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2010 CCB Legislative Report
as prepared by Frank Welte, CCB Director of Governmental Affairs

September 8, 2010

This is the CCB Legislative Report for September 8, 2010
Prepared by Frank Welte, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

Remember that November 2 is election day, so mark the date in your calendar. Now is the time for you to register to vote if you havenít voted lately or if youíve moved or changed your party affiliation since the last election. Vote as if your life depended on it because it does.

This fall, Californians will elect a new governor, several new statewide officials, and many new members of the State Legislature. With so many new leaders in Sacramento the time will be right for us to develop new partnerships, to launch new initiatives and to revive old ones.

We would like your suggestions for issues that we might address with the Legislature and with the various state agencies in the coming year. We are beginning to plan the CCB legislative agenda for 2011. We hope to settle on our list of priorities at our Governmental Affairs Committee meeting which will take place on October 30 during our fall convention, so we can be ready to present our concerns at the start of the next session of the Legislature. Please send your suggestions to Donna Pomerantz, Governmental Affairs Committee Chair and/or to Frank Welte, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. You may also wish to submit your ideas to the CCB Resolutions Committee, so they can be discussed by our members at the fall convention.

With the exception of the state budget, our state legislators have finished their work for this year, so theyíll be spending a lot of time campaigning in their districts until the election in November. Our members of congress will be on vacation during the first week in September, and theyíll also be in their districts as election day approaches, so this is a good time for you to schedule visits with your legislators in their district offices. Many of them will be attending public events, such as town hall meetings, barbecues and campaign rallies where you may have the opportunity to meet them. Check with their district offices for event schedules.

State Legislation.

CCB and Guide Dog Users of California are supporting SB 1491, which will make it easier for Guide dog schools and trainers licensed in California to provide in-home guide dog training. The bill has passed the State Legislature, and it is waiting for the Governorís signature.

Two bills, AB 584 by Alyson Huber, and AB 1781 by Mike Villines, would respectively permit specified cities in Ammador County and the city of Fresno, to implement plans to allow neighborhood electric vehicles, NEVs, to operate in their communities. Because these vehicles would be very quiet, they present a safety hazard to pedestrians, especially those who are visually impaired. We voiced our concerns about pedestrian safety to legislative committees, but they were passed by the Legislature without including language to address the quiet car problem. If the Governor signs these bills our members in the affected communities will need to advocate with their local traffic officials to insure that these NEV plans address pedestrian safety issues. Please notify the CCB office if your community is considering implementing a NEV plan. You may also wish to write to the Governor about the risk of quiet NEVs on your safety as a visually impaired pedestrian. Hereís the governorís address.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone number: (916) 445-2841
Fax number: (916) 558-3160

To get connected with state government offices call the California State government Information Center switchboard at (916) 322-9900 or visit www.cold.ca.gov

The Legislature has passed resolution ACR 162, by Assembly member Jim Beall, which calls for the designation of the second week in October as Disability History Week. While CCB approves of a state disability history week, we objected to the distorted description of California disability history that was included in the resolution because it emphasized the Independent Living movement while not acknowledging the successes of the organized blind and deaf movements. We were partially successful in getting some more balanced language into the resolution. We encourage CCB members to contribute to the development of local disability history programs to insure that they include accurate information about the history of blind Californians.

Finally, as I write this report the state government has gone through the first two months of its fiscal year without a budget. The state needs to close a $19 billion deficit, and it is uncertain how this will be achieved. We will continue to monitor developments on this front.

Federal Legislation.

CCB has been supporting the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, House bill, H.R. 734 and its Senate companion bill, S 841, which would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct research and develop minimum sound standards for quiet cars in order to allow blind pedestrians to detect their presence when we cross streets. The language from this bill has been incorporated into a larger bill, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, H.R. 5381, and its Senate companion bill, S. 3302. Please encourage your member of congress and Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support this amended version of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act of 2009, H.R. 3101, to restore rules mandating audio described television programming and make communications equipment more accessible. The companion bill, which has been passed by the Senate is S. 3304. While itís not quite as strong as the House bill, itís not bad, so weíre encouraging members of the House to support S 3304. This bill will

H.R. 1708 and its companion, S.700 have been introduced in the United States Congress. These identical peaces of legislation are entitled, Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009. This legislation would eliminate the two year period that SSDI recipients must wait before they can receive Medicare benefits.

