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By Michael Byington

I attended the ACB Legislative Seminar in Washington, D.C. during the first week in February. For the past couple of years, I have sent other Board officers or Committee chairs to this seminar and have not gone myself. I like the idea of sending some new blood, but this year, I had some other business I needed to conduct in Washington at the same time, and was thus willing to pay part of my own expenses. Given the fact that KABVI is having to watch the purse strings just a bit, this seemed to be a good reason to appoint myself to go.

It is hard to know what to report about ACB’s national legislative effort. For one thing, most of the National issues are covered in “The Braille Forum,” on ACB’s website, or on its excellent e-mail lists. For another, the turn-around time for this publication to get out, despite our best efforts, makes it hard to give you the most current information through this venue.

I have decided to just cover the issues which I believe will still definitely be current by the time you read this. That way, you can contact your elected national Senators and Representatives from Kansas and know you are talking with them about stuff they can perhaps do something about.

We need to have the video description restoration act introduced and supported. This legislation, written and supported by ACB, would make it clear, despite a recent court decision to the contrary, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does have the right to order require, and regulate video description for people who are blind and low vision.

We need co-sponsors for House Concurrent Resolution 235 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 71. These resolutions strongly encourage States to make the meaning of the white cane and guide dog a part of State literature and testing required to get drivers’ licenses.

We oppose House Bill 2872. This Bill calls for a commemorative coin to be issued honoring Louis Braille. The Legislation specifically says that all proceeds from the issuance of this coin shall go to the National Federation of the Blind to assist in promoting Braille literacy. ACB supports promotion of Braille literacy, but there are many organizations that make such promotion all or part of their efforts. There is no justification to single out one organization and send all of the largess from such a coin to only that organization.

In my President Ponders article, I encouraged all of you not to make advocacy on blindness and visual impairment issues somebody else’s problem. We all need to work on it. I am therefore going to offer contact information for all f the national Senators and Representatives from Kansas. Many of them may also have local offices in your area of Kansas, and you can check local directory services for this information. I will put this information in paragraph form as that will take up less room in our publication.

Senator Pat Roberts is at 109 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510-1605. His telephone number is 202-224-4774. Senator Sam Brownback is at 303 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. His telephone number is 202-224-6521. First District Congressman Jerry Moran is at 2443 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. His telephone number is 202-225-2715. Second District Congressman Jim Ryun is at 1110 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. His telephone number is 202-225-6601. Third District Congressman Dennis Moore is at 1727 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. His telephone number is 202-225-2865. Fourth District Congressman Todd Tiahrt is at 2441 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. His telephone number is 202-225-3489.

It was enjoyable seeing old friends and associates at the seminar, and I always enjoy talking with Legislative staff. Many States sent first timers to the seminar this year, however, and next year I hope that Kansas can join this trend.

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