[nfbmi-talk] Fw: National Federation of the Blind of Michigan RESOLUTION

Marcus Simmons president at map-n.org
Tue Feb 18 20:32:53 UTC 2014


FYI

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Karen Adams-Powell 
To: Marcus Simmons 
Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:47 PM
Subject: RE: National Federation of the Blind of Michigan RESOLUTION


Dear Mr. Simmons - I wanted to acknowledge receipt of the proposed Resolutions you sent to me and Senator Gregory last evening.  I will be discussing the proposals with the Senator and his Legislative Director and we will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.  Thank you. ~ Karen

 

Karen Adams-Powell

Constituent Relations Director

Office of Senator Vincent Gregory

(517) 373-0486 Direct

(517) 373-7888 Office

(517) 373-2983 Fax

kpowell at senate.michigan.gov

 

From: Marcus Simmons [mailto:president at map-n.org] 
Sent: Monday, February 17, 2014 9:16 PM
To: Karen Adams-Powell
Subject: National Federation of the Blind of Michigan RESOLUTION

 

RESOLUTION 2013-01    
A Resolution to Re-establish the Michigan
 Commission for the Blind through an Act of the Legislature
                WHEREAS, Executive Order 2012 - 10 abolishes the Board of Commissioners,
established by Public Act 260 of 1978, as amended, section 393.352 of Michigan Compiled
Laws; and
                WHEREAS, The abolition of the Michigan Commission for the Blind Board
of
Commissioners under Executive Order 2012 - 10 eliminates the Commission board's
participation to develop and set the policies that affect the lives of blind citizens
both
personally and professionally; and
                WHEREAS, Executive Order 2012 -10 does not comply with PA 260 of
1978
and the Executive Organization Act of 1965 and other federal regulations required
under the Rehabilitation Services Administration as the Board of Commissioners has
been
abolished and replaced with an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is only to advise
the Director of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons; and
                 WHEREAS, Executive order 2012-10 grants to The director of Licensing
and
Regulatory Affairs the authority to make final agency decisions related to grievances
filed under due process rights granted by promulgated rules against the department
providing no fair and impartial review and judgment of such adjudication, thereby
creating an unethical conflict of interest:  Now, therefore,
                BE
 IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan in convention
assembled this 20th day of October, 2013, in
the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan causes the Michigan
Legislature to enact a bill to abolish the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and
the
position of Director and to re-establish the Michigan Commission for the Blind, The
Board of Commissioners and position of Director, and all other rights to the Commission
Board found in P.A. 260.

RESOLUTION 2013-02
A Resolution Related to Program Access and BSBP
                WHEREAS, all Vocational Rehabilitation entities, including the Michigan
Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, (BSBP) have long ago been required to provide
"program access" to all the facilities it uses on a daily basis and to hold hearings,
meetings and events in fully accessible facilities, even to the point of signing
assurances with the Rehabilitation Services Administration annually that it does
fully comply with these long-standing obligations; and
                WHEREAS, one of those long-standing requirements was, and is to have
raised character Braille signage mounted on every permanent room, nearest the latch
side of each door in accordance with American with Disabilities Act Guidelines (3.40.1,
4, 5, and 6); and
                WHEREAS, all such barriers were to have been removed under the required
ADA transition plan by no later than July 26, 1995, exist to this very day in most,
if not all, facilities used by the BSBP; and
                WHEREAS, the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are civil
rights laws requiring affirmative action; and therefore these inactions by the BSBP
constitute not only gross dereliction of known duties and deliberate indifference
to these civil rights laws, but also must be considered malicious and intentional
acts of mass discrimination; and
                WHEREAS, members of, and indeed the entire state affiliate of the
National Federation of the Blind of Michigan (NFBMI), have promoted the full application
of these requirements repeatedly over the years along with documenting violations;
and
                WHEREAS, the NFBMI has long promoted Braille, including its use in
the building environment, for reasons obvious to all:  Now, therefore
                BE IT RESOLVED
that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan in convention assembled this
20th day of October, 2013, in
the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan will
lodge  a formal Complaint forthwith with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the
United States Department of Education, along with supporting documentation, on behalf
of all its members, and indeed all people who are blind in the State of Michigan,
against   the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Bureau
of Services for Blind Persons as an entity; and
                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that as a part of this Complaint, the NFBMI
urges OCR to promptly enforce our individual and collective civil rights and to make
the class whole as its charge.

