Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cosponsor #26 for HR 3101!

Today we learned that Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) has signed on to HR 3101! Now we have 26 cosponsors for HR 3101, all Democratic though. We STILL need a Republican.

How did Bob Filner come to sign on to HR 3101? Caption Action 2 tracks cosponsors for two other bills in Congress that also benefit deaf and hard of hearing people: the Hearing Aid Tax Credit (HR 1646) and the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act (HR 3024). Filner recently signed on to HR 3024, so Jamie called Filner's office to speak to his legislative director about HR 3101. That call was yesterday. Today, Jamie got an email from Filner's office informing her he would be cosponsoring HR 3101 too.

If Jamie can do it, so can you. So let's hit the phones and make those calls! Send those emails as well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Michigan Deaf Association Supports HR3101

Please welcome for today, our guest blogger Tamara "Tami" Davidson. Tami writes:

Yesterday I found out that congressman Gary Peters (D-9) who represents Oakland County, Michigan may be asked by his legislative assistant to look into HR 3101 with hopes he may co-sponsor the bill within two weeks.

Because I am not a resident of Oakland County, I contacted a few organizations located in or near that area, asking them to tell the residents of Oakland County to email the office of Rep. Gary Peters and encourage him to look at the bill.

Today, I received an email from Scot A. Pott, President of Michigan Deaf Association, Inc. (statewide organization for, of and by Deaf People.) His reply was:

I am more than happy to send a letter and let them know that MDA is endorsing the bill, HR 3101.

This copy is being sent to MDA Executive Board members.

Scot A Pott
MDA President

The email is cc'ed to other staff members. One of them replied and said in part: "Why should we wait that long? MDA should join to support it, too."

Well, this is kind of unexpected, but [I am] delighted to know that MDA is endorsing the bill HR 3101.

***

Note from Caption Action 2;

What is your local deaf organization doing to support HR 3101? Tell us!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Action Alert! Contact Rep. Zack Space's Office!

We have a chance to get a subcommittee member's support! This is the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Today Caption Action 2 got an email from Jillian Carroll (jillian.carroll@mail.house.gov) in Ohio Representative Zack Space (D-18)'s office. Carroll wrote: "I just spoke to Mark [Mark Bayer in Ed Markey's office] and let him know that we were taking a look at cosponsoring the bill."

We need people to call Rep. Zack Space's office and *ASK*, not demand, that he cosponsor HR 3101. He can be contacted at these numbers:

DC office (202) 225-6265
Ohio offices: (330) 364-4300, (740) 452-6338, (740) 779-1636

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Representative #25 Signs on to HR 3101!

Today, #25 signed on not long after #24. Caption Action 2 had email confirmation this evening from the office of Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA). The email stated that they had emailed Markey's office and asked that McGovern be added as a cosponsor of HR 3101! McGovern had been a cosponsor last year of the previous failed version of HR 3101. Welcome back, McGovern!

Caption Action 2 is discovering that phone calls work better than emails. Caption Action 2 had emailed McGovern's office in September, and again in October, but what worked was the phone call! Jamie suspects that emails often get overlooked, staffers are swamped with emails, or in some cases, the emails even get shifted into the spam folder. So hit those phones - calling your representative works!

Former Cosponsor Becomes 24th Cosponsor!

Caption Action 2 just got confirmation that Massachusetts Representative Michael Capuano (D-8) just became HR 3101's 24th cosponsor! He was a previous cosponsor of the captioning bill that died last year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meet Our 12,000th Member!

Recently, Chris became our 12,000th member on the Facebook cause Caption Action 2. We interviewed Chris about his membership:

Q: Why did you join Caption Action 2?

A: I joined because I want to show my support for HR 3101. I was reluctant at first because I dislike Facebook and use it rarely. However seeing the opportunity to be the 12,000th person to sign on made me look past the Facebook factor.

I think its important that we not only make our voices heard but show our numbers as well. In the hearing world people who are deaf are often viewed as "one of them", the kind of people you only see on TV. In my experience we're certainly treated like we don't exist.

I think it's wonderful that 12,000+ people are in support of Caption Action 2, consider how many more people are out there that don't use social networking, are unaware of HR 3101, or simply choose other channels to express their support.

Q: Are you deaf? (Many Caption Action 2 supporters are hearing people)

A: Yes, I'm deaf. My progressive hearing loss was first discovered about 16 years ago, I've been using the "deaf" label for about the last two years.

Q: What does HR 3101 mean to you?

A: HR 3101 will help keep movies and TV available to the hearing or sight impaired. Since the last time we've had legislation like this, laws and regulations have fallen terribly behind the technology. The industry has proven that it will not provide captions or descriptive audio unless forced.

Q: Have you written to your Representative yet?

A: No (Caption Action 2 provided Chris with the link to the Congress contact list, on the blogroll)

Q: Do you have any previous captioning advocacy experience?

A: No, aside from customer service complaints to Disney and Netflix et al. I have no previous activism experience.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: The technology required for HR 3101 exists right now. In fact it has existed for years. Are you aware that movie pirates can see American movies with Romanian subtitles before I can see the same movie with English subtitles?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Help Rescue HR 3101! Put These Buttons On Your Site!

Bloggers and webmasters in the deaf and hard of hearing community, here are two wonderful buttons designed by Tamara Davidson. Please help us get Rick Boucher to move the HR 3101 bill, and get John Kerry to introduce the Senate version, by putting these buttons on your blog or website. Right-click and save the buttons to your hard drive under any file name you want (we suggest boucher_button.jpg and kerry_button.jpg). Link the Boucher button to http://boucher.house.gov/, and the Kerry button to http://kerry.senate.gov/. Under each button, you could optionally link to the HR 3101 Fact sheet: either web or PDF.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Two Men Now Control Access to the Internet for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Two men!

Two men have the power to get HR 3101 - and its future Senate equivalent - passed or kill it.

Who are they?

Virginia Representative Rick Boucher (D-9th)








AND Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (Democratic).





Why do they have this much power? Why is it that these two men have the power to move HR 3101 (and a future Senate equivalent) no matter how many cosponsors we get?

They have this power because:

a. Rep. Rick Boucher is the chairperson of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology & the Internet.
b. Sen. John Kerry is the chairperson of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.

We, the deaf and hard of hearing community, must push Rick Boucher to bring HR 3101 to the Subcommittee for a vote. We ESPECIALLY need for people who live in the area that Boucher represents, to push Boucher. Plus we must get John Kerry to introduce an exact mirror version of HR 3101 in the Senate. The best person to introduce a bill in the Senate is the person who chairs the commitee that would handle the bill, because the chair usually expedites (speeds up) votes on their own bills, and that person is Kerry!

ANOTHER problem that we have is that so far, NONE of the 23 cosponsors HR 3101 has are from the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, & the Internet. Without any support from within the Subcommittee, there is NO ONE to push Boucher to bring HR 3101 to the floor.

What can you do about these two men? If Boucher is your representative, contact his office to insist that he bring the HR 3101 bill to the floor. If you know anyone - family, friends, long-lost cousins - who live in his area, please let them know about HR 3101. It is CRITICAL that you network, network - ask around Facebook, on Twitter, through email and VP, if anyone knows anyone who lives in Boucher's area. We live in a world where social networking empowers us. Let's use the power of social networking to get Rick Boucher to bring the bill to the floor for a vote!

If you do not live in his area and do not know anyone living in his area, go ahead and contact his office anyway. He is less likely to listen to people not from his area, BUT if enough of us contact him, he may listen.

We must not let these two men deny us equal access to the Internet.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Congratulations to New Jersey and Minnesota

Right after we sent out the December Caption Action 2 newsletter to Facebook members, we discovered three more representatives have signed on to HR 3101! New cosponsors for HR 3101 are:

New Jersey

Representative Steven Rothman (D-9)

Minnesota

Representative Collin Peterson (D-7)
Representative Betty McCollum (D-4)

Now we have 23 cosponsors for HR 3101 - all Democratic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Caption Action 2 at 12,000!

Tonight Caption Action 2 reached a total of 12,000 members on Facebook, and we are still growing. However, the clock is really starting to tick now. Take a look at that number to the right; it is less than 400 now. We have just a few weeks before Congress breaks for the Christmas holiday, and they do not return to work until after the New Year. After that, we have only one year, minus weekends and holidays, to get HR 3101 passed. So the pressure is on, folks.

Now that we have reached 12,000 the Caption Action 2 flyer has been updated. Download it from the Blogroll on the right side of this page. Here's an idea; print the flyer and pass it around at the holiday parties you are going to this year. Not everyone is on Facebook, or Twitter, or reads blogs. We need YOUR help to reach those deaf and hard of hearing people and their families who are not aware of HR 3101.