January 6, 2016 Meeting Minutes





DHHCAN Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Gallaudet Alumni House

(Thanks to GUAA for their generous support of the DHHCAN meeting space)


Meeting called to order at 12:20 PM.


Roll Call


Voting Members

  • Claude Stout, TDI
  • Tom Dowling, DSA
  • Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
  • Art Roehrig, AADB
  • Mary Lynn Lally, GUAA


Organizational Partners

  • Julie Schafer, RID
  • Ron Sutcliffe, CSD



Neal Tucker, new hire at RID



  • Jayne Tubergen Magneson
  • Jan Nishimura
  • Pat Richey



Approval of Minutes


  • The minutes for the November 4, 2015 meeting were approved as read (motion made by Art Roehrig, seconded by Tom Dowling).



Officer’s Reports


Chair’s Report

  • Official welcome and congratulations to Zainab Alkebsi, new treasurer.
  • Bernie Palmer, new Vice Chair, was not present so official welcome and congratulations will take place at the next meeting.
  • The new Gallaudet President, Bobbi Cordano, hopes to be able to visit at our next meeting on February 3. She was originally going to visit this January meeting but is in Florida at the moment.
  • Ms. Delores Scott, an official with D.C. Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency, is interested in visiting our meeting on March 3 (our third meeting of the year) to pick our brains on how her office can do a better job for D.C. residents.
  • Eight years ago, there was collaboration between nine different non-profit organizations (including TDI, NAD, CASADHH, and others) to draft 46 or 47 recommendations for President Obama’s transition team. It encompassed seven or eight different categories, such as education, employment, telecommunications, human services, and so forth. However, the coalition did not do a thorough job of following up after submitting the recommendations. We should draft recommendations again for this election cycle and follow-up thoroughly afterwards every step of the way. We need to get this done during the primaries before each party’s platform is determined at their respective conventions in the summer. The earlier in the process we submit our recommendations, the better. It will be important to communicate with both parties. Claude will email us the 2008 recommendations so that we can review them.
  • One other lesson learned from the last election is to be proactive and meet early with the presidential appointees (e.g. FCC).


Vice Chair’s Report

  • No report (Bernie Palmer was absent).


Secretary’s Report

  • No report – Secretary is new.


Treasurer’s Report

  • Current Balance in BB&T Checking Account (1/6/16): $26,129.04
  • Last October, the Treasurer sent membership dues letters to 9 regular members and 4 organizational partners.
  • We have 8 regular members and 3 organizational partners in good standing: AFB, AADB, ALDA, DSA, GUAA, HLAA, NAD, TDI, CSD, CEASD, RID).
  • Membership dues for 2 remaining members are still pending (ADARA, ASDC).


Committee Reports


Technology/ Relay Services (Acting Chair-Claude Stout with some additional reporting from Zainab)


Claude covered some activities that took place during November – December 2015 in this Subcommittee area:


  • The Consumer Groups filed comments on the FCC’s NPRM in regards to VRS. Part 1 had to do with rates while Part 2 had to do with service improvements.
    • Rates: The Consumer Groups are very concerned with the decreasing quality we are seeing. We have no access to VRS providers’ financials so all we can say is to compensate them sufficiently to ensure quality. We don’t know if they are being compensated sufficiently or not. Instead of continuing to cut the rates, the rates should be tied to quality levels/standards.
    • SoA: The FCC proposes to increase the speed of answer benchmark to 80% of all VRS calls be answered within 45 seconds, measured on a monthly basis. We support this proposal to strengthen the speed of answer standard because it is an improvement over the current standard, which is 2 minutes.
    • Skills-Based Routing: We support an eight-month (or longer) trial of skills-based routing for specific call subject areas (e.g. medicine, law, or technology). We recommended that the Commission leave it to the providers to define the skills subject to special routing during the trial period as long as they offer a minimum of two skills-based options at their discretion.
    • CDIs: We support the use of and compensation of Deaf Interpreters on VRS calls as an integral component to achieving functional equivalency due to the shared cultural experience.
    • At-Home Interpreting: If CAs are permitted to work at home, we recommended that substantial safeguards be imposed to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of calls.
    • Assigning 10-digit iTRS numbers to hearing individuals:  We urged the FCC to implement this proposal as it would allow us to communicate directly with hearing people who can use ASL, such as Julie and Neal, and conserve the resources of the TRS Fund.


  • As an update from the electronic newsroom technique (ENT) issue that we explained at the last meeting, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) continues to support enhanced ENT while the Consumer Groups are resistant as it means lower quality for deaf residents outside the top 25 markets. As mentioned at the last meeting, the consumer survey on ENT showed dissatisfaction with ENT quality, which strengthened our points. We cannot support what the NAB is saying; we hope the FCC will consider our perspective as we filed our own report instead of joining the NAB for its report to the FCC.


  • On November 9, Zainab, Lise and Claude took part with others in ex parte meetings with the five Commissioner offices at the FCC on user interfaces. We were extremely pleased that the Commission agreed to clarify its rules regarding when voice control is the sole means of activation for closed captioning; it will no longer be considered as “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon” as it would have posed significant difficulty for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. However, we still have work left to do on gesture control. There is also a NPRM pending in regards to our proposal to make captioning settings accessible from the first level of the menu instead of buried deep in the menu.


  • On January 12, Zainab, Lise, Claude, and others will participate in ex parte meetings on responsibility/certification.


  • We will also be filing comments on WEA improvements (due January 13th) and VPs in prisons (due January 19th).


  • The NAD-DSA joint task force has been meeting regularly and is in the process of finalizing its guidelines to submit to the NAD Board before the conference.



  • No report (Alfred Sonnenstrahl was absent).
  • Mary Lynn Lally pointed out a concern with him chairing the Employment committee since he is the ADARA representative, which has yet to pay its dues. Claude acknowledged that is a valid point and will draft an email to ADARA.



  • No report (Barbara Raimondo was absent).


Hearing Health

  • No report (Lise Hamlin was absent).


Old Business

  • None.


New Business


  • For President Cordano’s visit, we should be prepared with our goals for 2016:
    • Recommendations for the presidential candidates (see last part of Chair’s report)
    • Gallaudet should get involved with deaf education issues around the U.S.
    • Cradle to grave plan (we can use the presidential recommendations as a base for this).
  • It was decided that we would not do a retreat this year, especially with giving up our Saturdays and paying extra for interpreters. Instead, Tom proposed using the next 3 to 4 meetings to work on the presidential recommendations (as a substitute for the retreat). Everyone agreed. Carried.




  • None.



Next Meeting Date

  • Wednesday, February 3 at Gallaudet Alumni House.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1:47 pm.


Submitted by

Zainab Alkebsi