Today the National Association of the Deaf posted about the markup of HR 3101. One sentence caught our eye:
For example, advocacy efforts will be needed to recover the section in H.R. 3101 which provided funding for specialized communications equipment needed by people who are deaf-blind, such as refreshable Braille devices. That section was not included in the new H.R. 3101.
What? This means that there is now NOTHING in HR 3101 for deaf-blind people. Before, there was something:
(3) ANNUAL AMOUNT- The total amount of universal service support that may be obligated or expended under this subsection for any fiscal year may not exceed $10,000,000
To see for yourself the difference(s), compare Old_HR3101.pdf and New_HR3101.pdf (both are on the blogroll).
How much does a refreshable Braille device cost? We checked the manufacturers' websites. On the HumanWare site, we found products, but no prices. Customers have to contact the company to get prices. There was a price on the site of Freedom Scientific: almost $4,000. On Amazon.com, there was an Alva braille display costing "only" about $6,300. The least expensive one we found was the Seika braille display, costing about $2,500.
If you are deaf-blind, it is not too late. The bill has another markup to go through before it reaches the full House floor. If the deaf-blind community wants to get this provision restored in the final version of HR 3101, it has to get active and put pressure on Energy and Commerce Committee members.
Join Caption Action 2 on Facebook!