Published quarterly by
Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Vol. 63 Winter 2019-20 No. 1
Return to: Free matter for KABVI the Blind and
712 S. Kansas Ave., Ste. 410 Visually Impaired
Topeka, KS 66603-308
KANSAS ASSOCIATION for the BLIND
and VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Corporate Office, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410
Topeka, KS 66603-3080
(785) 235-8990 - in Kansas 1-800-799-1499
Editor Associate Editor
Michael Byington Ann Byington
Phone: (785) 233-3839
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Membership Secretary, KABVI, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66603-3080
KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas. KABVI NEWS reflects the philosophy, and policies of the Association, reports the activities of its members, and includes pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision.
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Table of Contents
Gleanings from the President, by Ann Byington, page 4
The Editor Ponders, by Michael Byington, page 5
Masthead Manipulation, by Michael Byington, page 10
A Profound New Years Observation, BY Christina Holtzclaw, page 11
Kansas Judicial Council Proposes Major Changes In
The Kansas White Cane Law , by Michael Byington, page 12
Excerpts from “Report of the Disability Access Committee:
Of the Kansas Judicial Council, by Christy Molzen, J.D., Attorney at Law, page 19
A HISTORY OF KABVI AND ITS INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER BLINDNESS SERVICES, by Michael Byington, page 29
Chapter Chatter, compiled by Michael Byington, page 37
In Memoriam, compiled by: Bob Chaffin, Paul Berscheidt, and Michael Byington, page 38
Membership and KABVI News Renewal Application, page 43
Gleanings From the President
By Ann Byington
Until folks on TV started saying that the year 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade, I hadn’t made the connection. 2020 is also the one-hundredth year of KABVI’s existence. What an accomplishment! Growing through the Depression when non-disabled folks couldn’t find jobs, let alone someone who was blind, to a thriving home industries program and nationally noted rehabilitation center for blind adults to an astounding public education institution at KS State School for the Blind is no small feat. Job development moved from chair caning, piano tuning, upholstery refurbishing, machinist, carpentry, and other factory activities to service industry, teaching at all levels, and most recently assistive technology training.
Accessible travel beginning with the White Cane Law, Guide Dog rights, and now to proposed attempt to streamline the law to include other service and support animals. I could go on but you get the picture. Countless volunteers, most of whom are blind or visually impaired have devoted time, talent and funds to put the needs, goals, and successes of our community forward to educate, inform and inspire the sighted world. Such efforts reinforce our right to increase our participation in the world.
So what’s next? We have been pursuing a grant which will markedly increase the video programming on our website. The braille library promise I have been making still awaits an organized effort. Involvement of our scholarship winners is another focus. Including parents and children in more than one activity a year is a necessity. Grant-writing is still another need.
And, lastly, contact with current and past members is a more pressing need.
Want to help? Is there a committee you would like to chair? Do you have ideas for better communications between the Board and the hinterlands of Kansas? Talk to us, please.
The Editor Ponders
By Michael Byington
I am saddened as I start compiling this issue of the “KABVI News.” You will note from our “In Memoriam” section that we have lost a Board of Directors member. A past President of KABVI, and the supportive spouse of a Board of Directors member subsequent to the publication of the last issue of this magazine. We lost an additional Board of Directors member in 2018, and we have lost a lot of leaders and potential leaders over the past five years or so.
Although we honor the individuals we have lost as best we can, and with the best information we can acquire, that task gets more and more emotionally draining. Our Organization is not as large as it used to be, and with each departure, we take a deep breath and think about all that the person has done over the years. We will miss them because of our love for them as people, but also we pontificate concerning who will be able to step up next to fill some of the ongoing needs and efforts of the KABVI Organization.
Although I have not gone around checking I.D.s, I believe that everyone currently serving on our KABVI Board of Directors is over the age of 60. There have been many articles and entreaties in past issues of this magazine expressing the view that we need to get more young people involved in KABVI. I look back at this conundrum from the perspective of someone who did become involved with KABVI at quite a young age.
My mother was vice President of KABVI in 1954, the year I was born. As my mother and father both had low vision to varying degrees, the three of us attended KABVI Conventions ever sense I can remember. The first memories I have of these conventions is from the age of three.
From this long perspective, I certainly recall being the young upstart that all of the KABVI leadership guard wished would shut up at conventions. Because of my outgoing and irrassable personality, much of which was inherited from my parents, The more folks wanted me to shut up, the louder and more pushy I became. I remember a letter sent anonymously to the KABVI Public Relations Committee, of which I was a member, back in the 1970s, in which the writer said that “something needed to be done about that loud and totally disruptive Michael Byington.” In many ways, this author was correct, and something was done about me. I was allowed to grow up and temper my brashness a bit, and the Organization did not throw me out, but rather continued to encourage me to stay a part of it, and to try to learn from others.
Now I am going to shift gears and write about an experience I had at an American Council of the Blind (ACB) Convention about ten years ago. I will then try to tie this together with some attitude shifts that I think we will need to make here in Kansas with KABVI if we are going to keep the Organization going for a second 100 years. (We are just now finishing the first 100 years of the Organization’s history.)
I was on a shuttle riding from the Convention hotel to the Airport to go home at the end of an ACB convention. The shuttle was filled 100% with blind and visually impaired people who had attended, so needless to say, the conversation turned to the last things that had happened on the convention floor. As often happens at the end of the convention, some delegates had to leave the convention floor a little early to catch their flights. This had been the case with most of the Utah delegation, so a young man in his late teens or early 20s was left to cast Utah’s large block of affiliate votes, and he was one of the riders on this shuttle.
ACB leaders have always tried to figure out what business is going to be controversial, and to handle that business when a lot of people are on the convention floor. This is often a difficult task because it is hard to guess what will be controversial and what will not. I certainly know that, back during my time as National Resolutions Chair, from 1995 through 2001, I made some errors in guessing the degree of controversy factors. On this particular year, a resolution came up for a vote quite late in the Convention session that supported a position taken by National Industries for the Blind (NIB). ACB has generally always been supportive of NIB, Now called Ability I, so whoever was chairing the Resolutions Committee did not think there would be much controversy. The young man from Utah, however, who had no knowledge concerning ACB’s history on the subject, spoke passionately against the resolution, and because many ACB leaders who were more informed concerning the issue had left early, the resolution was voted down with Utah’s 25 affiliate votes making the difference.
On the shuttle, the young man was bragging about is efforts in making this happen. There was a part of me who wanted to tell him that he absolutely had not voted the views of his affiliate, and that Utah resident, Grant Mack, who is a dearly departed ACB past President, and a past Chair of the NIB Board of Directors, would take him to the woodshed if he were still living. Probably because I was seated in the very back of the shuttle, and the young man was in the front, and not because of my abundance of mature self-restraint, I never delivered this message, and retrospectively, I am glad I did not do so. I still disagree with the young man’s actions, and think he was wrong about the issue, but the fact is that old geezers such as myself giving young energetic new members what-for is not going to help an organizations survive and grow. Thus, to interest more younger blind and visually impaired people in KABVI, I think we old geezers have to be prepared to give up some turf. We have to acknowledge that the next generation or two may do things differently, and we have to be flexible enough to let that happen.
Thus, I look to the future with some degree of optimism. I recently wrote a grant to attempt to get KABVI some financial sponsorship for some of its outreach activities. In doing so, I had to write a brief history of the Organization. In compiling this history, I found myself to be amazed not only about the things KABVI has accomplished in its distant past, but also things it has accomplished quite recently, within the past ten to twenty years. I am going to run this history later in this issue. I think all of you will be impressed as well and will decide that our Organization is definitely worth keeping around, even if it has to significantly change.
I guess I must sum up these musings by saying that we need to be very proud of KABVI’s accomplishments over the past 100 years, both a long time ago and recently. At the same time, to continue our path and mission, we need to accept that the next set of leaders may find it necessary to change some of the things that we have considered to be unchangeable over many years of tradition.
By Michael Byington
My wife, who is also your KABVI President, is convinced that some editor or editors in the distant past have messed up our calculation of volume and issue numbers. Over more than 62 years of publication history for the “KABVI News,” this is probably correct. There is no question that, at several times in our history, an editor or two or 42 for that matter, has gotten behind and had to combine an issue or two. After all, we are all volunteers and we do the best we can.
The recent result has been that the Winter issue comes out when it is almost spring, the spring issue comes out at the beginning of summer, and so on. Additionally, this current editor is also going to get this particular issue out a bit late, as has been the case with some of the other recent issues.
In an attempt to tag issues realistically, This issue will not be identified as a fall edition, but rather as the Winter Edition. The release of this issue will mark the beginning of our 63rd year of publication.
I hope you all will forgive any confusion this may cause. Even if you do not, however, this is what we are doing.
A Profound New Years Observation
BY Christina Holtzclaw
(Editor’s note: Christina Holtzclaw is a Facebook friend of this editor. She is the Assistant Director of a Center for Independent Living in Rome, Georgia. She is blind. Christina posted this rather profound statement on her Facebook Page, and I thought it was worth passing on.)
I am so looking forward to the new year. It will be the first time in my life that I will be able to see 20/20.
Kansas Judicial Council Proposes Major Changes In
The Kansas White Cane Law
By Michael Byington
I received a call at the KABVI office last summer from Christy Molzen, who is an attorney with the Kansas Judicial Council. She asked to talk with someone who was familiar with the Kansas White Cane Act, K.S.A. 39-1101 et seq. I told her that I had drafted major changes to that Act, in cooperation with a committee made up of disabled citizens, Kansas based service dog trainers, and other stakeholders. These amendments were adopted in 2003. I asked if I would do, and she said it seemed that I was the one with whom she needed to speak.
In the last Legislative session, House Bill 2152 was introduced. It had been requested by some associations of Kansas landlords, and also people representing the manufactured housing industry. The bill’s intent had been to create some legal remedies concerning people who represent pets and a number of varieties of animals as service dogs, emotional support animals, therapy animals, etc., in order to circumvent rules about pets or to get out of pet deposits. I had heard about this legislation to a limited extent, but did not realize that the Kansas Reviser of Statutes had decided to amend the Kansas White Cane Act to add the requested provisions. I did hear that the bill was going nowhere because a number of disability organizations opposed it and even those who introduced it were not pleased with the wording and location in statutes selected by the Reviser’s office.
