the most widely used products published by FORTUNE; and

WHEREAS, NLS states that interest in the aforementioned list is low even though FORTUNE readers have not seen any survey on the matter: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization request the National Library Service to publish annually the "FORTUNE 500" list in Braille; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we request NLS to make Braille copies of these lists available to any blind person desires them through the regional library system.

RESOLUTION 86-21

WHEREAS, the National Easter Seal Society has instigated a media campaign intended to change negative and stereotypic attitudes toward the blind; and

WHEREAS, campaign materials include inaccurate and demeaning portrayals of blind people suggesting that all blind people wear dark glasses, walk with crook-handled canes, and eat at tables with dogs; and

WHEREAS, Federationists have called these false, misleading and offensive portrayals to the attention of the Easter Seal Society; and

WHEREAS, the Communications Director of the Society has now stated in writing that the offensive publications will be revised at the time of reprinting; and

WHEREAS, immediate revision would prevent further false portrayals of blind persons; and

WHEREAS, consumer input can prevent further embarrassment to the National Easter Seals Society and the blind of America: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that we urge the National Easter Seal Society immediately to discontinue distribution of its current material and begin work on a new and improved campaign to further the cause of the blind in America; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization pledge to work with the who National Easter Seal Society to develop materials which meet the stated objective of the Society and which are consistent with the positive philosophy of blindness espoused by the National Federation of the Blind.

RESOLUTION 86-22

WHEREAS, members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate have proposed H.R. 2911 and S. 1739 for the purpose of placing a royalty tax on the purchase of recording devices and blank tapes; and

WHEREAS, the royalty tax is being promoted by members of the entertainment industry to compensate the industry for alleged revenue losses arising from home taping which may infringe on copyrights; and

WHEREAS, the royalty tax would be applied across the board even though, in the case of the blind, most blank tapes and recording equipment are not used in a manner that infringes upon copyrights: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization oppose H.R. 2911 and S. 1739.

RESOLUTION 86-23

WHEREAS, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are an important and in many cases the sole source of income for blind people; and

WHEREAS, the law provides for an annual adjustment to be made in the amount of earnings that will be counted as substantial gainful activity in the case of each blind SSDI beneficiary; and

WHEREAS, by law, the substantial gainful activity test for the blind permits the same amount of earnings for the blind as the Social Security Retirement Program permits for people who retire at age 65; and

WHEREAS, annual notices sent by the Social Security Administration to blind SSDI beneficiaries announce the amount of earned income that will be exempt during the ensuing year for retirees but the notices do not announce the revised substantial gainful activity amount for the blind, a fact which leads to confusion; and

WHEREAS, the notices in question further discourage blind beneficiaries from attempting work by conveying the impression that in general the disabled may not work and must report any earnings to the Social Security Office, immediately leading the reader of the notice to the conclusion that benefits cease because of the earnings; and

WHEREAS, this generalization is misleading to blind SSDI beneficiaries and does not accurately report the value of the work incentive that Congress intended to give to the blind through a higher substantial gainful activity: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization ask the Social Security Administration to revise the notices identified in this resolution to convey accurate and complete information about substantial gainful activity of the blind and the annual revisions in its amount.

RESOLUTION 86-25

WHEREAS, Recording for the Blind (RFB) records books on a large scale for blind students and professionals and generally does a good job but has certain problems--diagrams are not always described properly, some irrelevant descriptions are made, etc.; and

WHEREAS, there is currently no significant mechanism for RFB to receive valid and valuable "consumer input" from blind users of RFB's services, particularly from the organized blind of America--the National Federation of the Blind (NFB); and

WHEREAS, part of the problem stems from the fact that RFB is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) and therefore tends to receive what input it does get from NAC and those agencies, organizations, and individuals identified with NAC: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization urge, once again, that Recording for the Blind drop its affiliation with the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped since this accreditation has nothing whatever to do with the quality of services now provided by RFB; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon Recording for the Blind to work with the National Federation of the Blind to establish an ongoing formal relationship in order to bring about continued improvement in the quality of RFB's services to its blind users.

RESOLUTION 86-27

WHEREAS, the over 50,000 members of the National Federation of the Blind have demonstrated that the problems of blindness do not relate to blindness itself but rather to societal attitudes about blindness; and

WHEREAS, blind people reflect the culture and customs of society and participate fully in it, with those blind persons choosing to do so becoming successful parents; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, states such as California, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, and Colorado have sought to remove children from blind parents in cases of custody or alleged abuse; and

WHEREAS, the standard of care required by the state for blind parents should be no different than the standard to which sighted parents are held regardless of the techniques chosen by the blind parent: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization affirm its conviction in the belief that blind parents do successfully and competently raise children; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization pledge its full support to assisting blind parents who have been subjected to discrimination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon its affiliates to have legislation enacted in the states using as a model legislation adopted in the State of California outlawing such taking of children.