Last, but not least, you will recall that CCB has relied on vehicle donations for a significant portion of its funding in recent years. In 2004 some unfavorable federal tax rules took effect, and since then revenues from car donations have been greatly diminished. The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill, H.R. 571, that would bring balance back to the way the IRS treats vehicle donations, so that CCB and other nonprofits will receive the amounts of donations that will allow them to greatly expand their vital services.

We need Californiaís members of the House of Representatives and our two U.S. Senators to support these pieces of legislation. If your representative is cosponsoring one or more of the bills please thank them. If your representative isnít yet on record as a supporter, please ask them to do so. Call Frank Welte in the CCB office at (800) 221-6359 if you donít know which bills your representative is cosponsoring. You can reach the office of your member of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.


Check with the California Connection to find out when the next Capitol Report will be Updated and for federal legislative information, please check with the Washington Connection 800-424-8666 or the acb.org website.


September 1, 2010

This is the CCB Legislative Report for September 1, 2010
Prepared by Frank Welte, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

Remember that November 2 is election day, so mark the date in your calendar. Now is the time for you to register to vote if you havenít voted lately or if youíve moved or changed your party affiliation since the last election. Vote as if your life depended on it because it does.

With the exception of the state budget, our state legislators have finished their work for this year, so theyíll be spending a lot of time campaigning in their districts until the election in November. Our members of congress will be on vacation during the first week in September, and theyíll also be in their districts as election day approaches, so this is a good time for you to schedule visits with your legislators in their district offices. Many of them will be attending public events, such as town hall meetings, barbecues and campaign rallies where you may have the opportunity to meet them. Check with their district offices for event schedules.

State Legislation

CCB and Guide Dog Users of California are supporting SB 1491, which will make it easier for Guide dog schools and trainers licensed in California to provide in-home guide dog training. The bill has passed the State Legislature, and it is waiting for the Governorís signature.

Two bills, AB 584 by Alyson Huber, and AB 1781 by Mike Villines, would respectively permit specified cities in Ammador County and the city of Fresno, to implement plans to allow neighborhood electric vehicles, NEVs, to operate in their communities. Because these vehicles would be very quiet, they present a safety hazard to pedestrians, especially those who are visually impaired. We voiced our concerns about pedestrian safety to legislative committees, but they were passed by the Legislature without including language to address the quiet car problem. If the Governor signs these bills our members in the affected communities will need to advocate with their local traffic officials to insure that these NEV plans address pedestrian safety issues. Please notify the CCB office if your community is considering implementing a NEV plan. You may also wish to write to the Governor about the risk of quiet NEVs on your safety as a visually impaired pedestrian. Hereís the governorís address:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone number: (916) 445-2841
Fax number: (916) 558-3160

To get connected with state government offices call the California State government Information Center switchboard at (916) 322-9900 or visit www.cold.ca.gov

The Legislature has passed resolution ACR 162, by Assembly member Jim Beall, which calls for the designation of the second week in October as Disability History Week. While CCB approves of a state disability history week, we objected to the distorted description of California disability history that was included in the resolution because it emphasized the Independent Living movement while not acknowledging the successes of the organized blind and deaf movements. We were partially successful in getting some more balanced language into the resolution. We encourage CCB members to contribute to the development of local disability history programs to insure that they include accurate information about the history of blind Californians.

Finally, as I write this report the state government has gone through the first two months of its fiscal year without a budget. The state needs to close a $19 billion deficit, and it is uncertain how this will be achieved. We will continue to monitor developments on this front.

Federal Legislation

CCB has been supporting the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, House bill, H.R. 734 and its Senate companion bill, S 841, which would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct research and develop minimum sound standards for quiet cars in order to allow blind pedestrians to detect their presence when we cross streets. The language from this bill has been incorporated into a larger bill, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, H.R. 5381, and its Senate companion bill, S. 3302. Please encourage your member of congress and Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support this amended version of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act of 2009, H.R. 3101, to restore rules mandating audio described television programming and make communications equipment more accessible. The companion bill, which has been passed by the Senate is S. 3304. While itís not quite as strong as the House bill, itís not bad, so weíre encouraging members of the House to support S 3304. This bill will

H.R. 1708 and its companion, S.700 have been introduced in the United States Congress. These identical peaces of legislation are entitled, Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009. This legislation would eliminate the two year period that SSDI recipients must wait before they can receive Medicare benefits.