The bill was considered by the House Committee on Judiciary last year. The Chair of that Committee, Representative Fred Patton, had thus requested a Judicial study of the issues surrounding public and housing access relating to service dogs, emotional support animals, therapy animals, etc. Representative Patton also opined on behalf of the Committee that the Kansas White Cane Act needed to be updated and brought into better compliance with related federal laws and regulations.
At the conclusion of our discussion, Attorney Molzen asked me to be a member of the Judicial Council study committee reviewing Representative Patton’s concerns, and tasked with drafting new legislation. I agreed.
The study Committee met four times in full. There were additionally: drafting meetings of sub-committees assigned to address certain issues, and several conference calls involving both the full committee and some of the sub-committees. The membership of the Committee included several other representatives of Organizations serving people with disabilities, representatives of landlord interests, representatives of the manufactured housing industry, representatives of City and County governments, including a county attorney, and, later in the process, a representative of the Chamber of Commerce was brought in because the Committee’s work had extended into public accommodation access for service dogs.
Before briefly discussing the work of the Committee, I must digress, and discuss KABVI’s work on the current wording of the Kansas White Cane Act in 2002-2003, and its work with the statutes after the adoption of the current wording. In 2002-2003, there was already concern being expressed about what does and does not constitute a service dog or animal entitled to public access with a disabled handler. We wanted to add provisions that could bring about legal prohibitions against representing a dog or animal as a service dog which was in fact not trained for such purposes. We also wanted penalties for damaging, killing, or abusing a service dog.
Federal regulations state that an identification credential for the service dog can not be required by a public accommodation, so a mandatory identification credential can not legally be demanded at the level of State law, but a permissive provision allowing the service dog handler to present written identification credentials if they choose to do so was a part of the 2003 amendments. This permissive provision states that, the dog handler MAY present written credentials, and if these are drawn within specific perameters set forth in Kansas law, then this must resolve the issue of access in favor of admission of the service dog into the public accommodation.
KABVI worked hard on the amendments which were adopted to the Kansas White Cane Act nearly 17 years ago. Over the intervening years, we have had to fight several times the efforts of other advocates to open the law for additional tinkering. We particularly had to do a lot of advocating to keep the law from being opened up for amendments about three years ago when a western Kansas Judge misread the current law and ejected a service dog from his court room who had every right to be there. Efforts of the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (KCDC) to develop public education materials explaining the law were successful in keeping the law from being opened up at that time.
This time, it seemed quite clear that the law was going to be seriously re-opened whether KABVI had representation on the Committee doing it or not. We had a very powerful Committee chair in the House of Representatives, the Kansas Judicial Council, and powerful lobbies for landlords and manufactured housing all clammoring for it. Additionally, other disability related members appointed to the Committee were continuing their encouragement of reopening the law. These are reasons why I agreed to serve on the Judicial Council efforts.
Additionally, those of us who work in the KABVI office fielding calls are very aware that the current law is not well understood by much of the public. Despite the good efforts of KCDC, there is still a lot of misunderstanding. We believe that we added provisions 17 years ago that could be used to prevent fake service dogs from being admitted to public accommodations, but over that nearly 17 year span of time, the law was never used to bring any charges. My goal on the Committee was thus to keep all of the provisions that we worked so hard to add 17 years ago in place, while fitting them into a structure designed by the Committee in a manner which might make the law more user friendly in protecting right of access for service dogs, and other types of assistance dogs covered under the current law, policing the issue of fake or untrained service dogs from being passed off as legitimate, and protecting service dogs from attack or physical harm perpetrated by others.
When the current law was amended 17 years ago, we tried to, as much as possible, stick with the same structure the law has always had. This has turned out to be problematical because some of the original statutes were written in the 1930s. Also, over the years, the law has been opened several times and our re-write was about the sixth time that major wordsmithing had been done.
Additionally, much of the federal regulatory guidance was written after the adoption of our amendments. In a way, KABVI and the others we worked with on the amendments 17 years ago were ahead of the times. Much of the federal guidance promulgated subsequently has in fact had the same intent as our amendments. The trouble is, the wording is very different from ours.
Furthermore, the landlords and manufactured housing representatives were concerned about housing access for types of dogs or other animals that they felt should have some access rights, but do not qualify as service dogs. Although housing is mentioned in the current law, due to an amendment proposed by KABVI and adopted back in the 1980s, the current law does not begin to address the complexities various types of emotional support animals now recognized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) bring into the picture.
The committee did make several decisions addressing all of the above issues. First of all, it was decided that two pieces of legislation are needed, one dealing with the housing issues, and one dealing with the public accommodation access issues. Secondly, it was decided to essentially throw out the structure of current statutes, and craft the legislation from scratch,
KABVI has always in the past advocated to keep statutes concerning access for guide dogs for the blind separate from other types of service dogs. The current law thus has sections dedicated strictly to guide dogs for the blind, hearing assistance dogs, and service dogs for people with orthopedic disabilities. The federal regulations now quite clearly define a service dog as a category that encoumpases all of these types of dogs and a few more categories as well. KABVI thus is having to give up its stand that guide dogs should be addressed separately, but the definitions section of the proposed new law relating to access to public accommodations defines a guide dog for the blind or visually impaired as fully covered as a specific variety of service dog.
Importantly, all of the additions of coverage added to the law 17 years ago are still in the new legislation with the exception of one. The permissive identification feature we added back in 2003 will be removed. The Judicial Council Committee agreed with KABVI’s view that a permissive statute such as was added does not rund counter to the ADA, but felt that the purpose of the rewrite was in part to make the law less confusing and more user friendly. Instead of the identification clause being retained, the Committee made very clear changes to strengthen enforcement, and make it clear that a service dog must be admitted to public accommodations, The law uses the federal language in stating what questions the public accommodation representative may legally ask, and what they may not.
At KABVI’s request, the statute recognizing White Cane Safety Day is retained in the proposed Legislation. KABVI in fact submitted stronger and more precise wording for this provision, and our wording was used.
I was once told that a camel is a horse built by a committee. No one ever gets all of the features that they believe should be there, and the end product is pretty funny looking. This old adage probably is appropriately true to the currently proposed revisions to the law. In looking at the old analogy, however, for some tasks, and in many ways, a camel is more practical than a horse. Overall, this seems to be tru of the proposed legislation as compared with the Kansas White Cane Law, last revised 17 years ago.
It is impossible to specifically predict what will happen next with this issue. It is almost certain that the two pieces of Legislation drafted by the Committee will be introduced in the 2020 Legislative session, but it can not be determined at this writing who will actually introduce and/or sponsor the legislation. The Judicial Council has chosen not to directly introduce the legislation. Legally, it can do so when requested, but usually it instead does the research and drafting, and then leaves the introduction process to the Legislator, Legislative Committee, or original sponsors. There thus could be some additional final changes made in what is introduced, but the Judicial Council and the Study Committee on which I participated believes we have done arduous, but competent work in getting the legislation ready.
Excerpts from “Report of the Disability Access Committee:
Of the Kansas Judicial Council
By Christy Molzen, J.D., Attorney at Law
(Editor’s note: Christy Molzen is the staff attorney for the Kansas Judicial Council that worked as staff for the Committee described in the previous article. Her entire report of the Committee’s work, including addenda, is 25 pages in 11 point print. The portions provided here explain the issues discussed in the previous article. It is suggested that readers read the previous article before reading this one.)
HISTORY OF THE WHITE CANE LAW
The term "white cane law" has typically been used to refer to traffic laws that protect blind or visually impaired pedestrians using a white cane or guide dog. Most states have this type of white cane law, as does Kansas. See K.S.A. 8-1542
("The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog").
The Kansas White Cane Law found at K.S.A. 39-1101, et seq., has a much broader purpose. It protects the right of all disabled persons to use assistance dogs (defined to include guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs, and service dogs) in public places and in the acquisition of housing. K.S.A. 39-1102, 39-1107, 39-1108, and 39-1113(a). It provides similar rights to the professional trainer of an assistance dog, K.S.A. 39-1109; and to the qualified handler of a professional therapy dog, K.S.A. 39-1110.
The current White Cane Law was enacted in 1969, but some of its provisions have been part of Kansas law since the 1930s. At first, the laws only protected the right of the blind and visually impaired to use guide dogs in public places. As guide dogs became an established and accepted tool for independence used by the blind and visually impaired, the law was gradually expanded to apply to other kinds of assistance dogs, eventually including professional therapy dogs.
Recognition of October 15th as White Cane Safety Day was also part of the original 1969 enactment. Committee member Michael Byington provided the Committee with some additional information about White Cane Safety Day and the history of the white cane generally. . . .
The Committee has drafted two separate legislative proposals in response to Rep. Patton's study request. The first proposal, the Kansas Assistance Animals in Housing Act, addresses the accommodation of assistance animals, including emotional support animals, in housing. It uses the same definition of "assistance animal" as found in federal law and the same standard regarding when a housing provider may request documentation of an individual's disability-related need for an assistance animal.
The second proposal, the Kansas Service and Therapy Animals Act, is intended to replace the current White Cane Law and addresses the right of persons with disabilities to be accompanied by service animals in public accommodations. It uses the same definition of "service animal" as found in federal law and the same standard for when a public accommodation may ask questions to clarify whether an animal is a service animal or pet.
The Committee understands that the terms "assistance animal" and "service animal" can be confusing and hopes to alleviate some of that confusion by adhering as closely as possible to federal terminology, definitions, and substantive provisions. Also, the Committee drafted these proposals keeping in mind that, under the doctrine of federal preemption, state law may provide greater protections for persons with disabilities but cannot limit rights granted under federal law.
The Committee intends that these new acts supplement the Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD), K.S.A. 44-1001 et seq. The KAAD prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing; however, it lacks any provisions specifically referencing service or assistance animals.
Kansas Assistance Animals in Housing Act
At the suggestion of Committee members Martha Smith and Ed Jaskinia, who were both original proponents of H.B. 2152, the Committee ultimately chose a different model and drafted an entirely new proposal intended to provide guidance to housing providers on the accommodation of assistance animals, including emotional support animals, in housing. The language of the proposed legislation is modeled largely on an act recently adopted in Illinois. See Illinois House Bill 3671, effective date January 1, 2020. The Committee chose the Illinois law as a model because it closely mirrors the language of federal requirements, especially as to the definition of "assistance animal" and the provisions governing what kind of documentation a housing provider can ask for in support of a request for reasonable accommodation.
Consistent with federal law, Section 3 of the Committee's proposal describes when a housing provider may require reliable documentation from a person requesting the reasonable accommodation of an assistance animal. Section 3 sets out what such documentation must include and requires that it be made by someone with whom the person requesting the accommodation has a "supportive relationship."
"Supportive relationship" is defined in Section 1(f) as "the provision of healthcare or personal care services, in good faith, for and with actual knowledge of, an individual's disability and that individual's disability-related need for an assistance animal by: (1) a healthcare provider, or (2) a non-medical service agency or reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual's disability." This definition is intended to exclude online entities that provide documentation for a fee but without conducting a meaningful assessment of the individual.
Section 3 also sets out when a housing provider can deny a request or require additional supporting documentation. Section 4 provides immunity to the housing provider for damages or injuries caused by an assistance animal.
The Committee also added provisions related to misrepresentation of the need for an assistance animal and improper denial of an assistance animal. Under Sections 5 and 6, these offenses are misdemeanors with a graduated penalty scheme depending on whether the conviction is a first, second, third or subsequent offense. Section 5 also allows a housing provider to evict a tenant who misrepresents his or her entitlement to an assistance animal.
Kansas Service and Therapy Animals Act
The second proposal drafted by the Committee is intended to replace the current White Cane Law (with the exception of K.S.A. 39-1104 regarding White Cane Safety Day). The proposal addresses the right of persons with disabilities to be accompanied by service animals in public accommodations, consistent with the ADA. It goes beyond the ADA by extending the same rights to service animals in training and more limited rights to therapy animals, as does the current White Cane Law.
The preamble to the Kansas Service and Therapy Animals Act is intended to recognize its predecessor, the White Cane Law, and the efforts of the blind and visually impaired community in establishing the right to use guide dogs in public places. Their early work in raising awareness and gaining acceptance for guide dogs eventually led to protections for other types of service dogs.
Sections 4 and 5 of the proposed act describe the disabled person's right to be accompanied by a service animal, and the public accommodation's rights and responsibilities with regard to service animals, including when and what questions the public accommodation may ask, and when service animals may be
excluded or removed from the premises.
Section 6 provides that a service animal must be under the control of its handler, and that the handler is liable for any damage cause by the animal.
Section 7 provides that service animals are exempt from any ordinance that bans specific breeds of dogs, but not other general license and registration ordinances.
Section 8 extends the same rights found in Sections 4 through 7 to service animals in training. Under Section 9, therapy animals are treated somewhat differently. Section 9 provides that the handler of a therapy animal may take it in or upon a public accommodation to provide animal-assisted therapy or while in transit to provide such therapy. The other rights found in Sections 4 through 7 are not extended to therapy animals.
Finally, Sections 10 and 11 contain provisions relating to the misrepresentation of a service or therapy animal and interference with the right to use a service or therapy animal. As in the Assistance Animals in Housing Act described above, these offenses are classified as misdemeanors with a graduated penalty scheme.
Changes to Current Law
Because the Committee's proposal would repeal all but one section of the White Cane Law, it represents a change from current law in several areas. For example, K.S.A. 39-1111 currently provides a procedure for verifying a person's right to be accompanied by an assistance dog or professional therapy dog. As written, this section allows, but does not require, a person with a disability to produce an identification card or letter setting out the assistance dog's training. The Committee acknowledged that this provision might not technically run afoul of the ADA (which does not allow a business to request this type of information about a service animal), since it is permissive and not mandatory. However, the Committee was concerned that it could lead to confusion.
K.S.A. 39-1111(b) and (c) currently require the handler of a professional therapy dog and the trainer of an assistance dog to produce a similar identification card or letter upon request. Although therapy dogs and assistance dogs in training are not covered by the ADA, so requesting such information is not prohibited, the Committee was concerned that requiring such information to be provided for certain animals but not others could become confusing to business owners and lead to improper requests for identification cards from all service animals.
Another reason for repealing these provisions is the growing problem of online entities providing meaningless certificates. The Committee does not want to further encourage the production of such documents by having statutes on the books that apparently require or authorize them.
Several of the provisions of the current White Cane Law regarding the right ofthe disabled to fair employment and housing are now more fully covered by the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, so there is no need to retain them. However, the Committee recommends keeping K.S.A. 39-1104 of the current White Cane Law, which established October 15 as White Cane Safety Day in Kansas. The Committee proposes some amendments for clarification and to make the statute gender neutral.
Finally, the Committee recommends conforming amendments to K.S.A. 21-6416 regarding the infliction of harm or death to a police dog or other type of service dog.
League of Municipalities' Concern
During the final conference call to approve the Committee report, the League of Kansas Municipalities raised a concern about language in the proposed Kansas Service and Therapy Animal Act. John Goodyear, a staff attorney for the League, explained that the League was worried that broad language in the proposed act could blur the lines between service animals and therapy animals and could allow individuals to abuse the law by claiming their pets provide a therapeutic function and qualify as therapy animals under the act.
