The official policies of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois are established every year with annual resolutions adopted at the state convention.
The resolutions committee meets early during the convention. Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.
Resolution 2014-01: regarding non visual access to taxi cabs in Chicago
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind strongly supports nonvisual information access — that is, the information available to sighted people must be just as equally, easily, quickly and intuitively nonvisually accessible and available to people who are blind or visually impaired; and,
WHEREAS, technologies related to rear seat communication devices in taxicabs now can provide equal information access to persons who are blind or visually impaired; and,
WHEREAS, at this time, some systems, now in public use in Chicago taxicabs, provide information to blind and visually impaired people in an excellent and accessible fashion; and,
WHEREAS, far too many of these devices and systems, however, do not provide equal access to the blind; and,
WHEREAS, the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office Of People With Disabilities (MOPD) and the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs (BACP) are working on functional standards for such systems;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, in Convention Assembled, this second day of November, 2014, in the City of Naperville, Illinois, that this organization strongly urge the City of Chicago to issue a clear and robust regulation, delineating a time line for installation and implementation of these systems; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that this organization urge the City of Chicago to consider lack of equal information access in rear seat communication devices a violation punishable according to ordinances pertaining to other taxi infractions.
Resolution 2014-02: regarding the failure of the Illinois Department of rehabilitation services to appoint a Director or otherwise respond to the concerns of the blind
WHEREAS, in June of 2013, Bureau of the Blind Director Bettye Odem-Davis retired from that position; and,
WHEREAS, Since that time, the bureau has been informally overseen by Francisco Alverado, a person who was selected without the input or prior knowledge of the Blind Services Planning Council, consumer organizations of the blind, or other important stake holders; and,
WHEREAS, It is therefore not known whether the current acting director has the education, experience or other qualifications to direct the bureau in a colaborative manner; and,
WHEREAS, in the intervening 16 months, our concerns about the Bureau’s leadership have been affirmed in that neither its acting director nor DORS Director have been responsive to the Blind Services Planning Council or other stake holders, violating the letter and the spirit of the Bureau of the Blind Act; and,
WHEREAS, the BSPC has received no written reports from the Director of Rehabilitation Services nor the Acting Bureau Chief since November, 2012; and,
Whereas, no candidate was chosen as Bureau Chief by the director of Rehabilitation Services, even though one of the considered candidates received endorsement from the National federation of the Blind of Illinois, the Illinois Association of Blind Merchants, the Illinois Council of the Blind, and the Blind Services Planning Council; and,
WHEREAS, Without an effective colaborative leader, the BSPC has no way of meeting its responsibility to oversee and advise the Bureau regarding the changing needs and technologies that are integral to effective service delivery, thus resulting in a deterioration of said services;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, in Convention Assembled, this second day of November, 2014, in the City of Naperville, Illinois; that this organization demand that the DORS Director, the DHS Director, and the Governor expedite the selection of a Bureau Director; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if such cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, that this organization, in colaboration with the BSPC and other organizations representing the interests of the blind, pursue all remedies to insure enforcement of our right to effective services through a strong Bureau of the Blind.
Resolution 2014-03: regarding the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois’ appreciation to Illinois congressional members for standing up for workers with disabilities
WHEREAS, HR 831 was introduced during this congress to eliminate section 14-c of the Fair Labor Standards Act; and,
WHEREAS, this section as written allows for employers to be exempt from paying their disabled workers at least the minimum wage; and,
WHEREAS, Such a provision in the law is outdated and discriminatory; and,
WHEREAS, despite the discriminatory nature of this section of law, some so-called organizations of the disabled, who mainly run sheltered work shops have lobbied congress to keep the status quo, thus, supporting the second class status of disabled workers; and,
WHEREAS, despite the political pressure applied by these special interest groups, several members of the Illinois congressional delegation have chosen to stand With the National Federation of the Blind and other disability rights organizations by deciding to cosponsor HR831;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the National Federation of the blind of Illinois, in Convention Assembled, this second day of November, 2014, in the City of Naperville, Illinois, here by thank the following members for standing up for disabled workers. Tammy Duckworth, Bill Enyart, Robin Kelly, Chery Bustos, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush and Jan Schkowsky.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly encourage these members to encourage their colleagues to stand with us.