Last, but not least, you will recall that CCB has relied on vehicle donations for a significant portion of its funding in recent years. In 2004 some unfavorable federal tax rules took effect, and since then revenues from car donations have been greatly diminished. The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill, H.R. 571, that would bring balance back to the way the IRS treats vehicle donations, so that CCB and other nonprofits will receive the amounts of donations that will allow them to greatly expand their vital services.

We need Californiaís members of the House of Representatives and our two U.S. Senators to support these pieces of legislation. If your representative is cosponsoring one or more of the bills please thank them. If your representative isnít yet on record as a supporter, please ask them to do so. Call Frank Welte in the CCB office at (800) 221-6359 if you donít know which bills your representative is cosponsoring. You can reach the office of your member of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.


Check with the California Connection to find out when the next Capitol Report will be Updated and for federal legislative information, please check with the Washington Connection 800-424-8666 or the acb.org website.


July 7, 2010

This is the CCB Legislative Report for July 7, 2010
Prepared by Frank Welte, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

On May 18 31 CCB members and friends took part in the 2010 CCB Capitol Day. After an informative legislative briefing in the morning and a tasty picnic lunch, the members of our group walked the halls of the state capitol building informing legislators and staffers about our concerns. Special thanks go out to Art Takahara and to the Randolph-Shepperd Vendors of California who sponsored this event. The 2011 Capitol Day will take place in conjunction with the CCB spring convention, so plan on coming early, so you can join us at the capitol.

Our state legislators are on vacation during the month of July, and our members of congress will be on vacation in August, so this is a good time for you to schedule visits with your legislators in their district offices. Many of them will be attending public events, such as town hall meetings, barbecues and campaign rallies where you may have the opportunity to meet them. Check with their district offices for event schedules.

State Legislation.

CCB sponsored two bills in the state legislature this year. The first bill was AB 1787, and the author was Sandre Swanson. It would have required state government agencies to publish notices of proposed regulations in a format that would be more accessible to people who are visually impaired. The bill stalled in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. However, the author intends to re-introduce the bill next year.

The second bill was AB 2430, and the author was Wesley Chesbro. This bill would have required agencies whose sole purpose is to serve the blind, and that receive funding from the Department of Rehabilitation, to reserve 20% of the positions on their boards of directors for people who are blind or visually impaired. CCB members and friends worked hard to gather support for the bill in the face of stiff opposition. Unfortunately, the author withdrew the bill from consideration from the Assembly floor. We in CCB are committed to the principle that agencies that have meaningful community participation in their direction and oversight will provide better services, and we will seek future opportunities to codify this principal in state law.

CCB and Guide Dog Users of California are supporting SB 1491, which will make it easier for Guide dog schools and trainers licensed in California to provide in-home guide dog training. The bill has passed the State Senate, and we expect it to be approved soon by the Assembly as well.

Two bills, AB 584 by Alyson Huber, and AB 1781 by Mike Villines, would respectively permit specified cities in Ammador County and the city of Fresno, to implement plans to allow neighborhood electric vehicles, NEVs, to operate in their communities. Because these vehicles would be very quiet, they present a safety hazard to pedestrians, especially those who are visually impaired. We voiced our concerns about pedestrian safety to legislative committees, but it appears that both bills will become law without including language to address the quiet car problem. This means that our members in the affected communities will need to advocate with their local traffic officials to insure that these NEV plans address pedestrian safety issues. Also, please notify the CCB office if your community is considering implementing a NEV plan.

ACR 162, by Assembly member Jim Beall, calls for the designation of the second week in October as Disability History Week. While CCB approves of a state disability history week, we objected to the distorted description of California disability history that was included in the resolution. We were partially successful in getting some more balanced language into the resolution. We encourage CCB members to contribute to the development of local disability history programs to insure that they include accurate information about the history of blind Californians.

Finally, as I write this report the state government has begun its fiscal year without a budget. The state needs to close a $19 billion deficit, and it is uncertain how this will be achieved. We will continue to monitor developments on this front.

Federal Legislation.

CCB has been supporting the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, House bill, H.R. 734 and its Senate companion bill, S 841, which would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct research and develop minimum sound standards for quiet cars in order to allow blind pedestrians to detect their presence when we cross streets. The language from this bill has been incorporated into a larger bill, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, H.R. 5381, and its Senate companion bill, S. 3302. Please encourage your member of congress and Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support this amended version of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act of 2009, H.R. 3101, will restore rules mandating audio described television programming and make communications equipment more accessible. The companion bill in the Senate is S. 3304, the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act. Unfortunately, amendments have been added that would eliminate a planned $10 million fund to purchase telecommunications equipment for the deaf, and that would prevent the FCC from expanding the scope of required audio description on television beyond the level required prior to 2002. Please ask your member of congress and our two Senators to support this bill without the weakening amendments.