RESOLUTION 2013-03
Bureau of Services for Blind Persons Lack of Compliance
                WHEREAS, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires the following:
1. Public hearings for the gathering of information regarding the State Plan for
provision of rehabilitation services;
2. The State Rehabilitation Council requires representation from all disability groups;
3. Information related to the provision of services
. and consumer rights be provided in an accessible format as the preferred format
of the individual;
4. Consumers are afforded choice in development and implementation of their Individualized
Plan for Employment with regard to career choices and service providers;
5. Individuals who are beneficiaries of SSI and SSDI shall not be required to contribute
such benefits toward the fulfillment of their individualized plan for employment;
and
                WHEREAS, the experiences of blind consumers of rehabilitation services
and the most recent findings of the Federal Monitoring Report of 2009 demonstrates
a total lack of regard for the above requirements; and
                WHEREAS, not withstanding the individual and collective pleas of
blind consumers to the Rehabilitation Services Administration, including to the Commissioner
of RSA directly, to address and to correct failure to comply with the provisions
of the Act, and nothing has been done:  Now, therefore,
                BE IT RESOLVED
that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan in convention assembled this
20th day of October, 2013, in
the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan
calls upon the Rehabilitation Services Administration to take immediate and affirmative
steps to fully enforce the Rehabilitation Act and its regulations with regard to
the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSB P) to ensure ongoing oversight of BSBP
operation and administration, including particular attention to consumer choice,
public input,  the illegal requirement that SSI and SSDI beneficiaries contribute
to their employment plan, the appropriate composition of the State Rehabilitation
Council and remediation of all findings of the Federal Monitoring Report.

RESOLUTION 2013-04
Right to Due Process Administrative Hearings
                WHEREAS, all entities of State and local government are required
to follow the effective communications requirements of the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990, including the obligation to affirmatively, let alone upon request, remit
information in alternate formats to people who are blind; and
                WHEREAS, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that
all recipients of federal funds provide auxiliary aids and services to those who
are blind; and
                WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court found in
Tennessee v Lane
 that state and local courts are not immune from these obligations and, indeed, have
high responsibilities in these regards, for lack of access fundamentally denies "due
process and equal protection under the law"; and
                WHEREAS, the Michigan Administrative Hearing Systems (MAHS) is both
a Title II entity, federal fund recipient and an administrative law program where
blind Business Enterprise Program participants and advocates, as well as others,
routinely appear to seek justice and receive due process and equal protection under
laws, including Public Act 260 of 1978 as well as major aspects of the Rehabilitation
Act; and
                WHEREAS, MAHS, in documented fashion and principals therein, have
repeatedly denied advocates, petitioners and respondents who are blind information
in accessible formats and in a timely manner; and
                WHEREAS, these are systemic, chronic, pervasive and fundamental violations
of the civil rights of all
Michigan
 citizens who are blind, as a class, by failure to act affirmatively in these regards;
and
                WHEREAS, the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons has also
been complicit in not only ensuring that MAHS follows these laws, but rather, has
repeatedly violated these very same provisions of the law in these administrative
proceedings which are in and of themselves conscious and malicious acts of discrimination
perpetuated repeatedly against numerous blind individuals:  Now, therefore,
                BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
in convention assembled this 20th day of October, 2013, in
the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan
will lodge a Complaint forthwith against the Michigan Department of Licensing and
Regulatory Affairs (MAHS's parent), MAHS, and The
Bureau of Services for Blind Persons within the United States Department of Justice,
Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, and the civil rights office of
the United States Attorney for Michigan.

