NDAB State Convention Minutes
June 7-9, 2019
Sleep Inn and Suites, Minot
The American Legion Honor Guard did the presentation of colors. Doug Stip led the pledge of allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner.
Trampes Brown, Convention Planning Committee Chairman, welcomed everyone to Minot for the 83rd NDAB state convention. Tracy Wicken discussed the fundraiser that was held at the Texas Roadhouse in Grand Forks, Dine to Donate. She presented a check to Rebecca for $310.87. She also discussed a tech conference to try JAWS with a 90% discount. Tracy also brought greeting cards with drawings done by students at NDSB. Money goes to NDSB Foundation for projects funded by NDSB. Tracy and Amy Osvold were also available for help with I phones.
The meeting was called to order by President Zelda Gebhard at 8:57 a.m. The convention standing rules were read by parliamentarian Rick Vannett. Allan Peterson made a motion to accept the standing rules, Mary Stip seconded, MSC.
Billy Altom, executive director of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) spoke about the changes in his life as a consequence of a spinal cord injury and his advocacy work that “Envisions the Possibilities” for people with disabilities.
The business meeting resumed at 10:45 a.m. with door prizes. President, Zelda Gebhard reported that the past year was a year focused on communication and committees. Much work was accomplished on the committee level and Zelda thanked the committees for their hard work and commitment. Communication with our members continues to be a priority with the addition of DIAL NDAB voicemail, and continued information sharing with our newsletter, The Promoter, member emails, and monthly “Just Talking” teleconference calls.
The resignation of our longstanding treasurer brought about the appointment of another treasurer and subsequent reevaluation of our financial policies. We now have more than one person on all of our financial accounts, the board receives a written treasurer’s report every month, digital copies of the annual CPA review, liability insurance policy was reviewed and we now have a PO Box address for NDAB. The board had a record number of nine meetings and perfect attendance for all but one of them. Zelda thanked the board for their dedicated commitment. She stated that she is thankful for all of our volunteers and is proud of our accomplishments made solely by volunteers and no paid staff.
The secretary’s report was given by Gretchen Campbell. Gretchen read the minutes from the preconvention board meeting from May 19, 2019. Mary made a motion to approve the minutes, Lexee Steffan seconded, MSC.
Rebecca Anderson read the financial report prepared by Stromsodt CPA Ltd. The board is seeking recommendations on how money from Olga Neal’s estate should be used to help acknowledge and honor her many contributions to NDAB.
Allan Peterson gave the Development Director report. Allan thanked Rebecca Anderson, Beatrice Krogen, and Gary Pedersen for their respective contributions to our fund raising efforts. He also discussed briefly Giving Hearts Day 2020 and that we might somehow incorporate a reference to eye acuity in our theme.
Lexee Steffan gave her report on the 2018 ACB national convention in St. Louis. She learned a lot and thanked the convention body for electing her to go. At noon the convention recessed for lunch and is to reconvene at 1:30.
The meeting resumed at 1:42 p.m. Loris Van Berkom gave the report about2018 NDAB Adult Summer Camp. There were 27 campers and 23 staff members for a total of 50 in attendance. There were three new instructors and five new campers. Blind archery was offered for the first time last year. Camp for 2019 will be August 4-11. Packets for camp will be mailed out June 20-24. This year’s theme for banquet is Mardi Gras. Participants are asked to wear a purple, green or gold shirt.
Janelle Olson gave the Dining in the Dark report. Dining in the Dark was held on April 4th, 2019 at Elevation in Minot. Perry Olson and the Minot Lions coordinated the event. This was the 3rd annual event. Corporate sponsors were KXMC, First International Bank and Trust and Martin Law, along with a new sponsor, Town and Country Credit Union. There were 16 NDAB members that served as table hosts and a total of 76 diners.
The editor’s report was given by Kathy Larson. There currently are 23 digital cartridge, 3 braille, 11 print/postage, 36 print/free matter, and 109 e-mail forms of The Promoter going out. Forty-four members have opted not to receive The Promoter.
Rebecca Anderson read the proposed budget from the finance committee. Questions were answered during this time.
