These resolutions were passed by the 2019 NFB of Montana Treasure State Convention in Missoula on October 12, 2019.

Resolution 2019-01 Regarding NFB-Newsline Funding for Montana

WHEREAS, NFB-NEWSLINE is an audio news and information service offering access to more than 500 national and local newspapers and magazines, emergency weather alerts, job listings, retail and grocery ads, TV listings, and community news for the blind or otherwise print-disabled; and

WHEREAS, Subscribers may access NFB-NEWSLINE by means of a land line, iPhone, computer, KNFB Reader, or Amazon Alexa compatible device; and

WHEREAS, 363 Montanans, many of whom are senior citizens, rely on this service for the information they need to participate fully in their communities and to live independently in their homes; and

WHEREAS, no other service provides the easy-to-use access to information free to its subscribers that NFB-Newsline does; and

WHEREAS, as of June 30, 2019, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services terminated funding for NFB-Newsline, based on false interpretations of state and national public policies, thereby callously disregarding the value of NFB-Newsline to its many subscribers; and

WHEREAS, despite the best efforts of the National Federation of the Blind of Montana to secure alternate funding, NFB-Newsline will soon be unavailable to Montanans simply because state government does not value NFB-Newsline enough to continue to fund the less than $40,000 a year it costs to pay for the service: NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Montana in convention assembled this 12th day of October, 2019, in the city of Missoula, Montana, that this organization condemn and deplore the decision of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to discontinue the funding of such a vital service as NFB-Newsline; and

BE IT Further RESOLVED that this organization call upon the Department of Public Health and Human services to reverse this misguided decision, thereby reinstating access to information that only NFB-Newsline can provide for blind and print-disabled Montanans, so that we can live the lives we want.

Resolution 2019-02 Regarding Protecting the Rights of Montana Voters with Disabilities

WHEREAS, Montana received a 3 million dollar Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant, 1.3 million of which will be used to upgrade voting registration and security procedures, and to match funds contributed by counties to purchase new voting technology for voters with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, On August 28, 2019, the Montana Secretary of State�s Office certified the Election Systems and Software (ESS) ExpressVote touch screen voting system to replace the aging AutoMARK voting system; and

WHEREAS, Senate Bill SB 291, a bill revising laws related to voting systems and ballot form, was passed by the 2019 Montana Legislature and signed into law; and

WHEREAS, Senate Bill SB 291 specifies that:

  • Each polling place has at least one voter interface device with accessible voting technology available, set up in a prominent place, and ready to be used;
  • Measures are taken to ensure that each voter using the device is able to cast their ballot independently, privately, and securely;
  • Measures are taken to ensure that the screen cannot be seen by others to protect the privacy and secrecy of the voter and the ballot;
  • Election administrators are trained in how to use, explain, and troubleshoot the voter interface device;
  • Votes cast using the voter interface device are counted in a manner which preserves the privacy and secrecy of the voter and the ballot;
  • Since the ballots used by the ExpressVote are of a different size than standard ballots, measures are taken to preserve the privacy and secrecy of the voter and the ballot, which may include, but are not limited to, encouraging a portion of the nondisabled electors to use the device to cast their ballots, or providing that votes on a ballot produced by the voter interface device are transcribed in secrecy to the standard ballot form so that the ballots are indistinguishable from and counted with the other ballots;
  • and

    WHEREAS, Making the voter interface device available only to voters with disabilities has the undesirable effect of segregating those voters and their ballots, thereby compromising their rights to privacy, secrecy, and anonymity: NOW, THEREFORE,

    BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Montana in convention assembled this 12th day of October, 2019, in the city of Missoula, Montana, that this organization call upon election officials to train poll workers to instruct all voters in how to use the voter interface device; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon election officials to place the voter interface device in a prominent location, to take the necessary steps to ensure voter privacy, secrecy, and anonymity, and to proactively and strongly encourage the use of the voter interface device by all Montana voters, not just those with disabilities.

    Resolution 2019-03 Regarding Competitive Integrated Employment in Medicaid Programs

    WHEREAS, segregated, sub-minimum wage work for Montanans with disabilities should never be the sole option for employment services under Montana�s Medicaid programs; and

    WHEREAS, national public policy is bending towards the justice of work in our communities at comparable wages; and

    Whereas, Montana programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services routinely apply competitive integrated employment, thus demonstrating Montana's commitment to justice for workers with disabilities; and

    WHEREAS, Montana's Medicaid programs, including programs under multiple Divisions of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, currently offer zero options for developing competitive integrated employment: Now, Therefore,

    BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Montana in convention assembled this 12th day of October, 2019, in the city of Missoula, Montana, that this organization call upon the Governor and the Department of Public Health and Human Services to develop and implement competitive integrated employment services immediately under each of its Medicaid programs.

    NFB Pledge
    I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

    Back to Home Page