RESOLUTION 2013-05
Effective Communications and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons
              WHEREAS, Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that all
Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, including the Michigan Bureau of Services for
Blind Persons (BSBP) communicates effectively through "appropriate modes of communication:
with all customers; and
             WHEREAS, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Subpart
e, Communications) requires that all entities of State and local government provide
information to all people who are blind in their most effective format and in a timely
manner, including, of course, all those engaged with the Michigan Bureau of Services
for Blind Persons; and
             WHEREAS, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires the
same; and
              WHEREAS, it has been documented over the years that BSBP does not,
in all cases, remit timely materials in Braille, audio, electronic, or large print
even after continued requests from customers, Business Enterprise Program licensees
and members of the public who are blind; and
                WHEREAS, these documented and ongoing breaches of civil rights laws
delay, deny and otherwise inhibit delivery of required services and "due process
and equal protection" under these laws and thus constitute systemic, chronic and
pervasive acts of discrimination against people who are blind in the State of Michigan;
and
                WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan is the
leading advocate for the rights of all the blind of Michigan, and believes such violations
of the law by the BSBP denies blind persons of their right to equal access and such
violations could be readily corrected by the BSBP:  Now, therefore,
                BE IT RESOLVED
that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan in convention assembled this
20th day of October, 2013, in
the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan
 will file a Complaint forthwith to the United States Department of Education's Office
of Civil Rights against the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons detailing
the chronic acts of discrimination and demanding prompt compliance with all applicable
laws in these regards.

RESOLUTION 2013-06
A Resolution to Promote
 STEM and Braille
             WHEREAS, there is national recognition that Science, Technology, Engineering
and Math (STEM) fields of study are not being engaged in by sufficient numbers of
all students; and
             WHEREAS, historically, blind students have been excluded or limited
in their participation in STEM careers and fields of study in K-12 and higher education;
and
WHEREAS, such pioneers as Dr. Abraham Nemeth Gereig Vermeij and Cary Supalo, among
many others have shown that given the opportunity and training blind people can excel
in STEM careers on terms of equality with their sighted peers; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Abraham Nemeth resided in Michigan for most of his adult life and was
the world's premier inventor and innovator of the Braille reading and writing system
after Louis Braille, himself; and
 WHEREAS, The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan (NFBMI declares its ongoing
commitment to Braille as a fundamental means of access to equality with our sighted
peers; and
WHEREAS, Braille literacy in America and in
Michigan
 has decreased to a morbidly unacceptable rate; and
WHEREAS, the NFBMI has actively been engaged in the support and promotion of Braille
by sponsoring a Braille Literacy law; and
WHEREAS, for the past 4 years the NFBMI has been a leader in providing opportunities
for blind youth to gain experience in and learn about STEM and Braille activities
through summer science and Braille camping programs and birding and nature education
programs; and
 WHEREAS, our primary base of operations has been
Camp Tuhsmeheta
 through various agreements with Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB); and
 WHEREAS, Camp Tuhsmeheta
 remains an attractive and rich possible site for future STEM activities; and
 WHEREAS, ongoing attempts to negotiate satisfactory agreements with OUB have yielded
less than satisfactory results; and
 WHEREAS, the NFBMI wishes to use its energy to focus on programming and not to have
to be concerned with tangential contractual and philosophical matters; and
 WHEREAS, the OUB Board has continued to drift further from an acceptable philosophical
base for working with blind adults and youth; and
 WHEREAS, a tipping point has been reached which makes it preferable to seek new
relationships and create STEM programs which meet our academic standards and are
presented within a positive philosophy of blindness which affirms that any blind
student can successfully engage in STEM activities and enjoy a supportive, encouraging
environment and understand that all activities, policies and practices maintain the
highest expectations for all participants and employees:  Now, therefore,
  BE IT RESOLVED
that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan in convention assembled this
20th day of October, 2013, in
the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan
adopt as an ongoing project the active presentation of STEM and Braille training
to youth in any setting or season deemed appropriate for such teaching; and
                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization actively seek out and
expend funds and enter into contractual or other agreements necessary to provide
high quality teaching programs, employees and goods and services  which conform to
the principles set forth herein; and
                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization support STEM and Braille
teaching staff and administrators by funding board approved positions, salaries,
training, acquiring equipment and materials and paying reasonable expenses including
travel, room and board and related expenses under the guidance and oversight of the
President and board of this organization.