The legislative report was given by Allan Peterson, Zelda Gebhard and Carol Schmitt. They had a successful trip to Washington, D.C. They made 12 visits on Capitol Hill on February 26 and spoke to congressional delegations that represent North and South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming about Medicare’s exclusion of coverage for low vision devices, accessibility to self-driving cars, and the inclusion of accessibility in the manufacture of durable medical equipment.
Doug read Mary’s membership report. Mary presented a check of $530 on behalf of Visit Minot to Rebecca. We have 225 active members of which there is 1 honorary member, 4 lifetime members, 31 blind, 93 sighted and 101 visually impaired. Since the 2018 convention there have been 20 new members and 7 member deaths. We have members from North Dakota and 12 other states.
Michelle Zentz and Missy Miller read the report of the nominating committee. Nominations were Gretchen Campbell, Secretary; Allan Peterson, Development Director; Rebecca Anderson, Treasurer; Mickey Teubner and Dawn Freemont, Board of Directors; Lexee Steffan, Promoter Editor; delegates to the 2020 ACB convention Gretchen Campbell and Missy Miller. They also introduced the new voting process that would be tried on Sunday morning.
The sports and recreation report was given by Lexee Steffan, Cole Roberts and Trampes Brown. Equipment was purchased over the past year and a half. There will be a recreational retreat at Wesley Acres by Dazey the 1st weekend of October. There will be outdoor games, board games, archery and a ropes course.
Robert Hart gave the web communications report. There was a security flaw with the website that was corrected. The new member manual was put on the website also. For Giving Hearts Day there was a boost put on our Facebook page for a small fee. During that time our Facebook page was looked at 2,000 times.
Missy Miller gave an update on the new logo/stationery for NDAB. The new logo will be the state of ND in yellow with NDAB across the state and border in blue. Rick Feldman made a motion to accept the stationery and logo updates as presented. Shereen Faber 2nd. MSC.
Representing NDVS, Amy Osvold announced an opportunity for a new way of receiving blind skills training. She asked for a town to volunteer to host a training. The town would provide a meeting place and a minimum of five individuals committed to attending. NDVS staff would travel to the town to conduct the training. Fargo volunteered to host the first training. Contact Amy for more information.
The convention body was presented with Resolution number 2019-1 concerning Medicare devices.
NDAB Resolution 2019-01:
Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act
Whereas, the use of low vision devices are critically important aids for health, safety, and independent living for persons with significant sight loss; and,
Whereas, the cost of the more powerful and effective low vision devices
makes this equipment unaffordable to many that live on modest, fixed
Whereas, the federal agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS), which has the responsibility for administrating the
Medicare program, instituted an internal decision in November of 2008 to
expand the statutory eyeglass exclusion rule, (this rule categorically denies
coverage for prescription eyeglasses), so that the expanded interpretation
of the rule includes any device that employs a lens that can aid a person’s
remaining residual sight; and,
Whereas, the decision to expand the eyeglass exclusion rule, on the basis that low vision devices are equivalent to ordinary eyeglasses, is an unwarranted expanded interpretation of this policy; and,
Whereas, the use of the eyeglass exclusion rule to deny Medicaid coverage for low vision devices has resulted in a very detrimental impact on the lives of many with significant vision loss; and,
Whereas, rehabilitation training to deal with sight loss and the use of assistive technology aids can allow individuals to live independently and will thus reduce the number of people living in institutional care;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind, in Convention assembled at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Minot, ND on this Saturday, June 8, 2019, that we strongly urge Congress to act now to end our national Medicare system’s failure to provide coverage for low vision devices, from simple hand-held aids to more powerful and feature-rich video magnifiers, and
Be it further resolved, that we call upon our North Dakota U.S. Congressional delegation (Senators Hoeven & Cramer and Congressman Armstrong) to support reintroduction of the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act, which through a five-year national demonstration project, would evaluate the fiscal and rehabilitative impact of providing low vision equipment to Medicare eligible individuals.
Mary Stip made a motion to approve and discussion was held. Mickey Teubner seconded. MSC.