By a vote of 4-3, the Committee agreed to adopt the League's proposed solution, which was to define the handler of a service animal and the handler of a therapy animal separately, as described in Section 3(b) and 3(c). As suggested by the League, the definition of "handler of a service animal" would read, "'Handler of a service animal' means the individual entitled to the use of the service animal and for whom the service animal is trained to perform tasks." Kip Elliot, who voted against the motion, pointed out that a service animal handler might include someone other than the person with the disability for whom the animal is trained to perform tasks. For example, a parent might be the handler of a service animal trained to perform tasks for a child. The proposed definition does not appear broad enough to encompass this situation. This is an issue that may require further attention during the legislative process.
The Committee recommends the attached proposed legislation. The first proposal will provide guidance to housing providers and persons with disabilities regarding the reasonable accommodation of assistance animals in housing consistent with the Fair Housing Act. The second proposal replaces the White Cane Law with updated provisions on the use of service animals in public accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A HISTORY OF KABVI AND ITS INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER BLINDNESS SERVICES
By Michael Byington
(Editor’s Note: This was written to go into a grant we wrote from the KABVI office recently. After writing this piece, it made me quite proud of all we have done as an Organization. This piece does not cover it all, but just hits some high points. In any case, I thought it might be worth sharing. By the way, if we got anything wrong, and I am sure we probably did, and you wish to correct the record, please drop us a line and let us know.)
KABVI was founded in 1920, as an all-volunteer advocacy and philanthropic, not for profit organization to assist in helping blind and visually impaired Kansans to become productive citizens. Its founders included a blind minister, Rev. Charles Wilson, and Esther V. Taylor, a blind teacher and professional musician. Ms. Taylor lived to be 99 years of age, and was active with the Organization into the late 1980s. KABVI will thus celebrate its 100th year of operation next year. The Organization’s motto throughout its existence has been some variation of “Every Blind Kansan – A Productive Citizen.”
In 1920, when KABVI formed, the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB), founded in 1867, was already doing a credible job of educating blind and severely visually impaired children. The modern Braille code was being developed at this time, and KSSB remained on the leading edge of Braille instruction. Vocational skills and independent living skills were taught to blind and visually impaired students at rigorous levels. Unfortunately, once students graduated from this program, however, they were often unable to get opportunities to demonstrate their skills, and thus were not finding productive employment. Often, this caused them to be relegated to depending on others for their support and livelihood. The handful of blind and severely visually impaired adults who had found ways to become productively employed, and to live self sufficient lifestyles, wanted these opportunities to also be available to their peers. At that time, over 92% of all blind and legally blind, adult, working aged citizens were unemployed and living lives more dependent on others than was necessary. KABVI essentially, at its beginning, wanted to stimulate programs to pick up in serving blind and severely visually impaired adults once their services from KSSB had ended due to their aging out of the education system. As KABVI grew and matured, it also has played a significant role in developing better and more integrated educational opportunities for blind Kansans, but its original role was as an Organization founded by blind young adults for the benefit of blind and severely impaired young adults.
Over the past 100 years, considerable inroads have been made toward changing the employment statistics. Currently National research by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has revieled that 65 to 70% of working aged blind citizens are unemployed, and survey work done by KSSB has suggested that the figures in Kansas are somewhat better, but still just over 50% unemployed. It was these issues that prompted the founding of KABVI. The fact that improvements have been made over the past 100 years suggests that KABVI has contributed to addressing challenges faced by blind children and adults, but the current statistics suggest that the efforts must continue to be ongoing.
By the mid-1930s, KABVI had been the principle advocacy group successful in getting the Kansas Legislature to form a Kansas Division of Services for the Blind. This legislation was adopted despite the fact that the Country was in the heart of economic depression, and the creation of new social service programs by governmental entities was virtually unheard of.
Little by little, this program was enhanced through advocacy on the part of KABVI until the mid 1940s. At that time, the war effort resulted in considerable governmental cuts at State levels. Thus, three of the small handful of employees of the Kansas Division of Services for the Blind were to be laid off because of the war efforts and related cuts. KABVI raised funds and contributed them to State Government to keep these individuals on the job.
At the conclusion of the war, KABVI started advocating for considerable improvements in programming for blind and visually impaired Kansans. This effort was supported by the fact that there was also a national outcry to do more for blinded war Veterans. Thus, in 1949, the State of Kansas opened the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI) to serve blinded adults. This facility continued to be operated by the State of Kansas until 2010 when governmental cuts in human services resulted in its closure. The focus of this program was two-fold. It provided vocational training, and also training in independent living skills so that people who became blind or severely visually impaired could return to live self-sufficiently in Kansas communities.
Additional to the KRCBVI, starting subsequent to the end of World War II, KABVI advocated for, and was successful in bringing about, employment programs specifically targeted to employ blind and visually impaired adults. A factory, Kansas Industries for the Blind (KIB) was attached to the KRCBVI within a few years after that program opened. State and federal contracts were procured so that blind manufacturing workers could manufacture goods needed in the operation of State and federal governments. In parallel development, the federal government developed a private-public partnership, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) to assist entities such as KIB, and a private entity developing in Wichita, and now called Envision, in procuring work contracts for their blind employees. The KIB program expanded to also include a factory in Kansas City, Kansas in 1958. National Industries for the Blind, now called Ability I, and Envision in Wichita continue to exist, and Envision remains the largest employer of blind and severely visually impaired workers in the State. Government run programs for the Blind in Kansas, however, have not fared as well. KIB was closed down by Kansas Government in 1999, Envision took over the operation of the Kansas City KIB factory for a few years, but then closed it as well.
