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 Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.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 2017-01: Thanking and commending those Illinois legislators who sponsored the Parental Rights for the Blind Act
WHEREAS, the rights and responsibilities associated with caring for and raising biological and adopted children have been recognized virtually since the dawn of society and under all political systems worldwide, denied only where that society has strong reason to believe a parent’s actions threaten the safety or welfare of their children; and
WHEREAS, ancient and inaccurate assumptions regarding the limitations imposed by blindness have prompted societies to deny custody or even unsupervised visitation to their children; but
WHEREAS, with proper training and appropriate support, blind parents have consistently demonstrated the ability to safely and successfully supervise and raise children; and
WHEREAS, research has established that biological or adoptive parents, whether sighted or blind, will devote greater attention to the needs of their children than would a state-assigned guardian or even a related family member; and
WHEREAS, despite this general recognition, misunderstandings and prejudices still prompt social workers, child protection officials and even courts in Illinois and elsewhere to remove children from their parents; and
WHEREAS, as a result of said unjust actions, laws must be enacted throughout the nation to protect blind individuals in establishing and maintaining relationships with their children; And
WHEREAS, Illinois Representative Laura Fine and Senators Sue Rezin and John Mulroe, agreeing with the National Federation of the Blind’s contention regarding the need for such legislation, sponsored the Parental Rights for the Blind Act, House Bill 2626, which grants such parents the same rights and supports where necessary to parent their children as other members of society enjoy; And
WHEREAS, thanks to their sponsorship and efforts to encourage the support of other legislators and address the concerns of the Department of Children and Family Services, HB2626 became law and was signed by Governor Rauner; and
WHEREAS, we have received a communique from the Department of Children and Family Services inviting us to assist in developing and establishing training protocols meant to be implemented by professionals when training of blind parents is thought to be necessary: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in convention assembled the 27th day of October, 2017 in the city of Naperville Illinois that this organization commend Representative Laura Fine and Senators Sue Rezin and John Mulroe for their sponsorship of Hb2626; And
BE IT FURTHER resolved that this organization commend Governor Bruce Rauner for signing hb2626 into law; And
BE IT FURTHER resolved that this organization work with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to develop implementing regulations that insure proper training of professionals who work with parents when necessary, and work with courts and others to fully implement this legislation.
Resolution 2017-02: RESOLUTION COMMENDING CONGRESSWOMAN JAN SCHAKOWSKY FOR SUPPORT OF LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
WHEREAS, since its founding in 1940, the National Federation of the Blind has strived to improve the quality of life for those who are blind through a variety of programs and initiatives; and
WHEREAS, one significant way to improve the quality of life for those who are blind is to introduce legislative initiatives in a variety of areas including education, social security reform, employment initiatives and development of technology; and
WHEREAS, during the past decade, one member of congress from Illinois has either sponsored or cosponsored legislation addressing a variety of areas in every Congressional session; and
WHEREAS, This representative has during the past decade, sponsored legislation meant to make home appliances more accessible for those who are blind; and
WHEREAS, this representative has consistently cosponsored legislation meant to improve employment conditions through her support of legislation that guarantees all blind workers a salary equal to the Federal Minimum wage; and
WHEREAS, this representative is currently a cosponsor of HR1377 the Transitioning to Integrated Meaningful Employment Act, as well as HR1735 the Access Technology Affordability Act: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in convention assembled this 29th day of October in the city of Naperville Illinois, that this organization commend Representative Jan Schakowsky for her ongoing support of legislative initiatives proposed by the National Federation of the Blind.
Resolution 2017-03: Regarding the introduction, testing and accessibility to the blind of Autonomous Vehicles in Illinois
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is looking into the future when it comes to the blind and driving, and autonomous vehicles will allow the blind to drive independently; and
WHEREAS, access to autonomous cars will not only increase the independence of the blind by eliminating the need to coordinate with the schedules and willingness of available sighted persons, but, will increase safety for all; And
WHEREAS, certain Chicago alderpersons, noting concerns such as automated vehicles being used by terrorists, displacement of employment opportunities for taxies, pizza delivery persons, and other similarly luddite concerns, have proposed strict regulations to delay or even thwart the deployment of autonomous vehicles in Chicago; And
WHEREAS, sUCH DELAY WOULD detrimentally impact the independence and safety of the blind and of others needing reliable affordable transportation; And
WHEREAS, autonomous vehicles, to be useful to the blind, need to include accessible technology that allows the blind to monitor speed and environmental conditions , and to enter destination information or intervene to the same extent available to the sighted: Now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED in convention assembled this 29th day of October, 2017;
The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois oppose any legislation whether proposed by the state or a subdivision of the state which would prohibit or slow the implementation of the introduction of autonomous vehicles in Illinois; And
BE IT FURTHER Resolved that this organization support the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to assure that autonomous vehicles that may be owned or rented by the blind include necessary accessibility features.
Resolution 2017-04: regarding licensing of service animals
WHEREAS, the use of guide dogs and other service animals has greatly facilitated the independence of the blind and of others with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the training these service animals and their handlers receive equip the animals to assist their handlers in mitigating limitations associated with their particular disabilities; and
WHEREAS, although such service animal teams have been part of society for over 80 years with little disruption to society, recent media has alleged problems caused by “fake service animals” which lack necessary training and/or are not under the control of their handlers; and
WHEREAS, entities seeking to expand the market for the animals trained by their particular programs and to suppress competition have, in many states including Illinois, introduced legislation that would require all service animals used in those states to be licensed and to demonstrate obedience to a certain prescribed set of commands; and
WHEREAS, such a bill has been twice proposed in Illinois, most recently as HB3162, which legislation would have been inappropriate and harmful as applied to guide dogs and their handlers and would inappropriately apply a “one size fits all” model to animals which should be trained regarding the disabilities of a wide range of handlers; and
WHEREAS, legislation such as that proposed would restrict the sources and quality of available dogs and place unnecessary burdens on handlers, many of whom require animals of specific training not readily available; and
WHEREAS, The licensing scheme set forth in this proposed legislation would do little to address the alleged problems caused by those who misrepresent themselves as disabled or their animal as a trained service animal; And
WHEREAS, the experience of the National Federation of the Blind with accrediting entities with a pecuniary interest in regulating particular fields, most notably the National Accreditation Council of State Agencies serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) have demonstrated the perils and futility of allowing entities with a financial interest to set standards that actually result in improve services or training: Now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the blind that this organization oppose any legislation that would require that service animals be state certified or licensed.