Rebecca Anderson made a motion to adjourn until Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m.
Sunday, June 9th
The meeting was called to order by President Zelda Gebhard at 9:28 a.m.
Resolution 2019-2 was concerning self-driving vehicles.
NDAB Resolution 2019-02:
Accessibility Engineered into the Manufacture of Self-Driving Vehicles
Whereas, the use of self-driving (autonomous) vehicles, as a viable source of transportation, is currently being tested and analyzed on public streets and highways in several cities around our nation; and,
Whereas, self-driving (autonomous) vehicles offer the potential that people with limited or no sight can safely and independently use such a vehicle to help meet their transportation needs; and,
Whereas, the technology to make self-driving (autonomous) vehicles accessible to people with limited or no eyesight, is available in today’s marketplace and can, with minimal additional cost, be readily incorporated into the electronic systems of such a vehicle; and,
Whereas, to avoid conflicts and disparities between differences in state laws, it is imperative that Congress be the governing body that enacts uniform standard laws that will govern the use of self-driving (autonomous) vehicles on our nation’s roadways;
Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind, in Convention assembled at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Minot ND on this Sunday, June 9, 2019, that we urge Congress to introduce and support legislation, such as the AV Start Act introduced in the 115th Session of Congress, that would establish working groups composed of representatives from organizations of the blind and the auto industry to insure that accessibility components will be integrated into the operation systems of self-driving (autonomous) vehicles and that safeguards are instituted to prevent discrimination based upon a person’s disability to independently operate such vehicles.
Further be it resolved that we urge our North Dakota federal congressional delegation, Senators Hoeven and Cramer, and Congressman Armstrong, to help sponsor and support federal legislation such as reintroduction of the AV START Act in this 116th Session of Congress.
Cole Roberts made a motion to accept, Lexee Steffan seconded, MSC.
Resolution 2019-3 was concerning durable medical equipment.
NDAB Resolution 2019-03: Development of Durable Medical equipment Accessible to People Who Have Sight Loss Whereas, advancements have been made in healthcare technology that has resulted in a number of products, commonly referred to as durable medical equipment, (DME), which can be independently used by individuals to monitor vital health measurements and conditions, and, Whereas, DME developed to help monitor a person’s vital health measurements and conditions are often manufactured without consideration for their use by someone who has a visual impairment; and, Whereas, the population of people with sight loss is significant in our present North Dakota population of approximately 753,000 residents. Demographic studies consistently have demonstrated that, conservatively, 3.3% of the general population have conditions that mildly, moderately, or severely medically compromise their eyesight which means that there are approximately 24,000 individuals in North Dakota who are affected by uncorrectable sight loss, 6,000 of whom have significant sight loss and/or are “legally blind”; and, Whereas, diabetes is among one of the leading causes of sight loss in the United States and many people so affected must continually monitor their blood sugar levels several times daily to remain healthy and help avoid other chronic health conditions associated with this disease; and, Whereas, glucometers, (classified as DME) are routinely used to accurately monitor blood glucose levels, they are not fully accessible to operate for someone who has diabetes and significant sight loss and that inaccessibility produces unreliable and inaccurate test results; and, Whereas, the development and use of accessible DME interfaces like smartphone apps and other devices using -Nano technology could incorporate simple accessibility solutions for this equipment at a minimal cost; and, Whereas, the use of durable medical equipment to help monitor health measurements and conditions can lead to improved help, help prevent chronic illnesses, reduce morbidity and lead to substantial cost savings; and, Whereas, accessible interfaces that are integrated into DME during the process of manufacture have often proven to have greater reliability and additionally will avoid having to re-engineer accessibility features into the product after its purchased; Now, therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind, in Convention assembled at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Minot ND on this Sunday, June 9, 2019, that we urge Congress to introduce and support legislation which directs that DME manufacturers develop this equipment interfaced with accessibility that adheres to the current software technology standards, such as that outlined in Section 508 of the Rehab Act and that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide assurances that accessible DME devices will make their way into the hands of Medicare beneficiaries who are blind and visually impaired. Further be it resolved, that we urge our North Dakota federal congressional delegation, Senators Hoeven and Cramer, and Congressman Armstrong to help sponsor and support federal legislation that directs DME manufacturers to develop these devices with accessibility that’s interfaced into this equipment before it is marketed to consumers.
