In 1936 the Federal Randolph Sheppard Act was enacted by Congress in an effort to provide self-employment opportunities to blind men and women throughout the country. The Randolph Sheppard Act gives blind men and women priority to operate businesses on Federal property.
In 1974 amendments were added to the Randolph Sheppard Act one of which mandated the creation of an elected committee of blind vendors. The Committee’s role would be to advocate for, protect the rights of, and represent blind vendors within their state. Thus the creation of the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors (ICBV). Since its inception the ICBV has been on the forefront of advocacy, leadership, and guidance not only for the Illinois Blind Vendors but for Blind Vendors across the United States.
In addition the ICBV has realized the importance of giving back to the community. Several years ago the ICBV began a disability hiring initiative with the intent of offering employment opportunities to any person with a disability.
This initiative became so successful, that in 2001 the Illinois Department of Human Services named the ICBV “Employee of the Year”.
In 2001, the ICBV became a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization. This now allows the Committee to accept donations that are tax deductible.
Public Law 2421 known as the Blind Vendor Act was signed into law in August 2009 by Governor Pat Quinn. Our special and sincere thanks go out to Senator Mike Jacobs and State Representative Michael P. McAuliffe and the Illinois General Assembly. This new public law mirrors the federal Randolph Sheppard Act on State property and will create self employment opportunities for blind men and women for many years to come.
In 2011 we are happy to announce that many more state locations are being turned over to ICBV/BEPB including State Prisons, Department of Natural Resources, Secretary of State, and National Guard/Armory locations. There is a lot to be excited about in our program as we move into 2012.