RESOLUTION 86-28

WHEREAS, beginning in 1977, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) encouraged each certified air carrier to adopt procedures for the transportation of anyone who "may need the assistance of another person expeditiously to move to an exit in the event of an emergency"; and

WHEREAS, FAA's regulations (14 CFR 121.586) and its advisory circular (12032) mislead the airlines into adopting procedures that are not safety related, and, even worse, the FAA dupes the airlines into adopting procedures that are based on false notions about blindness, thereby leading to a pattern of discriminatory treatment; and

WHEREAS, by law, the FAA can only regulate and oversee matters of safety; and

WHEREAS, with the approval of the FAA, the airlines routinely overstep this limited safety jurisdiction by including in their procedures non-safety rules such as excluding the blind from exit row seating, requiring the blind to preboard and to deplane last of all, and requiring that the blind passenger be seated on blankets or be seated next to persons of the same sex, all of which are unnecessary, humiliating, and discriminatory and none of which are safety-related; and

WHEREAS, neither the FAA nor the airlines will admit responsibility for including such demeaning and discriminatory requirements in airline procedures, each blaming the other and attempting to wash its hands of guilt; and

WHEREAS, in the widespread and growing pattern of incidents involving confrontations with blind persons provoked by the airlines, airline personnel cloak their oppressive acts and demands with the sanctity of Federal regulations, publicly branding blind people as federal law violators and depriving blind people of their liberty and dignity through wrongful public arrest when they know and the blind know that no federal laws have been violated: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization demand that the FAA confine itself to safety by issuing a policy to the airlines making it clear that the FAA will accept no procedures under section 121.586 that contain non safety related provisions and requiring that every section of each such procedure include written justification of its need as to safety based on available and objective evidence.

RESOLUTION 86-29

WHEREAS, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is holding a conference on accessibility of mass transit for the blind which will take place on January 11 and 12, 1987, in Washington, DC, and which is being held in cooperation with the American Public Transit Association (APTA) and the Urban Mass Transit Administration (UMTA); and

WHEREAS, the AFB perpetrates a gross disservice on the blind it purports to serve by funding and promoting research which gives credence to and reinforces the age-old misconceptions about blindness; and

WHEREAS, research regarding use of mass transit by the blind has reached such conclusions as escalators and revolving exit gates are dangerous for blind persons, pillars should be round and padded, platform edges should have a different texture, train doors should have beepers, and trains should have safety barriers between cars and devices to bridge the gap between cars and platforms; and

WHEREAS, the aforementioned research engenders a misguided notion about blindness among transit operators and diverts attention from real issues such as poor and inadequate training by agencies for the blind, and poor attitudes and unrealistic expectations about blindness and the blind; and

WHEREAS, despite repeated resolutions of the National Federation of the Blind calling upon APTA and UMTA to work with the blind on issues related to blindness, APTA and UMTA have instead agreed to co-sponsor a transit conference with the American Foundation for the Blind: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization condemn and deplore the actions of the American Public Transit Association and the Urban Mass Transit Administration for participating with the American Foundation for the Blind in a conference on accessibility of mass transit to the blind; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization again call upon APTA and UMTA to work with the organized blind movement--the National Federation of the Blind.

RESOLUTION 86-30

WHEREAS, for the past several years, the National Federation of the Blind has vigorously urged the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) to certify blind persons as travel instructors; and

WHEREAS, blind persons frequently have demonstrated that they are just as capable as sighted persons in teaching other blind persons travel techniques including those techniques associated with training dog guides and dog guide users; and

WHEREAS, despite the aforementioned demonstrated capabilities by blind persons, dog guide schools flatly refuse to employ blind individuals as trainers and instructors: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, that this organization vigorously urge all dog guide schools to hire blind persons as trainers and instructors; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind offer its assistance to dog guide schools in locating blind persons who desire positions as dog guide trainers and instructors.

RESOLUTION 86-101

WHEREAS, there is name identification and interlinking organizational structure at every level and in every geographic area of the National Federation of the Blind; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has real importance in the lives of its members; and

WHEREAS, whatever happens at any level of the organization (whether local, state, or national) affects the entire movement and all of its component parts and members; and

WHEREAS, the National Office of the Federation has acquired experience and expertise in matters concerning fundraising and its legal ramifications; and

WHEREAS, by constitution and charter the National Office of the Federation has responsibility for coordinating the work of local chapters and state affiliates to the end that the movement may function harmoniously with the least possible risk and exposure: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this fourth day of July, 1986, in Kansas City, Missouri, that no local chapter or state affiliate may enter into any agreement concerning fundraising with any person, group of persons, corporation, or other entity without receiving prior written approval from the President or Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that no local chapter or state affiliate may continue any such fundraising agreement if that agreement has been disapproved in writing or approval for its continuation has been withdrawn in writing by the President or Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind.

RESOLUTION 86-1001

WHEREAS, Kenneth Jernigan has (with the exception of one year) served as President of the National Federation of the Blind since 1968 and has (except for a brief period) been a member of the Board of Directors since 1952; and

WHEREAS, during that time he has devoted his life and energies to the advancement of the cause of the organized blind movement and has accumulated knowledge which is invaluable to the guidance, progress, and well-being of the organized blind movement; Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this second day of July, 1986, in Kansas City, Missouri, that Kenneth Jernigan be and hereby is named Advisor to the President, Officers, and Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and shall (as his circumstances permit) attend and participate in meetings of the Officers, Board of Directors, and subcommittees of the Officers and/or Board; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Kenneth Jernigan shall have use of and access to all books, records, materials, and other items of the National Federation of the Blind; and the National Federation of the Blind shall provide Kenneth Jernigan with a suitable office for his use and such secretarial and/or other assistance as he may need.