[MD-AtLarge] April Minute Message
nfbmd at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 13 18:42:33 UTC 2017
Good News from Annapolis.
Many thanks to everyone who visited, sent emails and letters and called
Delegates and Senators. We made significant progress on our issues.
The Maryland General Assembly approved Governor Hogan's appropriation of
$250,000 for the CENA (Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access) to
Education, Public Information, and Commerce.
On April 5 the General Assembly approved SB587/HB1094, bills that created
the new State Library system. The Library for the Blind will move out of
the Department of Education and move into this new structure. These bills
are awaiting Governor Hogan's signature.
The General Assembly approved SB 943/HB 456, bills that direct the Maryland
State Department of Education to create a dispute resolution process for
families of children with disabilities who believe that childcare providers
have discriminated against their child because of the child's disability.
The Maryland State Department of Education must issue a report to the
General Assembly by October 1 that outlines this process. These bills await
the Governor's signature.
The Textbook Costs Savings Act of 2017, SB424/HB967 were bills passed by the
General Assembly to reduce the cost of textbooks in higher education by
encouraging the use of online open source materials, instead of traditional
hardcopy textbooks. These bills proposed that, "For fiscal year 2019, the
Governor shall include $100,000 in general funds in the state budget for the
purpose of providing a grant to the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic
Innovation at the University System of Maryland for the Maryland Open Source
Textbook Initiative." The bill further requires the William E. Kirwan Center
and the Maryland State Department of Education to jointly explore the use of
online open source materials in K-12 education. They must issue a progress
report to the General Assembly by December 31, 2017.
The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland was concerned because there
was no mention of requiring accessibility. The General Assembly listened to
our concerns and amended the bills at the last minute as follows:
"(C) To the extent practicable, funds allocated under subsection (b) of
this section shall be for the adoption, adaptation, and creation of openly
licensed educational resources that are equally accessible to and
independently usable by individuals with disabilities."
Many thanks to everyone who contacted the appropriate committees. Students
in Maryland will have a better opportunity to receive a quality education
because of our willingness to take collective action.
Spread the word: Four April Reminders.
1. The Deaf Blind and Hearing Loss Issues Committee is planning an
interesting seminar on Independent Travel with Blindness and Hearing Loss.
This seminar will look at high-tech and low-tech approaches to maintain
independent travel. Date: April 22; time: 12:30 - 3:30 pm; place: Wallace
Presbyterian Church, Building B- which is also called House of the
Crossroads, 3725 Metzerott Rd, College Park, MD 20740. For more
information, contact Janice Toothman, <mailto:janice.toothman at verizon.net>
janice.toothman at verizon.net.
2. Strike out illiteracy NFB Maryland Parents of Blind Children Fundraiser.
Come join us for a Bowl a Thon! We are looking for players and pledges.
Date: April 22; time 1:30 - 5:00pm; place: AMF Woodlawn Lanes 6410 Security
Blvd Baltimore, MD 21207. For further information please contact Teresa
Graham, teresagraham3 at gmail.com.
3. Get your tickets today so you don't miss 'An Afternoon of Musical
Inspiration,' a gospel concert with proceeds benefitting NFBMD summer youth
programs. Date: April 30; time: 4 pm; place: Pikesville Internationals SDA
Church, 4619 Old Court Road, Pikesville, MD 21208. Tickets are $10 in
advance; $15 at the door. For further information contact Latonya Phipps,
phippslatonya at gmail.com <mailto:phippslatonya at gmail.com> .
4. Can use you cash? The drawing for the spring raffle will be conducted
throughout the month of May. Tickets are $5 each and you get 31 chances to
win cash. Time is running short so get your tickets in! Chapter presidents
should make sure that Melissa Riccobono has all of the stubs by April 24.
Coming soon! Uber and Lyft tests
As you may remember, the National Federation of the Blind made agreements
with Uber and Lyft to make sure that riders who use service animals are not
discriminated against by the drivers who work for these companies.
Beginning on May 8 the NFB will ask all guide dog users to fill out a
questionnaire concerning their Uber and Lyft trips. We are looking for both
good and bad experiences. The questionnaire may be filled out by either the
service animal owner or by another individual who was in the vehicle.
Spread the word to anyone that uses a service animal. Look on the list
serves for the link and instructions for filling out the online form.
Get ready for summer
The Maryland Association of Blind Students is helping to plan a regional
weekend seminar for students from several northeastern states, including
Maryland. The seminar will cover how students can make the best use of
summer. Date: June 2-4; place: The Jernigan Institute, 200 East Wells
Street, Baltimore, MD 21230. For further information, contact Ellana Crew
at eemcrew at gmail.com <mailto:eemcrew at gmail.com> .
As parents prepare for the summer I want to remind you that you should be
filling out an application to one of our three BELL programs. The Salisbury
Academy will be held July 17-28, 2017, and the Baltimore and Glendale
Academies will be held July 31-August 11, 2017. No weekends. To apply go to
Youth Empowerment Stipends are available to help middle and high school
students attend summer training programs, such as those run by Blind
Industries and Services of Maryland and by our three NFB centers in
Louisiana, Minnesota, and Colorado. Applications are due at least 30 days
before the funds are needed. Go to <https://www.nfbmd.org/youth_stipend>
Team Sharon Needs YOU!
Step out for Braille Literacy by participating in the 6K Dot Dash to be held
at the NFB, 200 East Wells Street, on Sunday, June 4 at 8:00 am. Team
Sharon needs lots of participants! You don't have to be athletic- all you
have to do is walk. Go to: <https://nfb.org/dot-dash>
https://nfb.org/dot-dash. Then select "register" and select "team" and type
in "Team Sharon." Feel free to create your own team if you wish.
Save These Important Dates.
April 22, 2017. MDPOBC Strike out Illiteracy Bowl A Thon; 1:30 - 5:00pm;
AMF Woodlawn Lanes, 6410 Security Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21207.
April 22, 2017. Independent Travel Seminar sponsored by Deaf Blind and
Hearing Loss Issues Committee, 12:30 - 3:30 pm. Wallace Presbyterian Church,
Building B, 3725 Metzerott Rd., College Park, MD 20740.
April 30, 2017. Gospel Concert, 4 pm. Pikesville International SDA Church,
4619 Old Court Rd., Pikesville, MD 21208.
May 4, 2017. Diabetes Conference Call, 7 pm. Call 641-715-3272. The access
code is 720125#.
May 7, 2017. Deadline for Youth SLAM student applications.
May 8, 2017. Uber and Lyft tests begin.
June 2-4, 2017. Regional Student Seminar. The Jernigan Institute, 200 East
Wells St., Baltimore, MD 21230.
June 3, 2017. Board of Directors Meeting, Salisbury.
June 4, 2017. 6 Dot Dash, 8 am. 200 East Wells St., Baltimore, MD 21230.
July 10-15, 2017. National Convention, Orlando, FL.
July 17-28, 2017. NFB BELL Academy in Salisbury, MD.
July 23-29, 2017. NFB Youth SLAM, Towson University, MD.
July 31-August 11, 2017. NFB BELL Academies in Baltimore and Glendale, MD.
August 19, 2017. Annual Crab Feast, Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, MD.
September 9, 2017. Board of Directors Meeting, time and place to be
October 19-20, 2017. Braille Literacy in the 21st Century Conference,
jointly sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind and the Maryland
School for the Blind. 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
November 10-12, 2017. Annual State Convention, Sheraton Baltimore North
Hotel in Towson, Maryland.
Sharon Maneki, President
National Federation of the Blind of Maryland
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles
between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want;
blindness is not what holds you back.
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