Congratulations to us! The 2016 session of the Maryland General Assembly was very successful. The General Assembly kept the $250,000 in the 2017 budget that Governor Hogan appropriated for the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access to Education, Public Information, and Commerce.
The Maryland General Assembly passed SB 417/HB 420, the Minimum Wage and Community Integration Act. These bills will phase out the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities by 2020. For further information about this important legislation see the Spring Braille Spectator which will be on www.nfbmd.org next week.
The rights of disabled parents and caregivers who are involved in custody, visitation and guardianship cases will be better protected because the General Assembly passed SB 765/HB 976. If a judge rules that a disabled parent or caregiver is not capable of caring for a child, the judge must put his written findings and reasons in the record. The court must offer supportive parenting services to the disabled parent or caregiver before making a final decision about the disabled person’s capabilities. These bills also shift the burden of proof to the person that makes the allegation that the disabled parent or caregiver is not capable of caring for the child.
Thanks to our advocacy efforts, the Maryland General Assembly did not cut the 2017 appropriation for the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Many thanks to all who visited Senators and Delegates, wrote letters, sent email, made phone calls and testified in support of our bills. Blind citizens will have a better future because we took action.
Make your voice heard by going to the polls and voting either on Election Day, April 26 or by voting early, April 14 – April 21. Then, let NFBMD know about your voting experience. Please fill out a short survey by May 2. We are collecting data because the Board of Elections is mandating that everyone use paper ballots except the disabled. Our ballots will be segregated because their plan for having nondisabled voters use the machine is totally inadequate. Since this is a new machine, we want to know what you think of it. It will not take long to complete this survey, but it is very important that you do so. Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZGFL99W. Remember to look at the local channel of NFB Newsline for ballot information such as names of candidates and contests.
Help us build a brighter future for blind youth in Maryland. It is not too late to purchase Gospel tickets for Sunday, April 17, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. The proceeds from this concert will benefit our youth stipend program. We help youth go to various training programs in the summer so that they may improve their blindness and gain self-confidence and independence. Place: Pikesville International SDA Church, 4619 Old Court Road, Pikesville, MD 21208; For tickets:Sabrina Richardson (443) 824-6606, Latonya Phipps (443) 465-8761, Paypal for Will Call: www.nfbmd.org.
Calling All Students.
NFBMD will be awarding two scholarships at the State Convention. However, the deadline for these John T. McCraw Scholarships is April 15. Email your completed forms to the scholarship chairman, Jesse Hartle. His email is email@example.com. He will send you an application if you need one. The time to act is now. If you snooze, you will definitely lose.
We look forward to seeing all college and high school students at the Stretching Our Limits:
Learning to Lift Expectations Through Exercise seminar. Date: May 14. Time: 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Place: Diamond Cut Fitness at 8525 Murphy Road, Laurel,MD 20723. Don’t forget to bring money for dinner. Please RSVP by April 22 by emailing MDABS@nfbmd.org or by calling Chris Nusbaum at 443-547-2409.
Interested in Diabetes?
Don’t miss our conference calls on the first Thursday of each month, sponsored by the NFBMD Diabetic Action Network committee. Do you want to learn more about the problems of accessible diabetic equipment? Check out this youtube video and listen to Tom Ley’s explanation. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4DBZvqVaOCA
Dates to Keep in Mind.
April 15. Deadline for application for NFBMD scholarships.
April 16. 2-5 pm at AMF Woodlawn Lanes, 6410 Security Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21207. Bowl-a-thon to benefit Maryland Parents of Blind Children. For more information contact Melissa Riccobono, firstname.lastname@example.org or Teresa Graham, email@example.com.
April 17. Gospel Concert to Benefit NFBMD Youth Programs at Pikesville Seventh Day Adventist Church.
May 5. Diabetes Conference Call, 7 pm. Call 641-715-3272. The access code is 720125#.
May 9. Senior Issues Conference Call, 10 am. Call 712-432-1500. The access code is 759633#. Discussion Topic: Surviving or Living
May 14. The Stretching Our Limits: Learning to Lift Expectations Through Exercise seminar. For more information, email MDABS@nfbmd.org.
May 24. Event to Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Towson University, the building at 7800 York Road, 4:30-7:30.
June 4. NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting, time and place TBD.
June 30-July 5. National Convention, Orlando, Florida.
July 18-29 excluding weekends. Salisbury NFB BELL Program.
July 25-Aug 5 excluding weekends. NFB BELL Programs in Baltimore and Glenn Dale.
August 5. Annual Crab Feast, Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, Maryland.
August 18. Possibilities Fair for Seniors Losing Vision at BISM.
August 27. NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting, time and place TBD.
October 28-30. NFBMD 50th State Convention, Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sharon Maneki, President
National Federation of the Blind of Maryland