Mark Richert, AFB's Director of Public Policy
A hearty kudos to the United States Senate for ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty—unanimously, I might add—and passing its implementing legislation, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559), which aims to facilitate access to materials in a specialized format to eligible individuals, including and especially individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
It has been the longstanding belief of the American Foundation for the Blind that access to books is a basic human right, the denial of which should not and cannot be tolerated by civilized countries in the twenty-first century. Further, this historic Treaty, along with its implementing legislation once passed in the House, would make available an additional 350,000 accessible books for people living in the United States.
Along with our colleagues in the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind, we are grateful to see the Senate take this action now so that people with vision loss all around the world can enjoy and benefit from this right more freely. This bipartisan and broadly supported move by the Senate is a rare and welcome expression of policymakers coming together to do what's right for people with disabilities. A special shoutout to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who sponsored the bill, and co-sponsors Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Patrick J Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA).