GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Service-dog bill is gaining traction in Virginia

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Service-dog bill is gaining traction in Virginia


RICHMOND-With little discussion and no dissent, a Senate committee Friday advanced a bill to broaden Virginia’s service dogs laws to ensure that they include dogs used to help those suffering from PTSD.

The bill comes from Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania. Lori O’Bry, with the Stafford SPCA, came to Richmond to urge its passage. Continue reading


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Blind High School Seniors through Grad School Students

$12,000 Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship
1 Scholarship for   $10,000
2 Scholarships for   $7,000 each
4 Scholarships for   $5,000 each
22 Scholarships for $3,000 each
PLUS additional gifts to our 30 scholarship winners! Continue reading

National Federation of the Blind and Parents of Blind Child File Suit to Make K-12 Assessments Accessible

New Milford, New Jersey (January 24, 2014): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), along with its affiliate organizations the NFB of New Jersey and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), and the parents of a blind high school student in New Milford (named in the suit as S.H.) have filed suit (case number: 14-392) in federal court against PARCC, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that was established in 2013 by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium currently made up of eighteen states, including New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  This consortium received a $186 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Assessment Program competition, with which it has promised to develop “next-generation” academic assessments for use in measuring the academic progress and achievement of K-12 students.  The suit has been filed because assessment tests created by PARCC, Inc. that will be field tested at S.H.’s high school and other locations this spring are not accessible to students who are blind.  The field test assessments will not be offered in Braille, nor will they be available for use with text-to-speech screen reading technology that is commonly used by blind students.  S.H. is a Braille reader.  Another assessment consortium, known as Smarter Balanced, has announced that it will make its tests accessible in all phases of development, including field testing.  The suit alleges that the failure to make the assessments accessible during field testing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Continue reading

National Federation of the Blind Sues Department of Transportation Over Airline Regulations

Regulations on Access to Kiosks Violate Federal Law, Organization Says

Washington, D.C. (January 22, 2014): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people, filed suit (case number:1:14-cv-00085) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia today against the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).  The suit challenges regulations, issued by the DOT under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which purport to require that airline check-in kiosks be made accessible to airline passengers who are blind.  The regulations, which took effect on December 12, 2013, require only 25 percent of airport check-in kiosks to be accessible to blind passengers by ten years from that date. The NFB maintains that this requirement fails to implement the ACAA as Congress intended. Continue reading

New Jersey Guide Dog Protection Bill Signed Into Law Today!

“Dusty’s Law,” which establishes criminal penalties for killing, injuring, or interfering with a service animal or guide dog in New Jersey, was signed into law today (January 21, 2014) and takes effect immediately.

Under the provisions of this new law, it is a crime of the fourth degree for a person to recklessly kill a service animal or guide dog, or to recklessly permit a dog that he or she owns or has immediate control over, to kill a service animal or guide dog. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.  Continue reading

Blind Student Files Discrimination Suit Against Miami University

Oxford, Ohio (January 13, 2014): With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, Aleeha Dudley, a blind student pursuing a degree in zoology with hopes of attending veterinary school, has filed suit (case number: 1:14-CV-00038) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against Miami University for discriminating against her on the basis of her disability.  The complaint alleges that Miami University violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by deliberately failing to make necessary modifications for Ms. Dudley so that she could complete her coursework.  Continue reading

Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act: 100 Percent Wrong

Submitted by alewis on Thu, 01/09/2014 – 10:28
Blog Date:
Thursday, January 9, 2014
By Anil Lewis

In a recent article, “Goodwill faces criticism over pay for disabled workers,” PolitiFact Georgia attempts to evaluate the truthfulness of the National Federation of the Blind’s claims in our call for the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a provision that allows employers, like Goodwill Industries, to obtain a Special Wage Certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor that allows them to legally pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage.  Our claim is that the use of subminimum wage payments to workers with disabilities is unfair, discriminatory, and immoral, and we are fighting to end the unreasonable practice of excluding people with disabilities from being guaranteed the federal minimum wage. After their rudimentary investigation, PolitiFact Georgia concludes that our claim is half true Continue reading

Goodwill’s Good Deal

The local arm of the nonprofit giant pays many of its disabled employees less than minimum wage – and vigorously defends the practice. BY ABBY CALLARD 1/7/2014 

Leading a tour on an early morning in November, Molly Gilgenbach – director of the “work services program” at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin – strolls through the various learning labs and classes meeting at the James O. Wright Center for Work and Training, a branching, low-slung building on North 91st Street that looks a bit like a high school. She’s warm, almost heartbreakingly upbeat. In a science classroom, where the lesson of the day is magnetism, she hugs an older blind man named Steve who’s known for his performance of “Love Potion No. 9” at the organization’s Goodwill Idol competition. He’s one of a group of employees Gilgenbach says she’s “most concerned about,” people with severe disabilities who have few opportunities to be productive. “They are not employable in the community,” she says, yet, through this program, some of these 170 men and women have worked their way to paying jobs at Goodwill stores. Continue reading

Imagineering Our Future – NFB Newsletter

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

The year of 2014 has arrived with a celebration of Braille at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute. Our members did not take much time to ring in the New Year before jumping on planes and trains to come for our 2014 NFB Braille Enrichment through Literacy and Learning (BELL) Program seminar which began on January 2.

As we celebrated Louis Braille’s birthday during our seminar this past weekend, I could not help but recall how important Braille has been in my own growing appreciation of poetry. Poetry can be quite enjoyable when read artfully by a human, but I never gained an appreciation for poetry read by synthesized speech. When I finally had the opportunity to learn Braille, I found poetry to be a different experience. This led me to reflect on the fact that the number fourteen has the significance of being the number of lines in a sonnet. In a sonnet the first eight lines present the problem or question to be pondered, while the final six give the answer. Continue reading

Why Do We Fear the Blind?

Here is a great article that you all should read, taken from the New York Times Sunday review.
Written by Rosemary Mahoney

BRISTOL, R.I. — A FEW years ago, when I mentioned to a woman I met at a party that I was teaching in a school for the blind, she seemed confused. “Can I just ask you one question?” she said. “How do you talk to your students?”

I explained that the students were blind, not deaf. Raising the palms of her hands at me, as if to stem further misunderstanding, she said: “Yes, I know they’re not deaf. But what I really mean is, how do you actually talk to them?”  Continue reading