Shereen Faber made a motion to accept, Cole Roberts 2nd, MSC.
Twelve constitutional and Bylaw amendments were presented to the convention for their consideration and approval. They were published in the Promoter to meet the required timeline for their consideration by this Convention. All 12 of these amendments are designed to provide greater clarity to our governing documents.
Amendment #1. Mickey Teubner 2nd the recommendation from the committee. Amendment passed unanimously. Amendment 2 was 2nd by Cole Roberts. Amendment passed 37-2. Amendment 3 was 2nd by Shereen Faber. Motion passed 38-1. Cole Roberts 2nd Amendment 4. Robert Hart made a motion to replace the word individual to member. Shereen 2nd, motion passed 39-0.
Amendment 5 Lexee Steffan 2nd. Motion was passed 39-0. Amendment 6 was just a change of wordage. Cole Roberts 2nd, MSC for the change. Amendment 7. Cole Roberts 2nd, Motion passed 39-0. Amendment 8 was 2nd by Cole Roberts. Motion passed 39-0. Amendment 9 was 2nd by Lexee Steffan. Motion passed unanimously. Amendment 10 was 2nd by Cole Roberts. Motion passed unanimously. Lexee Steffan 2nd Amendment 11. Motion passed 38-1. Amendment 12 was 2nd by Cole Roberts. Motion passed 39-0.
There was a friendly amendment made to for replace ‘invest in youth’ with the words ‘lifetime enrichment’. Trampes Brown made the motion, Cole Roberts 2nd. MSC.
Rebecca presented the proposed 2019-2020 budget for approval. Cole Roberts made a motion to give money for students from ND to attend activities for lifetime enrichment. Shereen Faber 2nd. MSC. Cole Roberts also made a motion to approve an extra $1,005 to the sports and recreation budget for the retreat. Lexee Steffan 2nd. Motion passed 26-13.
Ruth Phalen gave the invitation for the 2020 convention in Grand Forks June 5-7 at the Town House. Shereen Faber extended the invitation for the 2021 convention to be in Fargo.
The election process was again discussed and elections were held. Election for Secretary. Gretchen Campbell was nominated. Loris Van Berkom made a motion that nominations cease and that a unanimous ballot be cast for Gretchen Campbell for secretary. MSC. Election for treasurer. Rebecca Anderson was nominated to complete a second year of an unexpired term as treasurer. Allan Peterson made a motion that nominations cease and that a unanimous ballot be cast for Rebecca Anderson for treasurer. MSC.
Election for Development Director. Allan Peterson was nominated. Janelle Olson made a motion that nominations cease and that a unanimous ballot be cast for Allan Peterson for Development Director. MSC. Election for the open Board of director’s seat: Mickey Teubner and Dawn Fremont were nominated. Cole Roberts made a motion that nominations cease, Shereen Faber 2nd. Mickey Teubner was elected. Election for Editor: Lexee was the nominee. Michelle Zentz made a motion that nominations cease and that a unanimous ballot be cast for Lexee. Mary 2nd and Lexee Steffan was elected as our new editor.
Election for the 2020 ACB delegate. Gretchen Campbell and Missy Miller were nominated. Two additional nominations were made from the floor. Kathy Larson nominated Cole Roberts and Doug Stip nominated Mary Stip. Michelle Zentz moved that nominations cease and Cole Roberts 2nd. MSC. Before voting, Mary chose to withdraw her nomination. Missy Miller stated that she has gone before but not as a delegate. She recommended letting someone who has never been to the ACB convention before go. Cole Roberts was elected as NDAB’S ACB 2020 delegate. If Cole cannot attend, Gretchen will be our alternate delegate.
After elections the convention body discussed the new voting process. Loris Van Berkom made a motion to use heavier paper and those who do not want to write can tear corners. If individuals would rather write they can write the name of the person they are voting for. Shereen 2nd, MSC.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.