Convention Resolutions 1991

Here is a brief statement describing each resolution and (in some cases) giving some background information:

Resolution 91-101 reaffirms our long-standing commitment to achieving equal treatment for blind citizens at the hands of airline and FAA officials.

Resolution 91-01 urges Congress to continue to protect informational mailings about blindness and the blind by preserving adequate revenue forgone subsidy.

Resolution 91-02 seeks to establish a national policy on Braille literacy for the blind.

Resolution 91-03 requests that clients have the right of choice in rehabilitation.

Background: The Federation and the Social Security Administration have discussed for several years the approach of giving clients whose rehabilitation costs can be reimbursed by the Social Security Administration a choice of facilities from which the client wishes to receive training. This approach is currently being tested by Social Security. The concept has been discussed with members of Congress during our Washington Seminars for the last three years and has become increasingly popular. Other groups of the disabled have now espoused the concept of freedom of choice. As often happens, the Federation has plowed the ground and continues to lead the way.

Resolution 91-04 opposes continued recognition of NAC as an accrediting body by the Department of Education.

Resolution 91-05 calls upon the Federal Communications Commission to exclude blindness as a condition for waiver of the Morse Code Proficiency Test.

Resolution 91-06 advocates that affirmative action standards be applied to sheltered workshops for the blind.

Resolution 91-07 opposes the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) proposal for highway rest stops.

Background: AASHTO has introduced in Congress a bill to commercialize (open new businesses) at highway rest stops. Approximately 200 blind vendors are now earning a living by managing vending machine operations at highway rest stops, and a number of state licensing agencies are receiving substantial income as well. All of this would be jeopardized by the AASHTO proposal. The resolution does not oppose all expanded business activity at highway rest stops, only this AASHTO proposal. If commercialization is to take place, agencies for the blind should be permitted to maintain the priority established by the Kennelly Amendment to the Surface Transportation Act of 1982--an amendment which was introduced and passed at the request of the National Federation of the Blind.

Resolution 91-08 requests the support of the Social Security Administration and Congress in maintaining the relationship between the earnings exemption of seniors and substantial gainful activity for the blind.

Resolution 91-09 supports the Independent Older Blind Individuals Amendments of 1991, HR 2437.

Resolution 91-10 advocates that the week of January 4, Louis Braille's birthday, be proclaimed National Braille Literacy Week.

Resolution 91-11 calls upon the Hadley School for the Blind to continue offering foreign language courses.

Resolution 91-12 calls upon all agencies that are NAC accredited to withdraw from association with NAC.

Resolution 91-13 opposes the National Commission on Blindness as sponsored by the Affiliated Leadership League of and for the Blind of America and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Background: A majority of the Committee on Joint Organizational Effort discussed and supported a different proposal for a National Commission on Blindness, offering appropriate representation to all groups concerned. ALL and AER are supporting this alternative, minority proposal for their own political purposes.

Resolution 91-14 reaffirms the NFB position that blind individuals should be permitted to serve in the armed forces in noncombat positions and further states that blind persons should be able to serve in combat positions when qualified.

Resolution 91-15 commends the Social Security Administration for recognizing the need to modernize the Supplemental Security Income Program and recommends a speedy response to good recommendations from the modernization team.

Resolution 91-16 supports ACCO7--Informational Barriers from the White House Conference on Library Services and urges a policy that library services in alternative media be on a par with library services to the sighted.

Resolution 91-17 urges state legislatures not to create boards to regulate dog guide schools.

Resolution 91-18 calls upon the U.S. Department of Justice to adopt regulations pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act requiring publishers to cooperate in making print materials accessible to the blind.

Resolution 91-19, which was overwhelmingly voted down, would have declared employment of the blind to be the Federation's top priority. The convention reaffirmed the Federation's commitment to employment as one of the top priorities of the Federation but felt that it would send the wrong message to place it in a category above all other issues-- problems of the elderly, literacy, changing public attitudes, and all of the other items that constitute the agenda to move from second-class citizenship to first-class status in society.

Resolution 91-20 reaffirms the Federation's commitment to combat unemployment for the blind as a top priority.