RESOLUTION 2013-07
Reopening and Expanding Business Employment Opportunities for the Blind through the
Michigan Business
Enterprise Program
  WHEREAS, the Michigan Business Enterprise Program (BEP) of the Bureau of Services
for Blind Persons (BSBP) has a  rich history of providing business employment opportunities
to blind persons through the Randolph Shepherd Act and Regulations, and Public Act
260 of 1978 as amended and
              WHEREAS, the BEP is the single largest employer of blind persons within
the state of
Michigan
; and
             WHEREAS, over a period of years the business employment opportunities
for the blind have gradually declined from a program high of 119 vending facilities
to a current low of 72 vending facilities due to systemic factors as well as unqualified
and incompetent management and unethical and illegal business and administrative
practices; and
 WHEREAS, such practices have resulted in the closure of locations, the failure to
appropriately maintain and remodel existing facilities, discrimination against qualified
blind individuals and the ongoing use of ineligible unqualified sighted persons:
Now, therefore,
   BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan (
NFBMI) in convention
 assembled this 20th
 day of October, 2013, in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan condemns and deplores
the actions of the BEP leading to the decline in the number of business employment
opportunities for blind persons; and
   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NFBMI demand compliance with all applicable program
laws, rules and regulations; and
   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demands that Governor Snyder take
immediate action to protect job opportunities for blind people in
Michigan
 by ordering that all state officials comply with all BEP laws, rules and regulations
and re-establish sound business practices in the BEP.

RESOLUTION 2013-08
Guide Dog Statute Changes
                WHEREAS, the Michigan penal code Michigan Compiled Laws 750.502 includes
a provision making it a misdemeanor for any responsible person to prohibit a person
who is blind or disabled from entering a public facility with a guide dog or service
dog; and
                WHEREAS, this same statute includes a number of provisions that violate
The Americans With Disabilities Act and stand in stark contrast to white cane type
statutes in other states; and
                WHEREAS, these include but are not limited to:
1. Requiring a guide dog handler or trainer to carry a photo ID certifying that the
animal is a guide dog or service dog;
2. Requiring that guide dogs must wear a vest, harness, backpack or leash of blaze
orange, identifying it as a service animal;
3. Requiring that the Department of Labor maintain a list of all schools and/or trainers
That are certified to train guide dogs; and
                WHEREAS, the statute improperly refers to blind people and/or dog
trainers as being led by their guide dogs rather than simply using the term "accompanied"
and repeatedly uses the term "leader dog" which is a term of art used by one particular
school and should not in the generic sense refer to a guide dog:  Now, therefore,
                BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
in convention assembled this 20
th
 day of October, 2013, in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan take all appropriate
and necessary steps, including working closely with the state legislature to amend
Michigan Compiled Law 750.502 to bring it into compliance with the Americans With
Disabilities Act and consistent with similar statutes in other states by removing
the requirements involving specific identification or certification and eliminating
references to guide dogs "leading" their handlers and removing the term "leader dog"
from the language of the law.

RESOLUTION 2013-09
Abraham Nemeth Commendation
                WHEREAS, Dr. Abraham Nemeth has changed the lives of countless blind
people through his pioneering work, creating the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics
and Scientific Notation; and
                WHEREAS, the Nemeth Code continues to make it possible for blind
men and women to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering
and mathematics, supporting themselves and their families and changing the public
perception of blindness in a positive way; and
                WHEREAS, Michiganders blind and sighted, would profit by knowing
about the life and work of this inspiring man who happened to be blind:  Now, therefore,
                BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
in convention assembled this 20
th
 day of October, 2013, in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan call upon the Michigan
Legislature to formally and officially recognize the pioneering work and remarkable
life of Dr. Abraham Nemeth and designate October 16 of each year as Dr. Abraham Nemeth
Day in Michigan in remembrance of his birthday and accomplishments.
 

 

Changing what it means to be blind,
Marcus Simmons, President,
Wayne County chapter NFBMI
Second Vice-president, NFB Deaf/Blind Division
28179 Brentwood
Southfield, MI 48076-3069
president at map-n.org
(248) 552-8928


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