[nfbmi-talk] 3 Issues for 2011 Washington Seminar

Fred Wurtzel f.wurtzel at att.net
Thu Jan 13 00:14:22 CST 2011


Hi, 

 

Some people may have difficulty getting on the web.  Here are our 3 issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Agenda of Blind Americans:

Priorities for the 112th Congress, FIRST Session

 

 

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest and largest
organization of blind people in the United States.  As the Voice of the
Nation's Blind, we represent the collective views of blind people throughout
society.  All of our leaders and the vast majority of our members are blind,
but anyone can participate in our movement.  There are an estimated 1.3
million blind people in the United States, and every year approximately
75,000 Americans become blind.  The social and economic consequences of
blindness affect not only blind people, but also our families, our friends,
and our coworkers.  

 

Three legislative initiatives demand the immediate attention of the 112th
Congress in its first session.  

 

Initiative 1

We urge Congress to work with blind Americans to create a Technology Bill of
Rights for the Blind which mandates that consumer electronics, home
appliances, kiosks, and electronic office technology and software provide
user interfaces that are accessible through nonvisual means.  

This legislation should:  

*	Mandate that all consumer electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and
electronic office technology and software be designed so that blind people
are able to access the same functions as sighted people by nonvisual means
and with substantially equivalent ease of use.  
*	Create a commission within the Department of Commerce to establish
standards for nonvisual accessibility of electronic devices intended for use
in the home or office.  Such a commission should represent all stakeholders,
including:  

-          organizations of the blind; 

-          manufacturers of consumer electronics, home appliances, kiosks,
and electronic office technology and software, or associations representing
such manufacturers; and 

-          experts on universal design, electronic engineering, and related
fields.  




*        Establish within the Department of Justice the authority to enforce
the regulations promulgated by the commission established by this
legislation.  

*	Authorize the commission to reexamine and rewrite standards
periodically as consumer electronic technology continues to evolve.  

 

Initiative 2

We urge Congress to work with blind Americans to establish a commission
within the Department of Education to set uniform national standards for the
education of blind students in grades K-12.  The Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act and other existing laws and regulations do not
currently provide objective standards to measure the educational progress of
blind students.  

This legislation should:  

*        Create a commission within the Department of Education, comprised
to ensure representation of all stakeholders, to set educational standards
for blind children, and to promulgate regulations.  

 

Initiative 3

We urge Congress to increase business opportunities for disabled Americans
by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Business Opportunity Act.  

This legislation should:  

*        Authorize tax credits to for-profit businesses that purchase goods
or services from businesses owned by individuals with disabilities
(including from businesses operated under the federal Randolph-Sheppard
program), 

*        Amend Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act to include people with
disabilities as presumptively socially disadvantaged, 

*        Change federal procurement law to provide that businesses owned by
individuals with disabilities (including businesses operated under the
federal Randolph-Sheppard program) are included on the list of preferred
small businesses to which subcontracts must be awarded, and 

*        Create training and technical assistance programs to prepare
individuals with disabilities to operate businesses capable of securing
federal and private contracts.  

 

For more information about these priorities, please consult the attached
fact sheets.  

 

Blind Americans need your help to achieve our goals of economic security,
increased opportunity, and full integration into American society on a basis
of equality.  Enactment of these legislative proposals will represent
important steps toward reaching these goals.  We need the help and support
of each member of Congress.  Our success benefits not only us, but the whole
of America as well.  In this time of national economic insecurity, these
measures will contribute to increasing the tax base and encouraging the
purchase of consumer goods.  

 

 




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