DHHCAN Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Gallaudet Alumni House
(Thanks to GUAA for their generous support of the DHHCAN meeting space.)
Meeting called to order at 12:40 PM.
Voting Members– quorum achieved
- Claude Stout, TDI
- Tayler Mayer, TDI
- Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
- Bernie Palmer, ALDA
- Marcia Zisman, GUAA
- Art Roehrig, AADB
- Al Sonnenstrahl, DSA
- Neal Tucker, RID
- Barbara Raimondo, CEASD
- Caroline Pezzarossi, ADARA
Michele Mulligan, CPADO
- Jayne Tubergen Magneson
- Jan Nishimura
- Pat Richey
Approval of Minutes
- There were two corrections to the minutes (one to reflect an additional guest name and the other to add in a clarification for Sandra’s response to a question.)
- The minutes for theNovember 2017 meeting stands as amended.
- Claude sent a follow-up email to Taylor Hahn, Claire Viall, and Megan Perez from the Hill regarding our invitation to them to join one of our meetings discuss employment issues and how to move forward with the cradle-to-grave document. Only Claire Viall responded back but unfortunately could not join today’s meeting. She suggested February or March instead. Claude followed up with the other two to see if that would work for them as well but no update yet. The new Chair will follow up on this.
- As elections will take place later in this meeting, Claude took a moment to thank all of the members for their hard work in DHHCAN. He said everyone has been so wonderful to work with for the past 20 years. DHHCAN is important because each organization does different work and we learn a lot about each other’s work. Claude noted he is confident the group will fare well with the new Officers and added he will still attend meetings as often as he can. Tayler will be the voting member but he will gladly observe from the back and provide input from time to time.
Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)
- No formal report but noted that he is very concerned about net neutrality and its impact on the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Secretary’s Report (Zainab)
- The minutes have been approved.
- Zainab will continue to post all remaining approved 2017 meeting minutes thus far to the DHHCAN website.
- Zainab added that it has been wonderful serving as DHHCAN’s Secretary.
Treasurer’s Report (Sonny)
- He collected dues totaling $2,500 from DSA, GUAA, NAD, TDI, ADARA, CSD, and RID. The rest have yet to pay their dues.
- As of November 30, our balance is $23,323.82.
- Sonny added that he feels we should be more careful with our expenses. Interpreter expenses are fine but lunch expenses should be reduced. Last month was really high and we need some sort of cap on lunch.
- Neal clarified that last month’s lunch was unusually high because it was a special meeting with special guests and more people. So that is not the norm. Today’s lunch cost about $200.
- Sonny responded that still we could be spending that money other ways.
- Claude added that we started providing lunch about a year ago because members were paying dues but a lot of money was left over, unused. Some members may wonder why even pay dues then? So this was a way of using those funds, especially since the meeting is during lunchtime.
- Neal also clarified that he does not take leftovers home. He donates it to a non-profit.
- Also, regarding our website, he asked – how many hits do we have?
- Tayler responded that he does not have the exact numbers but it is low. However, that is how we make the minutes available for the public to peruse.
- Sonny suggested that we add advertisements to our website for some additional income. See “New Business” section for more on this.
- Claude suggested discussing this with the new Officers.
- Civil Rights Protection and Enforcement (Zainab Alkebsi):
- As a refresher, Zainab again summarized the concept of H.R. 620 and HR 3571 (which is broader in that it covers all of Title III), both of which we have reported on at previous meetings. Both bills would create significant obstacles to enforcing our rights under the ADA.
- It would require a person with a disability who encounters an access barrier to send a written notice to the business and give the business owner 60 days to even acknowledge the issue and then another 120 days to begin to fix it. And even then, the language says “substantial progress,” which could lead to an endless cycle of partial remedies instead of actual elimination of the barrier in question.
- Instead of complying with the 27-year- old ADA, businesses would wait until they receivednotice from anyone before trying to make their business partially accessible. The burden would no longer be on the business but on the consumer.
- Proponents of this bill have raised concerns about “drive-by lawsuits” with serial plaintiffs seeking money damage awards. But that has nothing to do with the ADA because the ADA does not allow money damages. Instead, monetary damages are only available under a handful of state laws.
- Because of these misconceptions, this bill is gaining steam with both Republican and Democratic sponsors. The NAD has sent several letters to many Democratic sponsors asking them to remove their name from the sponsor list. Also, on November 29, the NAD co-hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with other disability advocacy organizations. There was a wonderful panel moderated by former Rep. Tony Coehlo. A good number of aides from Congressional offices were in attendance and we are hoping we got through to them.
- Please continue contacting your legislators ahead of the full floor vote!
- Education (Barbara Raimondo):
- Good news about the Cogswell-Macy Act! As of November 7, we now have two Republican co-sponsors in the Senate! (Senator Markey, MA, and Senator Capito, WV).
- We are aware of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind situation (their Supt. was fired.) The CFO is now in charge but no permanent replacement yet. Despite all of this, there are good things still happening there, such as they received funds to renovate the grounds.
- November 15 was our Call to Action Day. It netted us three more House co-sponsors.
- We still have our February 27-28 events as described in previous minutes. We will share details soon.
- President Trump nominated Johnny Collett from Kentucky to be the new Assistant Secretary of Education for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. His confirmation hearing was yesterday and we do not foresee any concerns.
- Housing (Sonny):
- Nothing to report.
- Telecommunications (Claude Stout):
- On November 13, Consumer Groups filed reply comments to the FCC on its proposal to streamline formal complaint procedures, including those for Disability Access Complaints. In short, some commenters included proposals that would make the formal complaint process more burdensome for complainants or delay the resolution of the complaints. Our reply opposes the Commission adopting those proposals, at least for disability access complaints.
- Lise, with Claude participating by phone, had meetings with FCC Commissioners to ask the FCC to continue its rules on reporting requirements for non-Tier 1 providers to report on their compliance with HAC regulations with the phones they sell in the market. HLAA then followed up with comments and reply comments on the issue, elaborating on why we do not want the FCC to change their current practice – with TDI, NAD, and DHHCAN as signatories.
- Transportation (Zainab):
- The next meeting for the Cabin Announcements Task Force keeps getting rescheduled due to conflicts and we are working on figuring out the demo issues so nothing new to report yet.
There were no reports for Employment or Health Care due to absent chairs.
- DHHCAN 25th Anniversary celebration planning:
- Zainab moved that we form a Planning Committee. Neal seconded. Sonny moved to close discussion. All voted in favor.
- Sonny further moved that the new Chair be authorized to appoint the Chair of the Planning Committee. Zainab seconded. All voted in favor.
- Based on the earlier discussion, Sonny moved that the new Chair create a Website Committee (to make the website more attractive to garner more hits to be able to put in advertisements that could net income) and have the new Chair appoint a Chair of the new Website Committee. Zainab seconded. All voted in favor.
- Elections for new Officers:
- Nominations stand as follows:
- Chair: Zainab
- Vice Chair: Bernie
- Secretary: Tayler (through discussions in between meetings)
- Treasurer: Sonny (was not present at the meeting but accepted via email).
- Vote Result: All voted in favor for each nominee.
- Zainab thanked everyone and added that she will establish monthly calls with the new Officers. She also asked the members to please email her before the holidays if they are interested in joining either or both of the new Committees.
- Nominations stand as follows:
Next Meeting Date
- Wednesday, January 3at Gallaudet Alumni House.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1:45 pm with thanks to Neal for coordinating lunch.
Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary