Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two More Representatives Cosponsoring HR 3101!

Today Caption Action 2 was on Capitol Hill and had a meeting with Mark Bayer in Rep. Ed Markey's office. Bayer had some good news for Caption Action 2: Yesterday Representatives Maurice Hinchey (NY) and Paul Kanjorski (PA) became cosponsors of HR 3101! Now we have a total of 10 cosponsors. Still small, but starting to grow!

Representative Hinchey was a cosponsor last year. He has now rejoined us!

Bayer also told Caption Action 2 that while work continues to get support in the House, work is also being done on two other fronts: the Senate, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He said that sometime this month a bill may be introduced in the Senate that mirrors HR 3101 in the House! Regarding the FCC, Bayer explained that the more aware the FCC is of the issues addressed by HR 3101, the better the chances of HR 3101 moving through Congress. On October 20, the FCC will have another workshop on broadband access for people with disabilities, "Broadband Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Barriers, Opportunities, and Policy Recommendations." (Details are in this PDF). Page 2 of the PDF has this question: "How often do people with hearing disabilities find that material that they would like to access on the web is uncaptioned?"

Just before Jamie left Bayer, he received a special notice from the Sergeant at Arms (don't know what that means on Capitol Hill). This notice was about the Dedication of the Statue of Helen Keller! A statue of Helen Keller, given by the people of Alabama, will be placed in the U.S. Capitol! Jamie did not know about this event. Bayer said that this is an event that will attract many members of Congress and is therefore a good opportunity to increase awareness of deaf issues. The statue dedication ceremony will take place on October 7 at 11:00 am in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol!

Today Caption Action 2 visited most if not all, of the Representatives with offices in the Longworth building. Then a mistake was made; a walk to the Ford House Office building. Turned out there are no representatives in that building! It is only for house support offices. Ugh. Back to the Rayburn building to visit a few offices that had been missed before. On the way down in the elevator heading to the Cannon building, who did Jamie run into? None other than the same woman from Representative Conyers' office! She was pleased to see Jamie again and told her she would try to get Conyers to cosponsor.

Before heading home, Jamie made one last stop; her own Representative's office, for the second time. The people in Gerry Connolly's office did remember Jamie, and gladly took an updated Caption Action 2 flyer. Connolly still has not signed on as a cosponsor for the bill, but Jamie is hopeful that between her phone calls, emails, and in-person visits to Connolly's office, that he will sign on.

All in all, a pretty productive day on the Hill. Jamie collected a ton of business cards, and will be updating the Excel spreadsheet of Congress Staff Contacts (download it from the blogroll). Staff contacts are important because it is the staff that reviews the bill, and can influence the Representative. So download the spreadsheet and see if there is a direct email contact for your own Representative's office! It is going to take a few days for Jamie to enter all the new staff contacts she collected today, so keep checking this Excel spreadsheet for updates.

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