Resolution 91-101

WHEREAS, the achievement of equality for blind persons is the foundation stone of the National Federation of the Blind; and

WHEREAS, equality in seating on public conveyances is deeply symbolic of equality in the broader society; and

WHEREAS, many blind people have suffered the humiliation of public harassment and arrest, and all blind people have suffered the indignity of being classified as incompetent and treated differently by airline officials and the Federal Aviation Administration; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has made equal treatment of blind persons by the airlines a top priority because achievement of this goal will bring blind people a long step closer to the establishment of real and symbolic equality in our society; Now, Therefore:

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, that we, the members of the National Federation of the Blind, do hereby reaffirm our continuing commitment to winning the struggle for equality in the airline battle; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this commitment shall constitute an ongoing major priority of the organized blind movement.

Resolution 91-01

WHEREAS, public misunderstanding and lack of social acceptance remain the principal obstacles to productive independence and equality for the blind in the United States; and

WHEREAS, these conditions can best be addressed through education and outreach activities, including the mass- distribution of accurate information about blindness so that sighted members of the general public can better understand the needs of the blind and support efforts to meet those needs; and

WHEREAS, mass-communication by mail is an effective means of outreach to improve opportunities for the blind, and use of the mails for this purpose could not continue with further increases in postal rates at this time; and

WHEREAS, Congress is considering ways to continue and fund the preferred-rate mail service program (also known as the revenue forgone payment to the Postal Service), which makes mailings by and on behalf of the blind possible; and

WHEREAS, in the distribution of publications and information by and on behalf of blind persons, access to the mails is the only practical and cost-effective method available, and loss of this access would have catastrophic consequences for blind people throughout this country: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization support efforts underway in Congress to assure that all informational and educational materials sent by and on behalf of blind individuals will continue to be eligible for mailing with the full benefit of the revenue forgone postal subsidy and without further postal rate increases at this time.

Resolution 91-02

WHEREAS, efficient reading and writing skills are the essential tools of literacy, necessary for productive living--a fact which applies to all persons whether sighted or blind; and

WHEREAS, literacy skills are the core of the basic educational program provided to sighted students in elementary and secondary education, but for blind students communications skills become the subject of special education planning, where virtually all presumed needs of a student can be sacrificed in the name of individualized instruction; and

WHEREAS, literacy skills among the blind have fallen sharply and are continuing to decline as a direct result of biases among educators against the use of Braille by the blind and of the widespread but utterly false notion that Braille should only be taught as a last-resort measure; and

WHEREAS, receiving instruction in Braille and in other skills essential to literacy should be recognized as a matter of right for each blind student, and the denial of that right by means of any practice or policy should be attacked as a form of cruel discrimination against the blind; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration and the Congress are considering legislation entitled the "America 2,000, Excellence in Education Act," designed to help the nation achieve national education goals by improving the nation's schools, including improvements in literacy education for all students: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this Federation insist that literacy education for blind individuals be recognized as a national education goal to include Braille instruction for blind students as a matter of right; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization take all appropriate steps to secure both administrative and legislative support for a national Braille literacy campaign at the state and federal levels.

Resolution 91-03

WHEREAS, publicly funded rehabilitation programs are provided to blind individuals in a manner which limits the selection of service- providing agencies to those only specifically approved by the state agency in question; and

WHEREAS, the choice of a service-providing agency is a fundamental decision which will almost always be related to the outcome of the services purchased; and

WHEREAS, rehabilitation clients are now at the mercy of state agency policies and counselors when the critical decision is made as to the appropriate program to be used for personal adjustment and training services; and

WHEREAS, the selection of any service-providing agency should not be made as a matter of bureaucratic convenience or to fill some quota established by the state for sending individuals to certain preselected programs, regardless of their quality or relevance; and

WHEREAS, the selection of a service-providing agency is properly a matter of individual judgment, and the final choice to be made does not require any form of specialized expertise or training; therefore, the final choice should be made by the individual and not by the agency or its counselors: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization urge the Congress to adopt a "client's right of choice" provision to be observed by all states as a condition for receiving federal funding for vocational rehabilitation services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we request that the Bush Administration make the "client's right of choice" provision a national policy goal in rehabilitation, just as parental choice in education has been made a national policy objective, bearing the personal support of the President.