Although the KRCBVI operated until 2010, severe cuts to the Kansas Division of Services for the Blind, starting over ten years before with the closure of KIB in 1999, continued to take place. The Division of Services for the Blind field services program shut down in 2000, and the Rehabilitation Teaching Program for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which assisted newly blinded Kansans with training in blindness skills in their homes, closed down in most of the State as of 2008.
While KABVI opposed all of these closures, the enlargement of State Government essentially worked to disband small, categorical entities such as the Division of Services for the Blind. As KABVI was unable to maintain the service system it had built over the past roughly 75 years, it took on a new focus.
Until 1999, KABVI had been a small, not-for-profit Organization operated out of the homes of its officers. It had experienced success at advocating for the creation of services, and it had a fairly large membership for much of this time because people who had attended the KSSB liked to get together at the KABVI annual meetings, but KABVI was in no way a direct service Organization. With deep cuts into the blindness services system, this had to change. KABVI opened its first office in Topeka in 1999. This constituted one room rented from a facility owned by Envision. It housed Braille production equipment because, the loss of other in-State Brailling services had necessitated KABVI’s engaging in its in-house production of its quarterly Braille magazine “The KABVI News,” rather than contracting the publication of this magazine to other services which had become unavailable. The one room office also contained a telephone with an 800 number and answering machine. With the reduction of services operated by the State, there was no central number where citizens could get information specifically about programming for newly blinded adults. This widely listed line was, and continues to be, staffed by KABVI volunteers who attempt to answer questions about the limited services still available..
In 2003, Envision closed the facility from which KABVI was renting its one room office, so the Organization moved to a one room office in The Casson Building, also located in downtown Topeka. In 2005, KABVI expanded its office space at the Casson Building so it could operate an equipment recycling and redistribution program. Equipment used by people who are blind and visually impaired, such as talking data devices, closed circuit television magnifiers, and other specially marked devices used in day to day tasks are often very expensive, and government programs that were providing such devices were somewhat on the decline. This KABVI program, which continues to be operated by KABVI volunteers on a limited basis, accepts donations of equipment from blind and visually impaired citizens who are no longer using it, or from families of blind and visually impaired citizens who have died, and then recycles this equipment back into the community.
In 2010, when the KRCBVI closed, KABVI learned that the Braille library maintained in that facility was being thrown away because, with the closure of the facility, the State had no place to keep these materials and no one to maintain them. KABVI intervened and offered to rescue these materials. We believe that around a third of the materials were thrown away before our receipt of the materials was approved, but we were able to save around two thirds of these Braille materials. KABVI thus had to again expand the amount of office space rented in the Casson building in order to accommodate these acquisitions, and we continue to maintain these Braille materials, and make them available to blind people who want to borrow them, or use them for research. Braille has continued to evolve over the past 100 years, and the Braille materials maintained by KABVI have considerable historical value.
In 2015, the family that owns the Casson Building found it necessary to close it. It was an aging facility, and the gentleman who had been managing it was in his late 70s and experiencing dementia. KABVI thus had to move all of the operations described herein to slightly smaller facilities which are rented in our current location at 712 S. Kansas Avenue, Topeka.
We take pride in the fact that we have never operated via government support. We have raised the monies to keep the organization operating through fundraisers, philanthropic activities, grants to private foundations, and contributions and bequests from our members. We continue to be an all-volunteer Organization.
Compiled by Michael Byington
The Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TABVI sponsored a complete turkey dinner with all of the trimmings on November 9th. It also celebrated a Christmas party on December 14th where members brought pot luck Christmas yummies. There was a gift exchange. This is being written in early January 2020, and just yesterday the January meeting was canceled due to predicted terrible weather. TABVI meets on the second Saturday of each month at 1:00 p.m. at the Wheatland building of the Kansas Neurological Institute, 3107 S. W. 21st.
The Southwest Kansas Association of the Visually Impaired (SKAVI) meets at the Park Plaza Tower apartments, 1914 Central, Dodge City, on the second Saturday of each month. Call (620) 255-8215 for more information or if transportation is needed. The January meeting, weather permitting, featured Richard Brookman of the Kansas Talking Book Program. The November 2019 meeting featured a pizza party and Bingo.
The Northwest Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (NKAVI) meets at Thirsty’s Restaurant starting at 11:30 on the second Saturday of the month. Lunch orders are taken at that time with the program following the meal. For more information about NKAVI, call 785-628-6055.
The Central Kansas Association of the Visually Impaired (CKAVI) meets at the Great Bend Senior Center. For additional information, call Paul Berscheidt at 620-793-5645, or at webmaster@KABVI.Com.
