[vendtalk] A Message from our NABM President - RE: HR 7

Kevan Worley kevanworley at blindmerchants.org
Fri Feb 17 17:49:10 UTC 2012



I wanted to follow up with everyone on the efforts to amend HR 7 to allow
commercialization of the interstate rest areas.  Congressman LaTourette has
definitely heard loud and clear that his amendment would be devastating to
blind entrepreneurs and the amendment has little chance to pass as
originally proposed.  His office is still working on language to ensure that
blind vendors are not adversely affected.  The bill will now not go to the
floor for a vote before the week of February 27th.  This will allow them
time to reconsider the amendment and/or develop language that eases our


Thanks to all of you and the efforts of John Pare, Terry Smith, Chris
Danielsen, and others at NFB's national office, we are optimistic that we
can defeat this amendment.  However, if it passes, it will go to conference
with the Senate which has already passed the bill without any
commercialization language.  The Senate has historically opposed
commercialization efforts so we will get another chance to defeat the effort
at that point.  We will need your efforts again if that occurs.  


There has been some talk about allowing commercialization but giving a
priority to blind entrepreneurs.  Although that is tempting, many state
licensing agencies are not in position to develop the type of partnership
arrangements that would be required.  If the SLA passed on the opportunity,
as I'm sure many would, the states could invite other third parties into the
rest areas thus making the vending opportunities currently enjoyed by blind
entrepreneurs virtually meaningless.  Although NABM is willing to look at a
thoroughly thought-out plan that would create opportunities for blind
entrepreneurs, we are not willing to rush into agreeing to language in an
amendment that could have severe consequences.  We are more than willing to
sit down with proponents of commercialization during the coming year to
consider options.  


Let me say that I am proud of all of you who sprang into action.  NABM and
the NFB have once again demonstrated that when we mobilize NFB members and
blind vendors across the country, the voice of the blind will be heard. I'd
like to also personally thank our NABM board and leadership group,
especially Kevan Worley of Colorado, John Gordon of Illinois, Tom Spilliotis
of Florida and Pam Schnurr of Indiana.  Thanks to all of you.  


Nicky Gacos





Kevan Worley

Executive Director

National Association of Blind Merchants


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