The official policies of the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania 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 Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.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 2003-01: Regarding Accessible Voting
Whereas, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that every poling place in America have at least one (1) voting machine which is accessible, to persons who are blind and disabled, by 2006, and that all voting machines purchased in 2007 or thereafter meet accessibility requirements; and
Whereas, the Pennsylvania Department of State has established an ad hoc committee to ensure the proper implementation of HAVA; and
Whereas, one of this committee’s charges is to identify appropriate, accessible voting machines and to ensure that they and their vendors were approved for purchase by the Department of State; and
Whereas, the present committee members include neither any person who is blind, nor any representative from a consumer organization of blind persons; and
Whereas, No one who currently serves on the committee is actually knowledgeable with respect to voting access for persons who are blind and visually impaired; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED, by the members of the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania, in convention assembled, this 9th day of November, in the city of New Cumberland, that this organization call upon the Pennsylvania Department of State to immediately modify the membership of the Committee for the Implementation of HAVE, to include at least one (1) member who is a blind person possessing specific knowledge concerning voting access for persons who are blind; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that this organization forward a copy of this Resolution to the Secretary of State, and to the Deputy Secretary for Elections, Mr. Ken Rapp, for their attention and action.
Resolution 2003-02: Regarding Print Media Access
Whereas, access to the printed word has long been limited for persons who are blind; and
Whereas, at no time ever before in history have blind persons had access to daily print newspapers, in their homes, on the same day they are published without the necessity of a costly computer, access technology and an internet connection; and
Whereas, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services (BBVS) has agreed to financially support the current mechanism for such immediate print media access, Newsline, for a limited number of months; and
Whereas, this funding is scheduled to cease at the end of the present State Fiscal Year (June 30, 2004); and
Whereas, Senate Bill 79, titled Print Media Access for the Blind, was introduced by Senator Mowery in 2003; and
Whereas, SB 79 was unanimously passed by the Pennsylvania State Senate on June 25th, 2003; and
Whereas, SB 79 will provide a permanent funding mechanism for print media access for all blind Pennsylvanians; and
Whereas, This bill now resides in the Consumer Affairs Committee of the Pennsylvania House, for its consideration; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania, in convention assembled this 9th day of November 2003, in the city of New Cumberland Pennsylvania, that that this organization vigorously supports and encourages passage of SB 79, Print Media Access for the Blind, so that blind Pennsylvanians may have equal access to a continually growing number of newspapers on the day they are published; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization urge the members of the Consumer Affairs Committee to review and release SB79 from Committee, so that it may be considered by the full House; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to pass SB 79, in order to level the playing field between blind and sighted Pennsylvanians by providing those who are blind with affordable, equal access to “the news”.