H.R. 1708 and its companion, S.700 have been introduced in the United States Congress. These identical peaces of legislation are entitled, Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009. This legislation would eliminate the two year period that SSDI recipients must wait before they can receive Medicare benefits.

Last, but not least, you will recall that CCB has relied on vehicle donations for a significant portion of its funding in recent years. In 2004 some unfavorable federal tax rules took effect, and since then revenues from car donations have been greatly diminished. The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill, H.R. 571, that would bring balance back to the way the IRS treats vehicle donations, so that CCB and other nonprofits will receive the amounts of donations that will allow them to greatly expand their vital services.

We need California's members of the House of Representatives and our two U.S. Senators to cosponsor these pieces of legislation. If your representative is cosponsoring one or more of the bills please thank them. If your representative isn't yet a co-sponsor, please ask them to do so. Call Frank Welte in the CCB office at (800) 221-6359 if you don't know which bills your representative is cosponsoring. You can reach the office of your member of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

As you've probably heard, the 2010 U.S. Census is under way. It is critical that you complete and return your Census form as soon as possible. The more Californians who take part in the Census, the more federal funds will come to California to pay for our vital social services. You can get help filling out your Census form by calling 866-872-6868.

Check with the California Connection to find out when the next Capitol Report will be Updated and for federal legislative information, please check with the Washington Connection 800-424-8666 or the acb.org website.


April 28, 2010

This is the CCB Legislative Report for April 26, 2010 Prepared by Frank Welte, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

You are invited to join members of CCB at our 2010 Capitol Day, which will take place at the State Capitol Building in Sacramento on Tuesday, May 18 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The event will begin with a legislative briefing followed by a lunch provided by CCB. After lunch, participants will visit legislators' offices to talk about CCB's concerns. Participants must pre-register no later than May 14. To register or to get more information about this event, contact Frank Welte at the CCB office at (800) 221-6359, or send him Email at frank.welte@ccbnet.org.

State Legislation.

CCB is sponsoring two bills in the state legislature this year. The first bill is AB 1787, and the author is Sandre Swanson. California state government agencies periodically release notices of changes to state government regulations. These documents indicate the specific modifications to language typographically. Changed language is printed in an Italic or underline font, and deleted language is printed in strike-out font. When a blind person listens to these documents being read by a live reader or by a synthesized voice generated by a computer, the typographic indications aren't usually spoken, so the listener doesn't hear which language is being changed or deleted.

AB 1787 would require the addition of narrative text in notices of proposed regulations to identify changed or deleted language, so a blind person listening to these documents would have the same information that is currently conveyed typographically. AB 1787 has been approved by the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions.

The second bill is AB 2430, and the author is Wesley Chesbro. This bill would require agencies whose sole purpose is to serve the blind, and that receive funding from the Department of Rehabilitation, to reserve 20% of the positions on their boards of directors for people who are blind or visually impaired. CCB contends that, as recipients of state funds, these agencies are accountable to the taxpayers, in general, and to the blind community, in particular. AB 2430 will promote this accountability by insuring that our community will have a significant voice in the direction and oversight of these service providers. The bill has been approved by the Assembly Committee on Human Services.

Both bills will be heard by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday, May 5 at 9:00 AM in room 4202 at the State Capitol. The committee consists of Chair: Felipe Fuentes, Vice Chair: Connie Conway, and Tom Ammiano, Steven Bradford, Charles Calderon, Joe Coto, Mike Davis, Kevin de Leon, Isadore Hall, Diane Harkey, Jeff Miller, Jim Nielsen, Chris Norby, Nancy Skinner, Jose Solorio, Tom Torlakson and Alberto Torrico. Please contact these individuals to express your support for our two bills, especially if you live in one of their districts. Along with individual support, we need agencies serving the blind to step forward in favor of AB 2430, so please encourage the leaders of your local blindness agencies to support that bill.