Resolution 91-04

WHEREAS, the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) has applied to renew its status as an accrediting agency recognized by the Secretary of Education; and

WHEREAS, the Secretary maintains a list of accrediting agencies that are recognized in particular fields only if they meet all of the criteria established for recognition; and

WHEREAS, NAC fails to meet several of the published criteria in that (1) accreditation is not required for agencies serving the blind to participate in any federal program; (2) NAC is not generally supported by agencies and professionals in the field of blindness, and NAC is certainly not supported by consumers; and (3) NAC lacks the resources (both financial and personnel) to carry out its mission; and

WHEREAS, in view of these failures the Secretary of Education should reject NAC'S application, just as virtually the entire blindness field (both agencies and consumers) has now rejected NAC: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that we strongly oppose the petition filed by NAC for continued recognition by the Secretary of Education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the Secretary to reject NAC'S petition on the basis of the evidence that NAC does not meet the established criteria for recognition.

Resolution 91-05

WHEREAS, the blind participate in all facets of the hobby of amateur radio on a basis of complete equality with their sighted peers; and

WHEREAS, most classes of amateur radio licenses require the demonstration of proficiency in receiving the International Morse Code; and

WHEREAS, the Morse Code is primarily an aural mode of communication, with no vision being required to utilize fully the code, and with no need of adaptive equipment or techniques; and

WHEREAS, blindness is not an obstacle to Morse Code proficiency; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently amended the regulations governing the Amateur Radio Service to permit waiver of Morse Code proficiency tests for the physically handicapped, including the blind; and

WHEREAS, waiver of code tests for amateur radio license applicants who are blind perpetuates the notion that the blind are inferior and are incapable of competing on terms of equality with their sighted peers: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that the organization call upon the Federal Communications Commission to amend the rules governing the Amateur Radio Service (Part 97) specifically to exclude blindness as a condition for waiver of Morse Code proficiency tests for amateur radio license applicants.

Resolution 91-06

WHEREAS, most Federal contractors are required to take affirmative action to employ and promote qualified individuals with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, sheltered workshops which employ the blind receive substantial federal contracts under priority arrangements prescribed by the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act; and

WHEREAS, at least seventy-five percent of the direct labor hours of work under such contracts must be performed by blind or other severely handicapped individuals, but hours of work in management and supervision are not under a similar requirement; and

WHEREAS, affirmative action principles have not been applied to these workshops, resulting in a pattern of discrimination whereby blind people are represented only as tokens in management and supervision; and

WHEREAS, responsible officials of the United States Department of Labor have adopted a hands-off posture and failed to scrutinize employment practices affecting the blind in the Javits-Wagner-O'Day program, thereby allowing the workshops to evade their affirmative action obligation: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization request a comprehensive compliance review of employment practices affecting the blind by sheltered workshops in the Javits-Wagner-O'Day program, such review to be made by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the United States Department of Labor; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is hereby urged to identify any and all remedies (including the possible need for legislative changes) which would improve affirmative action opportunities for blind persons in sheltered workshops that provide services or products to the government.

Resolution 91-07

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind was successful in securing federal legislation (known as the Kennelly amendment) allowing for the sale of products through vending machines to be operated by or on behalf of blind persons at interstate highway rest-stop areas; and

WHEREAS, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has requested changes in the law to permit a wide variety of products and services to be sold by commercial firms at rest, recreation, and safety areas throughout the national interstate highway system; and

WHEREAS, AASHTO has identified as many as fourteen hundred sites which it says are appropriate for commercial development if federal legislation is approved; and

WHEREAS, AASHTO'S proposal for commercialized development of rest stop areas has been submitted to the Congress in the form of the Bush Administration's bill for continuing and expanding the nation's surface transportation and highway improvement programs; and

WHEREAS, the AASHTO proposal would provide a priority for blind persons only for the operation of vending machines and then destroy the value of this priority by allowing merchandise and services to be sold over the counter by commercial firms in direct competition with blind vendors; and

WHEREAS, The United States Senate has rejected AASHTO'S rest-stop commercialization proposal by failing to include it in surface transportation amendments passed in June and sent to the House: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that we call upon the House of Representatives to concur with the Senate in turning thumbs down on AASHTO'S commercialization proposal; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization support efforts to expand the sale of merchandise and services at interstate highway areas only if there is a clear mandate for blind persons to have a priority in conducting such sales, whether by way of vending machines or otherwise.

