The official policy statements of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada 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 Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.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 2019-01: Regarding the Accessibility of Websites in the State of Nevada
WHEREAS, for nearly twenty-eight years the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has required that public agencies ensure that their communications with the public are accessible; and
WHEREAS, the ADA standard for accessible communication requires that all communications be equally effective for persons with and without disabilities; and
WHEREAS, communicating through websites is now the most commonly used method employed by public agencies to interact with the public, a form of communication which must meet the ADA’s effective communication requirement; and
WHEREAS, representatives from the governor’s office of the State of Nevada have expressed a goal to make their websites accessible, and have had initial conversations with members of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada to work together to achieve this goal; and
WHEREAS, rather than employing the needed expertise and resources to bring their websites into compliance with established Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), currently 2.1 AA, the State of Nevada has attempted to meet the goal of accessibility through the use of interns and volunteer assistance, which is woefully insufficient to meet the need; and
WHEREAS, representatives of the governor’s office have also stated that they are developing an executive order to address the need for accessible websites, but has never shared any draft language with the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada stands ready to collaborate with the State of Nevada if the expressed desire to make their websites accessible is supported through an expressed commitment described in a fully executed collaborative agreement, but will not stand idly by while the rights of Nevada’s blind citizens to have equivalent access to critically important information goes unaddressed; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada in convention assembled this 2ND day of November, 2019, in the city of Reno, Nevada, that this organization demand that the State of Nevada execute a collaborative agreement with the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada, consisting of descriptions of strategies that will be employed to make the websites hosted by the State of Nevada fully accessible to its blind and low-vision citizens; a roadmap of when specific actions will be taken, along with the parties responsible for taking such actions; and a timeline estimating when each action will be completed and accessibility will be achieved; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the governor’s office to consult with the members of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada to craft an executive order that will be issued requiring all state agencies to establish and maintain fully accessible websites.
RESOLUTION 2019-02: Regarding Civil Rights Protection of Blind People and Their Service Animals in Public Accommodations
WHEREAS, the purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is "the removal of the legal, social, and economic barriers faced by the blind" so that we will achieve "full integration into society on terms of equality" and
WHEREAS, discrimination by places of public accommodation is one of the barriers faced by the blind, especially among those who choose to use a guide dog as their mobility tool; and
WHEREAS, state laws vary in the protection from discrimination that they offer to their blind citizens; and
WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations and offers greater protection against discrimination than many state laws; and
WHEREAS, many states have laws that contain provisions that are incongruent with the ADA such as requirements that service animals wear specific gear, provisions for muzzling, requirements for documentation, language concerning certifications that do not exist, and prohibitions of service animals in zoos, all of which are considered discriminatory under the ADA; and
WHEREAS, although the ADA has been in existence for twenty-nine years, many states have not bothered to change their laws to conform to the ADA; and
WHEREAS, a large majority of states provide criminal penalties for discrimination on the basis of disability, allowing law enforcement to intervene, generally resulting in an immediate resolution of such access issues while providing appropriate penalties for more serious infractions; and
WHEREAS, criminal penalties allow a more expeditious resolution of such access issues (benefiting the disabled community in general and society as a whole) by addressing discrimination at the local level, while relieving individuals from the burden of costly litigation and prolonged civil processes: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada in Convention assembled this 1st day of November 2019, in the city of Reno, Nevada, that this organization call upon Nevada's state legislatures to examine Nevada's statutes for parity with the ADA, removing provisions that are not in conformity with this federal law; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon Nevada's legislatures to increase criminal penalties for discrimination against blind guide dog users to promote and protect the equal rights of their blind citizens more effectively; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand vigorous enforcement of this law to protect the civil rights of the blind.
RESOLUTION 2019-03: Regarding Braille literacy for blind and visually impaired children under federal law.
WHEREAS, braille is the presumed medium for blind children; and
WHEREAS, under the instituted regulations the instruction and use of Braille is no longer mandated if the IEP team cannot reach an agreement on the appropriateness of Braille and the student is not currently receiving Braille instruction; and
WHEREAS, disputes among IEP teams can last for several years, allowing school districts to withhold the instruction and use of Braille from blind students despite federal recommendations clearly requiring that Braille be the presumed reading medium for blind students; and
WHEREAS, nearly 90 percent of America’s blind children are not learning to read and write because they are not being taught Braille; and
WHEREAS, there is a direct correlation between the ability to read Braille and a higher educational level, a higher likelihood of employment, and a higher income level:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada in Convention assembled this 1st day of November, 2019, in the city of Reno, Nevada, that this organization urge the Nevada Department of Education, and legislature to develop and implement regulations that specify Braille as the presumed reading medium for blind students, upholding its obligation under the law and protecting blind students’ right to literacy.