Braille Monitor                         January 2021

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News from the Federation Family


The NFB of Arizona's East Valley Chapter held its elections on November 21, 2020, and the following officers were elected: Megan Homrighausen, president; Tony Sohl, first vice president; Heather Bowes, second vice president; Tina Sohl, secretary; Jenny Kasl, treasurer; Justin Hughes, board position one; and Kristy Shields, board position two. Congratulations to all of you.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

A Special Promotion for Veterans:

Bookshare, a long-time supporter of NFB, would like readers to know about a special promotion for our nation’s veterans. What is Bookshare? Bookshare is an online library of ebooks in audio, large text, and Braille. Veterans with vision loss, dyslexia, or physical disabilities that impact their ability to read a print book can use Bookshare to read in ways that work for them.

Learn how several of our blind veteran members used Bookshare to successfully transition into civilian careers: #WeAreGrateful for Our Veterans.

Ski for Light International Event: Virtually Everywhere!

While we wish we could gather in person, the forty-sixth Annual Ski for Light International Event is going virtual. The COVID-19 pandemic has created many disruptions and hardships, but it can’t prevent the Ski for Light family from exercising our creativity and our bodies, from connecting, or from sharing and learning via technology.

Join us Wednesday, January 27, through Saturday, January 30, for this event, featuring three to four hours of optional daily programming on the Zoom platform, plus opportunities and encouragement to challenge yourself offline. We are planning a fitness program to get your blood pumping, special interest sessions to expand your knowledge, and a closing banquet full of comedy, song, and celebration.

And, for the first time, SFL attendance will be free! Each registrant will receive an embroidered Ski for Light patch and an SFL-logoed resistance band (handy for home strength training and stretching) while supplies last.

We hope to welcome many newcomers to our community with this uniquely accessible demonstration of our motto: “If we can do this (in a pandemic), we can do anything!” Though hosting a virtual “skiing” event has some obvious challenges, it also means that anyone with an interest can drop in and learn why veteran attendees find SFL gatherings so enriching. What a fantastic chance for those who might have been thinking about attending for years to get over that snow-mogul hump of indecision! So, skiers, guides, and the simply curious, please make plans now to join this year's virtual adventure. More details and the short application form for the event are posted at

Come Zoom with us in January, and soon we’ll be back out on the trails with each other, zooming for real!

IRS Services for the Visually Impaired:

The Internal Revenue Service is pleased to inform you that we have updated information on regarding the Alternative Media Center (AMC) at and on our Accessible Forms & Publications page at

The AMC provides a variety of services to assist visually impaired taxpayers. On our website, you will find links to accessible forms and publications, instructions on how to obtain accessible copies of notices or letters and information about upcoming enhancements to our accessibility services. Visually impaired taxpayers who need assistance with a notice or letter in print formats or need other information about the services available through the AMC should contact us at 800-829-1040.

Governor Hogan Announces Completion of the Equal Employment Act
Ends the use of sub-minimum wage for employees with disabilities in Maryland:

Annapolis, MD: The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) announced the completion of the Equal Employment Act (EEA), also known as the Ken Capone Act, and the phase-out of the use of 14c certificates in Maryland. Maryland was the second state in the nation to eliminate sub-minimum wage in 2016 when Governor Hogan signed the Ken Capone Act. There are no 14c certificates in use in Maryland after October 1, 2020.

"The elimination of sub-minimum wage in Maryland marks the opportunity to give all our citizens access to economic self-sufficiency and independence," said Governor Hogan.

The main provision in the EEA is the development and implementation of a phase-out plan of Maryland's current providers who have a 14c certificate over four years. The EEA was effective October 1, 2016, and providers had until October 1, 2020, to phase out their 14c certificate. On October 1, 2016, there was also a provision banning any organization who had not previously held a certificate from applying for a new certificate.

"We are proud that Maryland is leading the way on this issue," said MDOD Secretary Carol A. Beatty. In a September 2020 report on the issue, The US Civil Rights Commission said the time has come to eliminate the policy.

The certificates authorize employers to pay sub-minimum wages to workers with disabilities that impair their productivity for the work they perform. The term '14c certificate' derives from a provision in Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act or (FLSA) of 1938 and is the origin of Individuals with Disabilities: Minimum Wage and Community Integration-Ken Capone Equal Employment Act. The Act means that Maryland will no longer recognize the certificates, which are issued by the US Department of Labor.

The Maryland Department of Health-Developmental Disabilities Administration reports that data over the past four years shows an increase in the percentage of people with disabilities taking part in competitive integrated employment, 20.1 percent in October 2016 to 22.8 percent in October 2019. While the percentage of people taking part in sheltered work continued to decrease from 20.5 percent in October 2016 to 7.1 percent in October 2019.

For press coverage, contact Kim McKay at 410-767-3654 or [email protected].

About the Maryland Department of Disabilities: The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) is charged with coordinating and improving the delivery of services to individuals with disabilities in the state of Maryland. By working collaboratively with all State government agencies, MDOD provides advocacy and guidance to ensure that State entities deliver services in the most integrated settings possible, develop consistent policies affecting those with disabilities, and consider the diverse needs of all when making decisions which impact Marylanders.

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

Braille Display for Sale:

I have a HIMS Braille Sense QWERTY for sale. It’s in good condition and comes with a leather carrying case, a battery charger, and an extra thirty-two gig compact flash drive. My asking price is $1,000 or best offer. If interested, email: John at [email protected].

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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