Resolution 91-08

WHEREAS, blind individuals eligible to receive disability insurance benefits under Social Security are subject to an earnings limitation, referred to as the "substantial gainful activity test"; and

WHEREAS, the provision in law which governs the amount of countable earnings allowed under the substantial gainful activity test for working blind persons is the exempt earnings provision applicable to retired persons, age 65 to 69; and

WHEREAS, several proposals are pending in the Congress to alter the exempt earnings provision for retirees by removing the earnings limitation altogether or by substantially raising the current exemption; and

WHEREAS, the Social Security earnings limitation both for senior citizens and for working-age blind persons is economically unsound and socially harmful in that severe income penalties are levied against persons who attempt to become or to remain productive; and

WHEREAS, most of the pending proposals to raise or eliminate the earnings limitation would repeal the statutory relationship between substantial gainful activity for the blind and the exempt earnings provision for senior citizens, providing a work incentive for seniors while continuing to penalize blind persons who work; and

WHEREAS, the Social Security Administration has voiced support for raising the earnings exemption for seniors but has taken no particular stand pertaining to what effect (if any) a change in the law should have on allowed earnings for the blind: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization request the support of the Social Security Administration for maintaining the present statutory relationship between the earnings exemption for seniors and substantial gainful activity for the blind, if the earnings limitation is raised or removed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge all members and responsible leaders in the Congress to reject proposals to raise or remove the earnings limitation under Social Security unless provisions are included to exempt the earnings of blind persons to the same extent allowed for seniors.

Resolution 91-09

WHEREAS, Representative Edward Roybal has introduced H. R. 2437, a bill entitled the Independent Older Blind Individuals Amendments of 1991; and

WHEREAS, this legislation would establish a formula grant program and authorize an appropriation of $26 million in federal funds for distribution among all states so that needed adjustment and training services could be provided to older persons who become blind; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Roybal's bill proposes a much-needed expansion of the federal program of grants to independent living projects for the older blind, started under legislation originally developed by the National Federation of the Blind: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this Federation express strong support for the Independent Older Blind Individuals Amendments of 1991, in the form of H. R. 2437; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the responsible members and committees of the Congress to recognize the need for expanding services to older blind Americans by enacting H. R. 2437 at the earliest opportunity during the 102nd Congress.

Resolution 91-10

WHEREAS, in recent years the instruction and use of Braille have fallen to an appallingly low level; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is striving to reverse this trend; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that society recognize Braille as the key to literacy for blind people; and

WHEREAS, the inventor of the Braille Code, Louis Braille, was born on January 4, 1809: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization call upon the Congress of the United States to proclaim the week of January 4 National Braille Literacy Week.

Resolution 91-11

WHEREAS, the Hadley School for the Blind has for many decades offered foreign language correspondence courses in Braille to the blind of the United States and other countries; and

WHEREAS, the Hadley School for the Blind is the sole provider in the world of such courses for blind students; and

WHEREAS, having foreign language courses in Braille offers definite advantages to blind students who can thereby gain reading and spelling proficiency as well as speaking proficiency in the language; and

WHEREAS, proficiency in foreign languages is assuming ever increasing importance in the world of work; and

WHEREAS, Hadley recently has made a policy decision to discontinue all foreign language courses, claiming low enrollment figures and difficulties in the process of teaching foreign language by correspondence: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization condemn the Hadley School for the Blind for cutting off such an important channel for education and employment of blind persons and for doing so without prior consultation with the organized blind movement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the Hadley School for the Blind to rescind this policy decision and to continue its teaching of foreign languages while seeking ways to raise its enrollment levels and improve its teaching methodology.

Resolution 91-12

WHEREAS, the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) is on the ropes financially and exists in name only and as a shell of an organization; and

WHEREAS, NAC is dying and cannot survive because it has existed primarily as a source of friction and divisiveness in the blindness field, pitting agency against agency and blind consumers against agencies; and

WHEREAS, NAC'S failure to attain financial stability in twenty-five years of trying amply demonstrates that NAC is merely a political tool and not a legitimately constituted accreditation agency; and

WHEREAS, even NAC'S staunchest supporters and its principal financier, the American Foundation for the Blind, have wisely recognized that continuing to keep NAC afloat financially is not a constructive policy either for blind people or for the field of blindness in general: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization applaud and support the withdrawal of any agency from NAC because use of agency resources for NAC'S face-saving survival campaign is a harmful disservice to the blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon all agencies in the blindness field (including NAC'S current and former members) to put NAC in the past and to move more constructively toward a new era of unity and common purpose on behalf of all blind people.

