Business Enterprise Program

WHEREAS, the Federal Randolph-Sheppard Act gives priority to blind vendors to operate vending facilities in public buildings, and

WHEREAS, The act requires that a State Licensing Agency (SLA) be selected to implement the program in each state, the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), has been chosen as the SLA for California, and

WHEREAS, NFBC representatives on the DOR Advisory Committee on Services for Blind and Visually Impaired clients (BAC) have been told at several meetings by vendors and Department personnel of the very poor performance by the Department in operating the California Business enterprise Program (BEP), and

WHEREAS, examples of this poor performance include:

  1. The number of vending facilities currently in operation is less than half of the peak number of facilities in the past;
  2. Regulations implementing BEP are just now being rewritten only after requests to do so by the vendors dating back several years;
  3. Poor accounting or laxity in fee payment enforcement have resulted in some 25% of vendors being delinquent in fee payments, thus causing a hardship on paying vendors;
  4. Some vending facility managers have been allowed to move out of California or to take full-time jobs with no action by DOR.,and
WHEREAS, members of the California Vendors Policy Committee (CVPC), a committee mandated under the Federal Rehabilitation Act, along with other vendors are taking action to investigate alternatives to DOR's operation of BEP, that is, the selection of a Nominee Agency, a solution allowed by Federal law, and used in a few other states, and

WHEREAS, the Nominee Agency would take over most of the administration and day to day work of operating the Business Enterprise Program, leaving just a few tasks reserved by Federal law to the Department; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of California in convention assembled this 28th day of October, 2007 in the city of Sacramento, California that this organization go on record in support of the work of BEP vendors to make BEP a viable employment opportunity again, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation to work with these BEP vendors and with representatives of the NFB of California to achieve these goals.