CCB and Guide Dog Users of California are supporting SB 1491, which will make it easier for Guide dog schools and trainers licensed in California to provide in-home guide dog training. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, and it will be heard by the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Monday, May 3 at 11:00 AM in room 4203 at the State Capitol. The Committee members are Chair: Christine Kehoe, Vice Chair: Dave Cox, And also Elaine Alquist, Ellen Corbett, Jeff Denham, Mark Leno, Curren Price, Mimi Walters, Lois Wolk, Mark Wyland and Leland Yee. Please contact the committee members to express your support for SB 1491.

Federal Legislation.

The U.S. Congress is in session, and CCB is seeking co-sponsors for four pieces of important federal legislation. You can reach the office of your member of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, House bill, H.R. 734 and its Senate companion bill, S 841, would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct research and develop minimum sound standards for quiet cars in order to allow blind pedestrians to detect their presence when we cross streets.

The 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act of 2009, H.R. 3101, will restore rules mandating audio described television programming and make communications equipment more accessible.

H.R. 1708 and its companion, S.700 have been introduced in the United States Congress. These identical peaces of legislation are entitled, Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009. This legislation would eliminate the two year period that SSDI recipients must wait before they can receive Medicare benefits.

Last, but not least, you will recall that CCB has relied on vehicle donations for a significant portion of its funding in recent years. In 2004 some unfavorable federal tax rules took effect, and since then revenues from car donations have been greatly diminished. The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill, H.R. 571, that would bring balance back to the way the IRS treats vehicle donations, so that CCB and other nonprofits will receive the amounts of donations that will allow them to greatly expand their vital services.

We need California's members of the House of Representatives and our two U.S. Senators to cosponsor these pieces of legislation. If your representative is cosponsoring one or more of the bills please thank them. If your representative isn't yet a co-sponsor, please ask them to do so. Call Frank Welte in the CCB office if you don't know which bills your representative is cosponsoring.


As you've probably heard, the 2010 U.S. Census is under way. It is critical that you complete and return your Census form as soon as possible. The more Californians who take part in the Census, the more federal funds will come to California to pay for our vital social services. You can get help filling out your Census form by calling 866-872-6868.?

Finally, the 2010 state primary election will take place on June 8, so make sure you're registered to vote.


Check with the California Connection to find out when the next Capitol Report will be
Updated and for federal legislative information, please check with the Washington Connection 800-424-8666 or the acb.org website.


March 10, 2010

This is the CCB Legislative Report for March 10, 2010
Prepared by Frank Welte, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

State Legislation

CCB is sponsoring two bills in the state legislature this year. The first bill is AB 1787, and the author is Sandre Swanson. California state government agencies periodically release notices of changes to state government regulations. These documents indicate the specific modifications to language typographically. Changed language is printed in an Italic or underline font, and deleted language is printed in strike-out font. When a blind person listens to these documents being read by a live reader or by a synthesized voice generated by a computer, the typographic indications aren't usually spoken, so the listener doesn't hear which language is being changed or deleted.

AB 1787 would require the addition of narrative text in notices of proposed regulations to identify changed or deleted language, so a blind person listening to these documents would have the same information that is currently conveyed typographically.

AB 1787 will be heard by the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions on Tuesday, March 23 at 9:00 AM in room 447 of the State Capitol. The committee consists of Chair: Mary Hayashi, Vice Chair: Bill Emmerson, Connie Conway, Mike Eng, Edward P. Hernandez, Jerry Hill, Pedro Nava, Roger Niello, Ira Ruskin andCameron Smith. Please contact the members of the committee to express your support for this bill.

The second bill is AB 2430, and the author is Wesley Chesbro. This bill would require agencies whose sole purpose is to serve the blind, and that receive funding from the Department of Rehabilitation, to reserve 20% of the positions on their boards of directors for people who are blind or visually impaired. CCB contends that, as recipients of state funds, these agencies are accountable to the taxpayers, in general, and to the blind community, in particular. AB 2430 will promote this accountability by insuring that our community will have a significant voice in the direction and oversight of these service providers.

CCB is concerned about AB 1781 by Assemblyman Mike Villines. This bill would authorize the city of Fresno to permit neighborhood electric vehicles to operate in certain parts of the city. CCB will oppose this bill unless it includes language to protect the safety of blind pedestrians. The bill will be heard by the Assembly Committee on Transportation on Monday, March 22 at 1:30 PM in room 4202 of the State Capitol. The committee consists of Chair: Mike Eng, Vice Chair: Kevin Jeffries, Bill Berryhill, Bob Blumenfield, Joan Buchanan, Warren Furutani, Cathleen Galgiani, Bonnie Lowenthal, Jeff Miller, Roger Niello, Chris Norby, Jose Solorio and Tom Torlackson. Please contact these committee members to express your concerns about the impact of quiet neighborhood electric vehicles on visually impaired pedestrians, especially those of you living in Fresno.