Resolution 91-13

WHEREAS, the Affiliated Leadership League of and for the Blind of America (ALL) and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) are seeking the introduction of a bill in Congress to appoint a national commission for the stated purpose of studying the needs of the blind and to recommend legislative and policy changes to provide improvements in services to the blind; and

WHEREAS, the purposes and structure of such a commission must be discussed extensively and agreed upon in advance by all major interest groups affected and, in this case, the views of the blind, themselves, must clearly have weight if such a commission is to be developed at all; and

WHEREAS, the campaign by ALL and AER for a national commission on blindness is more a matter of self-serving organizational politics than it is the expression of a generally felt consensus that such a commission is needed at this time; and

WHEREAS, ALL and AER do not represent the movement of the organized blind and are not representative of the blind, a fact which suggests that this agenda is not in harmony with the needs of blind consumers: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization oppose the proposal for a national commission on blindness as it is presently constituted and sponsored by the Affiliated Leadership League of and for the Blind of America and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization advise all members of Congress that the national commission on blindness proposal lacks the support of blind consumers and should not be adopted unless changes in the proposal are made and the support of the blind themselves obtained.

Resolution 91-14

WHEREAS, many blind persons wish to serve their country in the armed forces just as do their sighted peers; and

WHEREAS, it is the firmly-established policy of the National Federation of the Blind that the blind should be subject to the military draft if it is reinstituted (Resolution 80-01) and that the blind should be allowed to serve in the armed forces of the United States in noncombat assignments (Resolutions 82-16, 85-16, and 87-14); and

WHEREAS, there may be combat duty assignments or tasks within a theater of combat which qualified blind individuals could perform with skill, honor, and distinction; and

WHEREAS, failure to exploit fully the resource of qualified blind persons in such situations would be a waste of talent and would constitute discriminatory treatment and a denial of their opportunity fully to exercise their rights and responsibilities as first-class citizens: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that we reaffirm our demand that qualified blind persons be allowed to serve in the armed forces of the United States in noncombat assignments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such persons be allowed to perform duty assignments within theaters of combat commensurate with their skills, talents, and capacities.

Resolution 91-15

WHEREAS, in 1972, Title XVI was added to the Social Security Act to establish the Supplemental Security Income benefit payments program for needy aged, blind, and disabled persons; and

WHEREAS, Title XVI and the regulations promulgated therefrom became effective in 1974; and

WHEREAS, over the past seventeen years, the SSI Program has remained virtually unchanged and has failed to keep in step with and has fallen far short of the economic and demographic changes within our society; and

WHEREAS, Gwendolyn King, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, has appointed a Supplemental Security Income Modernization Team of experts for the express purpose of collecting and compiling data to formulate suggested changes to update the SSI Program; and

WHEREAS, the Social Security Administration is to be commended for its efforts to modernize the antiquated SSI program; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind presented testimony to the SSI Modernization Team suggesting that the income and resource disregards be increased to a level commensurate with current economic standards; and

WHEREAS, the SSI Modernization Team will soon issue its findings and recommendations for changes in legislation; and

WHEREAS, it is expected that these findings and recommendations will include the suggestions offered in testimony by the National Federation of the Blind; and

WHEREAS, it is essential for the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Congress to recognize the urgency for modernizing the SSI law: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization commend the Social Security Administration for recognizing the serious and long overdue need to evaluate and modernize the Supplemental Security Income Program by the appointment of the SSI Modernization Team; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, to the extent that the soon-to-be- released findings and recommendations of the SSI Modernization Team support the suggestions of the National Federation of the Blind, we call upon the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Congress to act expeditiously upon these recommendations to reform the Supplemental Security Income Program.

Resolution 91-16

WHEREAS, although sighted people may obtain written information from book stores, news stands, retail stores, schools, and countless other locations, including local public libraries, blind people are systematically and routinely denied ready access to the printed word; and

WHEREAS, the primary source of material in Braille, tape, and disc for blind people is the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress (NLS); and

WHEREAS, with its current funding NLS can produce far less than one percent of the material which is made available to the sighted each year; and

WHEREAS, the lack of available materials and proper instruction in Braille means that far too many blind people, including the majority of today's blind children and youth, are functionally illiterate; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's largest organization of blind people, has over the years led the way and been committed to ensuring equitable print access and Braille literacy services to blind people through, among other things, its strong legislative advocacy in obtaining funding for NLS programs; and

WHEREAS, the 1991 White House Conference on Library and Information Services has as its themes Literacy, Democracy, and Productivity--themes which are in harmony with the goals of the NFB; and

