National Federation of the Blind of Florida

 

RESOLUTION 2010 - 01

 

Concerning Establishment of an Audible Universal Information Access Service for Florida’s blind and print-disabled citizens  


WHEREAS, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)-NEWSLINE is the most effective, efficient and accessible Audible Universal Information Access Service available; and

 

WHEREAS, this service allows blind and print-disabled Floridians to access more than 297 global, national and local newspapers including 14 Florida newspapers; 14 magazines;   interactive television listings, and a local information channel for the sponsor’s choice of information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the telephone at no charge; and

 

WHEREAS, Subscribers can access all information offered on the telephone service via their computers as well through access to www.nfbnewslineonline.org; and

WHEREAS, Newsline® allows blind and print-disabled Floridians to stay up-to-date on global, national and local news stories and events helping blind and print-disabled individuals to compete in the job market and classroom, become informed residents and voters; gain and for the newly blind and print-disabled regain independence and self-respect, and             WHEREAS, Florida has the largest number of blind residents in the nation, a number that increases as more senior citizens, the fastest growing blind demographic, retire and migrate to the Sunshine State; and

WHEREAS,  there are over 39,000 blind and print-disabled residents who are customers of the Florida Braille and Talking Book Library, all of whom are eligible and would greatly benefit from an Audible Universal Information Access Service; AND

        

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Florida (NFBF) spends more than $250,000 per year to maintain, manage, market and grow the Newsline® program; and

 

WHEREAS: for the past several years, most of the funding for NFBF Newsline® has been granted to the NFB of Florida through a generous contribution from the Florida Division of Blind Services; and

        

WHEREAS, Due to economic short-falls, this funding will not be available after the 2011 fiscal year; and

        

WHEREAS, NFBF Newsline® is the only program providing the above-mentioned services to Florida’s blind and disabled population and without funding, this valuable service will cease to exist thus leaving over 25,000 blind and print-disabled residents who currently use the program without a comparable source to get in-depth global, national and local news coverage that only newspapers can provide:  Now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this thirtieth day of May, 2010, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida thanks the Florida Division of Blind Services for its past support and continuing support of NFBF Newsline® with particular thanks to the Director of the Florida Division of Blind Services Ms. Joyce Hildreth for pledging her on-going support of this program; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The National Federation of the Blind of Florida thanks The Florida Braille and Talking Book Library for its invaluable support in signing up new subscribers to Newsline® of Florida; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida commends Florida Representative Ronald A. Brisé and Florida Senator Dan Gelber for sponsoring H. 087900 and S. 1656, amending s. 427.704, F.S.; directing the Public Service Commission to establish a statewide telecommunication system capable of providing audible universal information access service to persons who are visually impaired or unable to communicate using a print medium; authorizing the commission to contract for the administration and operation of the system; providing for funding of the system; providing an effective date; and

        

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that because these bills were not heard in committee, the members of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida urge Representative Kurt Kelly, leader of the Florida Vision Caucus, to work with Representative Brisé and Senator Gelber to re-introduce these bills and work actively for their passage; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that members of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, as designated by the Officers and Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, work diligently in cooperation with the Florida Vision Caucus to insure passage of these bills; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to Representative Kurt Kelly and his legislative aid, Representative Ronald Brisé and his legislative aid, Senator Dan Gelber and his legislative aid, the Honorable Governor Charlie Crist, and all other appropriate legislators and personnel.