Compiled by: Bob Chaffin, Paul Berscheidt, and Michael Byington
Trella Ann Berscheidt, 75, passed away September 12, 2019, at Clara Bafton Hospital, Hoisington. She was born February 29, 1944 in Alexander, KS to Glenn C. and Hazel M. (Swartz) Scheuerman. She married Paul Berscheidt June 23, 1962, at Ellinwood, KS. He survives.
A lifetime Great Bend resident, Trella worked as a Clerk at the Barton County Courthouse. She was a member of Prince of Peace Parish at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. She enjoyed helping people and performed volunteer work. Trella loved people, her family and always took care of her husband.
Survivors include, her husband Paul of the home, son, Michael Berscheidt of Gardner, KS; one daughter, Kimberly Schenk and husband Greg of Great Bend; two brothers, Terry D. Scheuerman and wife Naomi of Tecumseh, OK, and Clifford E. Scheuerman and wife Lynne of Great Bend; seven grandchildren, Craig Berscheidt, Blake Berscheidt, Matthew Schenk, Aaron Berscheidt and wife Kayla,Jason Berscheidt and wife Liz, Jessica Kelly and husband Cody, Sarah Smith and husband Jace.
Paul Berscheidt, Trella’s husband, is Vice President of KABVI. Trella was a long time member and volunteer of both KABVI and its Great Bend Organizational Affiliate, the Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (CKAVI).
Darlene Mae Howe, 85, passed away September 17, 2019 in Olathe, Kansas. She was born August 25, 1934, at Hodgeman County Kansas to Harry and Perl (Kline) Klinge. A long time resident of Hanston, Kansas, she spent much of her life serving others as a waitress, a cook, and as a paraprofessional with the Dodge City School district, working particularly with students who are blind and visually impaired.
Darlene was a devout Christian. She also was well known for her impersonations of Minni Perl, which she performed for civic groups and in entertainment venues throughout Kansas. She also brought her stylings of Minni Perl to the Friends In Art Showcase of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) several times, and her performance was thus broadcast on ACB Radio to blind and visually impaired people all over the world.
Darlene was a past President of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI), and also the Southwest Kansas Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, (SKAVI). She lived in Wichita for several years after her retirement, and during that time, she was a regular volunteer for Envision, working particularly with Envision’s senior support group for the blind and visually impaired.
Darlene was an active writer, publishing poetry and proes selections. She also authored a book, “From Darkness To Light,” which recounted her experience with being sighted, then blind, then severely visually impaired. Ultimately, she lost all of her vision for a second time, and continued her active life regardless of the amount of vision she had at any given moment.
On December 31, 1959, she married Earl Monroe Howe of Hanston. He preceeded her in death. Survivers include two adult children, and five grandchildren.
Joyce D. (Wilbur) Lewis, 88, beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother passed away Saturday, November 16, 2019. Born February 22, 1931, in Wichita, Ks, Joyce was the second of two daughters born to Virgil Levi and Glynnece Beatrice (Dempsey) Wilbur.
Joyce’s family lived on a farm at Ridge and Central. When she was 14, Joyce’s family moved to Augusta, where she attended High School. Joyce began her college education at Kansas State University in 1948 and alternated working summers at Boeing and attending classes during the school year. She married her first husband, Otis Temple Graham, in 1951 and they relocated to California in 1952. Her first child was born in June 1953 but died in childbirth. Joyce returned to Wichita for the birth of her second child in Oct 1954, and the third child followed in Feb 1956. After her divorce she and her two young children relocated back to Augusta where they lived with her parents on the farm.
She began her teaching career in 1956 at Washington Elementary in Wichita. The following year she returned to college completing a BS in Education from Friends University in May 1958.
Joyce married her current husband, William (Bill) Lewis on Nov 1, 1959 at the First Presbyterian Church in Wichita. They quickly had three more sons in stair-step order from 1960 to 1963 and William adopted Joyce’s oldest two children in 1961. Joyce was devoted to her family and to the concept of education. The family moved to Hays, Ks in 1966 and Joyce resumed teaching. Her first master’s degree was earned in 1976 at Fort Hays State. The family returned to Wichita in 1977, and Joyce moved into the Special Education department. She earned her second Master's in Special Education Behavioral Disorders in 1979 from Wichita State University. Joyce taught Special Education first at Payne Elementary, then at Peterson Elementary – the same school she attended as a child – and then Gardiner Elementary. Joyce retired from full time teaching in 1991, but very shortly thereafter found she missed being involved with children and signed on as a substitute teacher. She was active as a substitute for another fifteen years along with active participation in the tutoring program at her church.
Joyce was predeceased by her parents, sister, Beverly (Wilbur) Snyder, and her oldest son, Temple Cameron Lewis. She leaves a daughter, Terese (Charlie), three sons, David (Amy), Barry, and Brian (Pat), six grandchildren, Lucas M. L. Deaton, Phillip C. L. Gwinner, Emily R. L. Gwinner, Justin M. Lewis (Erin), Lindsay R. Brown (Matthew), and Clinton G. Lewis, two great-grand daughters, Kayleigh Renee Deaton and Elaine Marie Brown. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and remembered always.
Joyce was a member of the Board of Directors of KABVI. Her husband, William (Bill) has, over many years, held many Board, Officer, and Committee Chair positions with KABVI.
Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal
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