WHEREAS, one set of recommendations to be considered by delegates at the White House Conference is entitled Recommendation ACCO7--Informational Barriers, which states:

"(1) The Federal Government should increase the 'fenced' funding for the Library of Congress Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in order to provide expanded production of Braille, cassette, and disc books and magazines as well as the necessary equipment for users;

"(2) If required, Congressional legislated funding should be allocated to ensure the uninterrupted free postal transmission of these materials;

"(3) There should be a program of research and development enacted to examine new and promising technologies for achieving the same goal in a more cost-effective manner;

"(4) Literacy in alternative media such as Braille should be encouraged and affirmed": Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this Federation support ACCO7-- Informational Barriers from the White House Conference on Library Services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the White House Conference to adopt a policy that the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provide blind people with library and information technology services in an alternative medium which is on a par with the library services available to their sighted peers.

Resolution 91-17

WHEREAS, the beginning of a deleterious trend in guide dog training and provision is observable in the State of California; and

WHEREAS, this trend is based on detailed and erroneous state legislation and regulation regarding guide dogs; and

WHEREAS, examples of this inappropriate state interference include refusing to transfer ownership of the guide dog to the blind person, refusing to recognize experienced guide dog users if the experience was acquired out of state, refusing to permit training of guide dogs in a home setting, and refusing to support equal access for blind persons with guide dogs who were privately trained; and

WHEREAS, the inappropriate state legislation and regulations also stifle the creative and competitive forces that can yield new techniques and approaches by prohibiting private guide dog training and by constructing impossibly high barriers to the establishment of new training facilities; and

WHEREAS, while protecting the employees of training facilities from accountability to consumers and state investigators, the Board in California has provided no protection to blind consumers from poor training, custodialism, and misrepresentation to the public by these same employees; and

WHEREAS, the Board's monopolistic approach is inconsistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and its state-centered approach is inconsistent with the long established right to travel freely throughout our nation; and

WHEREAS, several other states are considering adopting the same wasteful and harmful legislative and regulatory framework as the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of California is vigorously and courageously opposing these trespasses on dignity and common sense: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization urge state legislatures to abandon consideration of legislation to establish regulatory agencies similar to the California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind and urge the California legislature to abandon this unfortunate and long-lasting experiment.

Resolution 91-18

WHEREAS, most published information is produced in a form that is not directly accessible to the blind because the publishers of such information have had no obligation to produce it in a medium that blind people can read by themselves; and

WHEREAS, publishers are public accommodations as that term is used in the Americans with Disabilities Act and are therefore now obliged to provide blind people with direct access to the words they disseminate; and

WHEREAS, access is readily achievable with existing technology and must be enforced through regulations to be promulgated by the Department of Justice: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this organization urge the Department of Justice to specify, in the regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the duty of publishers to take positive steps to cooperate with all public and private entities in making published material accessible to the blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind pledge to work with the Department of Justice to assure that the Americans with Disabilities Act is interpreted and implemented by the federal government and the publishing industry in a way that augments and does not conflict with the important work performed by the Library of Congress National Library Service, Recording for the Blind, and others who produce materials in media usable by the blind population.

Resolution 91-20

WHEREAS, seventy percent of working-age blind persons are unemployed or severely underemployed; and

WHEREAS, this fact is not a temporary, passing phenomenon but a steady, stubborn pattern that has existed for decades; and

WHEREAS, experience, research, and logic demonstrate that joblessness among the blind is due, not to limitations of blindness, but to mistaken attitudes and poor training; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has worked hard to combat this problem in many ways, including the Job Opportunities for the Blind Information and Referral Program, legislative campaigns to achieve enactment of nondiscrimination laws in various occupations, court battles to enforce such laws, public education about the capacities of blind persons, and numerous other activities on local, state, and national levels; and

WHEREAS, we are justifiably proud of these efforts for the positive impact they have had on the welfare of the blind; and

WHEREAS, this 51st anniversary convention is a time both to celebrate our accomplishments and to plan strategically for even greater success in the years ahead; and

WHEREAS, the unemployment problem persists in ugly proportions, often damaging the security and psyches of thousands of our blind brothers and sisters; and

WHEREAS, our society as a whole thereby also suffers in its economic health and spiritual well-being: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1991, in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, that this Federation hereby reaffirm its long-term commitment to combating unemployment of blind people and declare this matter to be a top priority in our struggle for first-class citizenship; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization orient and coordinate its programs and activities in light of this priority.