Federal Legislation

The U.S. Congress is in session, and CCB is seeking co-sponsors for four pieces of important federal legislation. You can reach the office of your member of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Hybrid cars and other alternative fuel vehicles pose an increasing danger to pedestrians, especially those who are blind and visually impaired. This is because they operate much more quietly than conventional vehicles, so they are difficult to detect by sound. A bill that would address this problem, H.R. 734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, and its companion bill, S 841, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. H.R. 734 directs the federal Department of Transportation to conduct a study of the quiet car problem, and based on the results of the study, to prepare a requirement for the minimum sound to be emitted by new cars.

So far, 20 members of congress from California have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 734;Representatives Joe Baca, Howard Berman, Brian Bilbray, Lois Capps, Judy Chu, Bob Filner, Jane Harman, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Dan Lungren, Dorris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Laura Richardson, Dana Rohrabacher, Linda Sanchez, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey. We're seeking more co-sponsors. If your member of the House of Representatives is on this list, please thank them. If your representative isn't yet a co-sponsor, please ask them to do so. We also encourage you to ask our U.S. Senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to co-sponsor S 841.

Last year, , the California State Legislature gave a boost to our quiet car advocacy effort by passing a resolution sponsored by CCB, SJR 6, by Senator Allen Lowenthal. This resolution has placed the state legislature on record in support of H.R. 734. Be sure to mention this when you contact your member of Congress.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has reintroduced comprehensive legislation to ensure that people with disabilities have access to Internet-based telecommunications and video programming technologies. The bill, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3101), will--

  1. require that mobile and other Internet-based telecommunications devices be fully hearing aid compatible, have accessible user interfaces, and offer people with disabilities use of a full range of text messaging and other popular services that are currently largely inaccessible;
  2. provide people who are deaf-blind with vital but costly technologies they need to communicate electronically, establish a process for the provision of real-time text capability, and clarify existing relay-to-relay, Lifeline and Linkup service requirements to ensure their relevance to the real world communications needs of people with disabilities;
  3. restore the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) modest video description rules and unambiguously establish the Commission's current and ongoing authority to expand such regulations, require emergency announcements and similar information to be accessible to people with disabilities through audible presentation of on-screen alerts, ensure that video programming offered via the Internet will be both captioned and described, and call for all devices that receive and playback video programming to employ accessible user interfaces and allow ready access to captioning and description;
  4. strengthen consumers' ability to enforce their rights to communications and video accessibility through the establishment of a clearinghouse of informationabout service and equipment accessibility and usability, a meaningful FCC complaint process that holds industry accountable for their accessibility obligations, and judicial review of FCC action to ensure the Commission's own accountability.

All Members of the United States House of Representatives should be actively encouraged to cosponsor H.R. 3101. Seven California Representatives, Howard Berman, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Grace Napolitano, Linda Sanchez and Pete Stark are co-sponsors.

H.R. 1708 by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and its companion, S.700 by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), have been introduced in the United States Congress. These identical peaces of legislation are entitled, Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009. So Far, 13 Californians have co-sponsored H.R. 1708. They are Mary Bono Mack, Susan Davis, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal Allard, Linda Sanchez, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey. . Senator Barbara Boxer has co-sponsored S 700. We encourage you to call your congressional representatives and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein in support of these bills.

Last, but not least, you will recall that CCB has relied on vehicle donations for a significant portion of its funding in recent years. In 2004 some unfavorable federal tax rules took effect, and since then revenues from car donations have been greatly diminished. The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill, H.R. 571, by Congressman Bill Delahunt from Massachusetts, that would bring balance back to the way the IRS treats vehicle donations, so that CCB and other nonprofits will receive the amounts of donations that will allow them to greatly expand their vital services. H.R. 571 has 15 California cosponsors; Howard Berman, Brian Bilbray, Mary Bono Mack, Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, Bob Filner, Jane Harman, Mike Honda, Tom McClintock, Jerry McNerney, Dana Rohrabacher, Linda Sanchez Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey. We need more co-sponsors for this bill.


Check with the California Connection to find out when the next Capitol Report will be updated and for federal legislative information, please check with the Washington Connection 800-424-8666 or the acb.org website.

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