National Federation of the Blind Celebrates a Successful Washington Seminar

With a new administration in Washington promising sweeping change, many wonder what the prospects for legislative success are in the rapidly evolving political environment.

Senator Dole Supports Space Available for Veterans with Disabilities

Federationists know that we are working to allow 100 percent service disabled veterans to participate in the military’s Space Available program, which allows active duty and retired military personnel to travel on Department of Defense flights when space is available. This week our cause gained a great champion in Senator Bob Dole. Senator Dole, a decorated World War II veteran, longtime Senate majority leader, and staunch advocate for veterans and Americans with disabilities, wrote to Senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, asking him to incorporate language into the National Defense Authorization Act which would finally allow veterans with disabilities to enjoy the privilege already granted to their active-duty and retired colleagues.

Lululemon Class Notice

In April of 2015, the NFB learned of a pending class action settlement between David New et al and Lululemon USA, Inc., which resolved claims pertaining to inaccessible touchscreen payment systems.  The settlement proposed to unfairly waive the rights of blind customers without due process or compensation.  To protect the rights of blind people, the NFB objected to the fairness of the proposed class settlement.  Our objections were heard and the settlement has since been amended so that it does not waive our rights without due process.  As part of the amended proposed settlement, the NFB has agreed to post the class action notice. Please see the notice here

We Must Stop the Amazon Fail!

We Must Stop the Amazon Fail!

Time for the White House to Upload the Internet Regs

Earlier this week I was honored to attend a White House reception and ceremony to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). President Obama spoke with passion and sincerity about the progress made since the signing of the ADA and some of the very significant executive orders he has made to raise expectations for people with disabilities. While I am proud of what the President has done to raise the bar for employment of and payment of fair wages to workers with disabilities, I left the White House in complete frustration after the President failed to mention anything about meaningful regulatory action that will ensure our full participation in the twenty-first century where the internet is critical to success.

National Federation of the Blind Urges Smarter Balanced to Fix Accessibility Barriers and Policies Before Launch of K-12 Assessments

The National Federation of the Blind, along with seven national disability advocacy and technology organizations, sent a letter on January 23, 2015, to the governing board of Smarter Balanced, a consortium of twenty-one member states that will administer Common Core assessment tests to K-12 students starting this spring. The letter advises the board to take immediate action to fix outstanding accessibility barriers and policies before the tests are launched. The letter identifies five issues that, if left unresolved, will prevent students who are blind or have other disabilities from participating equally in the tests, and from receiving necessary accommodations, as required by federal law.

The TIME Act: Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act

When you are reading through the legislative agenda for the National Federation of the Blind Washington Seminar next month, do not be alarmed when you do not see the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2015. Our effort to responsibly repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act will still be a huge priority this year at Washington Seminar, and Congressman Harper has already agreed to once again champion this effort with us.  Although the content of the bill is exactly the same, the title of the fair wages bill has simply changed to Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act or TIME Act.

Access to Absentee Ballots for Maryland Voters with Disabilities

On September 4, Judge Richard D. Bennett of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued a historic ruling requiring the Maryland Board of Elections to make its online ballot-marking tool available to voters with disabilities in the November election. The ruling in National Federation of the Blind et al. vs. Linda H. Lamone et al. means that Maryland voters with disabilities will be able to mark absentee ballots online for print out and mailing to the Board of Elections. 

However, before you can use the online ballot marking tool, you must first request that the ballot be delivered to you by email.

Following are steps to request email delivery of your absentee ballot:

The Next Steps on the Road to Equal Opportunity: ADA Celebration or Motivation for Action

Earlier this week I had the honor of representing the National Federation of the Blind at a White House ceremony where President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This new law represents a significant milestone for American workers with disabilities, because it provides, for the first time, real limitations on the circumstances under which people with disabilities can be placed in subminimum-wage jobs. The law will reduce the number of youth with disabilities who are tracked into subminimum-wage employment by requiring that they enter the vocational rehabilitation system—enabling them to be trained for, and placed in, competitive integrated employment.

Comments on Apple and NFB Resolution 2014-12

At the recently concluded annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, there was much discussion about Resolution 2014-12, regarding the accessibility of apps for the Apple iPhone and other iOS devices. The issues raised in the resolution are not new. They have been discussed by members of the Federation for a number of years and the proposed resolution clearly reflected influence from prior debates. Although opposition to the resolution was expressed both at the meeting of the Resolutions Committee and on the convention floor, the resolution was passed by the convention and is now the policy of the National Federation of the Blind. The debate, however, has not ended. It is continuing on the internet and social media.


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