Resolution 2014-04: regarding Training offered by the National Association of Blind Merchants and Hadley School for the Blind
WHEREAS, State Licensing Agencies under the Randolph-Sheppard Act are required to provide training to ensure prospective blind entrepreneurs are qualified to manage and operate vending facilities; and,
WHEREAS, many state vocational rehabilitation agencies have inferior training programs or do not have the resources to provide meaningful training to prospective blind entrepreneurs; and,
WHEREAS, recruiting qualified candidates for the Randolph-Sheppard Program has become a challenge for many state licensing agencies; and,
WHEREAS, a major deterrent to attracting quality candidates is the time required to be away from home to complete training; and,
WHEREAS, the National Association of Blind Merchants and The Hadley School for the Blind have launched an on-line training program that represents the first ever national training curriculum for Randolph-Sheppard; and,
WHEREAS, the training will be delivered utilizing Hadley’s internationally recognized on-line training model; and,
WHEREAS, Hadley will have a faculty instructor dedicated to teaching the on-line courses; and,
WHEREAS, most higher education institutions in this country now allow students to complete undergraduate and post graduate degrees on-line and it has proven to be a successful platform for educating college students; and,
WHEREAS, this training is being made available to state vocational rehabilitation agencies at a very reasonable cost per student; and,
WHEREAS, the Hadley training will allow prospective Randolph-Sheppard vendors to complete critical modules that will replace most of the classroom training requiring that the SLA’s only have to provide state specific training and the hands-on experience; and,
WHEREAS, by adopting this training it will give our state’s blind citizens more options to be placed in other state BEP Programs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, in Convention Assembled, this second day of November, 2014, in the City of Naperville, Illinois, that this Affiliate recommend that the Committee of Blind Vendors and Business Enterprises Program management give serious consideration to adopting the Hadley training as the core coursework required of all prospective Randolph-Sheppard entrepreneurs; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the BEP Program develop a short term training to educate trainees on state requirements and also develop a hands-on / on-the-job experience that reinforces the concepts learned from the Hadley coursework.
Resolution 2014-05: regarding all ride-sharing companies to follow all state and federal disability non-discrimination laws
WHEREAS, the Illinois White Cane Act, and the Illinois Human Rights mandate that states that common passenger carriers and places where the public are invited, cannot treat people differently based on disability; and,
WHEREAS, the 2008 amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act generally allow persons with disabilities to use service animals in public, as long as the animal provides a useful function, such as guide dogs; and,
WHEREAS, ride-sharing companies are a new phenomenon, cheaper than most traditional taxi cabs and Blind people find these services useful and convenient; and,
WHEREAS, blind people who are users of guide dogs encounter drivers who don’t want a dog in their car and such denial of service is discriminatory and thus unlawful;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, in Convention Assembled, this second day of November, 2014, in the City of Naperville, Illinois, that this organization call on all ride-sharing companies who desire to operate in the State of Illinois to follow such non-discrimination laws; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization call on all governmental authorities who regulate transportation providers to enforce all applicable non-discrimination laws.
Resolution 2014-06: regarding Chicago Taxi Smart Phone Ap
WHEREAS, in recent years, ride share services have presented formidable competition to the taxicab industry; and
WHEREAS, the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), regulates the taxicab industry in Chicago; and
WHEREAS, in an article published Monday, October 27, the Chicago Tribune reported that BACP will let bids for a company to produce a smart phone app which will work like a central dispatching system — that is, the app will dispatch a taxicab closest to the customer’s location, from any company; and
WHEREAS, on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, the City Council convened a joint committee meeting and public hearing, on accessible taxicabs; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois presented testimony urging the City of Chicago to adopt strong standards requiring nonvisual access in rear seat communication devices; and
WHEREAS, the same principle applies to smart phone apps; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED ”’ that this Organization strongly urge the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and Mayor’s Office For People with Disabilities (MOPD) to ensure competent and equal nonvisual access — that is, the information available to sighted people must be just as equally, easily, quickly and intuitively nonvisually accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.