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 Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.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 2018-01: Opposing the inclusion of Deaf services within the Bureau of Blind Services
Whereas, Throughout the history of rehabilitation services in Illinois, blind Illinoisans have always been served through a separate, identifiable agency/department, which since 1980 has been referred to as the Bureau of Blind Services, (BBS); And
Whereas, BBS counsellors have received specific training which enables them to understand rehabilitation needs specific to blind customers, including adjustment-to-blindness counseling and training in the use of non-visual alternatives including orientation/mobility and Braille,; and
WHEREAS, the Act establishing BBS, recognizing that blind customers, other stake holders, and the consumer organizations through which they act are best equipped to evaluate service specifics; and
Whereas, in April of this year, the Blind Services Planning Council was advised, not consulted about a merger of services for blind and deaf customers under the auspices of the Bureau of Blind Services; and
WHEREAS, upon learning of this general yet-to-be-defined proposal, the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, and the Illinois Council of the Blind drafted a joint letter seeking specifics and expressing concerns regarding the effects such a murger would have on the BBS’s primary mission of serving blind customers,; but
Whereas, the Director of Rehabilitation services, the BBS Director, and the acting Assistant Bureau Chief continued to formulate a plan to pursue a murger by instituting two pilot programs with one of them including services for blind and deaf customers as an entity, and the other to include services for the blind and deaf under general rehabilitation services, all without the guidance of the BSPC or other stake holders or consumerorganizations; And
Whereas, these actions have been substantiated in written communication from the Secretary of Human services; and
WHEREAS, Based on such information as has been provided to the Blind Services Planning Council, the Blind Services Planning Council and the vague nature of assurances regarding effects on BBS personnel or service delivery, the Blind Services Planning Council voted in a special meeting to oppose the BBS’s pursuit of a murger or the institution of pilot programs; and
Whereas, the Blind Services Planning Council was again advised, and not consulted about this plan; and
Whereas, the Blind Services Planning Council is now on record as opposing a merger of any kind; Now therefore
Be it resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in convention assembled this 27th day of October, 2018, in the village of Rosemont Illinois, that this organization vigorously oppose merging services for the blind with any and/or all other disability groups; And
Be it further resolved that this organization call upon officials of the bureau of Blind Services to cease and desist from disregarding the Bureau for the Blind Act; and
Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution and copies of the Bureau for the Blind Act be sent to Governor Rauner, Gubernatorial candidate J. B. Pritzker, and to the chairs of the House Appropriations Human Services Committee, the House Human Services Committee and the Senate Human services Committee.
Resolution 2018-02: Regarding Illinois Funding for Public Transportation
WHEREAS, if blind persons are to achieve full integration into all aspects of community life, we must have access to efficient reliable public transportation; and
WHEREAS, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) uses state and federal funds for a wide range of its operating and capital activities to provide a national system of passenger rail service, including regional service through several corridors and service to smaller communities that have no other passenger transportation; and
WHEREAS, several regional and long-distance routes serve Illinois; and
WHEREAS, budgetary problems in recent years have imposed challenges on Illinois’s transit systems, especially, to achieve and maintain “State of Good Repair”; and
WHEREAS, state funds serve as a local match for federal capital funding, thus increased state dollars would bring more federal dollars to Illinois’s transit systems; and
WHEREAS, these budget shortfalls have a detrimental impact on the ability of the blind as well as other people with disabilities to travel to school, work, doctor’s appointments, community meetings, civic events, worship services, and recreational activities: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in Convention assembled this twenty-eighth day of October, 2018, in the Village of Rosemont, Illinois, that this organization strongly urge the Rauner Administration and Illinois General Assembly to recognize that mass transit and rail transportation are integral parts of this state’s infrastructure and should be supported by increases in state funding.
Resolution 2018-03: Commending Amtrak for reaching out to the blind community on the proposed remodeling of Chicago Union Station
WHEREAS, Amtrak has plans to remodel Chicago Union Station; and
WHEREAS, Chicago Union Station has several features making it accessible for the blind traveler, i.e., automated track announcements along the north and south concourses; and
WHEREAS, Amtrak invited members of the blind community to meet and tour with officials concerning proposed remodeling of Union Station; and
WHEREAS, this meeting took place on August 6th of this year; and
WHEREAS, during the tour and the meeting Amtrak officials took great interest in the comments, suggestions and concerns expressed by the members of the blind community; and
WHEREAS, entities often make changes to their facilities and programs without consulting the blind community causing undue hardship to the very people they purport to serve; Now, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in convention assembled this 28th day of October, 2018, in the village of Rosemont Illinois, that this organization commend Amtrak for reaching out to the blind community about its plans for Chicago Union Station; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly encourage Amtrak to continue its outreach to this and other blindness organizations with concerns about its facility, programs and services.