February 1, 2017 Meeting Minutes





DHHCAN Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Gallaudet Alumni House

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


Meeting called to order at 12:35 PM.


Roll Call


Voting Members quorum achieved

  • Claude Stout, TDI
  • Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
  • Tom Dowling, DSA
  • Bernie Palmer, ALDA
  • Art Roehrig, AADB
  • Lise Hamlin, HLAA


Organizational Partners

  • Neal Tucker, RID
  • Ron Sutcliffe, CSD
  • David Bahar, CSD
  • Barbara Raimondo, CEASD
  • Al Sonnenstrahl, ADARA



Sam Jones

Jose Martinez



  • Jayne Tubergen Magneson
  • Jan Nishimura
  • Pat Richey



Approval of Minutes

  • Neal made a motion to amend the November 2, 2016 meeting to capture Representative Tony Coehlo’s remarks more comprehensively. Zainab seconded. Those present unanimously voted aye. Neal will send Zainab language since she was not present.
  • The minutes for the January 4, 2016 meeting stands as read.


Officers’ Reports:


Chair’s Report (Claude)

  • This meeting was the first time we provided lunch to members as a test for future meetings. It was successful so Claude suggests we continue with providing lunch on a regular basis throughout the year but that we start fifteen minutes earlier so that Art can eat first and have his hands free for tactile interpreting.
  • Regarding the cradle to grave document, Claude has not made progress on the to-do list but will contact Megan Perez as discussed at the last meeting.
    • David suggested to Claude that he also send the document to the two co-chairs of the Congressional Deaf Caucus (Rep. Kevin Yoder and Rep. Mark Takano) to share with their members.
    • David was prompted to explain about the Congressional Deaf Caucus, which was formed in 2013 and is made up of Congresspeople in districts with deaf schools. Sonny asked how many deaf people work on the Hill; David responded about 15 in a bipartisan mix.
    • Bernie suggested that we also send the document to Deaf in Government (DIG)’s leader, David Rice. Both David and Claude reported that he already has the document.
  • Claude suggested that we cancel next month’s meeting so that we can all attend CEASD’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Claude asked Barbara to share details about the event:
    • Barbara began by thanking DHHCAN for our support by paying for interpreters.
    • Capitol Hill Advocacy Day is your opportunity to help policy makers in Washington gain a better understanding of the work that you do for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. You will be able to share information with your elected representatives about your position on the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act.
      • Last year, we focused on just our bill. This year, it will be more expansive with so much going on politically, such as the hearings for Secretary of Education and funding issues.
    • It is a day-long event that will be held on March 1. We will start in the briefing room to be briefed by key Congressional staff and national advocates on the issues and on effective advocacy techniques. You will receive a list of talking points as well as tips on how to convey your message in a convincing way, how to answer questions posed to you, and how to optimize your time in your meetings with officials. You will then head off to take part in these meetings. At the end of the day, we will join together at a restaurant to share stories.
  • Claude suggested that we table our vote for new Treasurer to the next meeting in April – we have a possibility in the works.
    • Tom and David explained that they will not be in attendance at the April meeting due to the DSA Conference. A poll was taken of other members present at today’s meeting to ensure that we will have quorum, which was confirmed.


Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)

  • ALDA recently had an election in December. Sharaine Roberts is now the new President. For purposes of the DHHCAN list serv, the ALDA President’s email address has been changed.
  • In regard to Trump’s Executive Order on immigration, it affects some of our students here at Gallaudet. We met to discuss how to address the issue and advised our English Language Institute students not to leave the country. They are stuck here for spring break.


Secretary’s Report (Zainab)

  • The January minutes have been approved. Zainab will amend the November minutes as soon as she receives language from Neal. She will continue to update the DHHCAN website with the minutes.


Treasurer’s Report (Tom)

  • Our current balance in our BB&T checking account is $24,8/82.04 as of February 1, 2017. Today’s bank statement has been copied from the website and handed to the DHHCAN Secretary.
    • Claude explained that today’s lunch was just under $200. Assuming nine meetings per year (minus the March meeting), that would be a total of $1,800 for regular lunches. We are using the membership dues more and more.
  • We received nine payments from AADB, ALDA, DSA, GUAA, NAD, CSD, RID, TDI, and HLAA.
  • Membership dues for three remaining members/partners are still pending from AGB, ADARA, and CEASD.
  • We have seven regular members and two organizational partners in good standing after the dues.


Committee Reports

  • Employment (David Bahar):
    • Nothing new to report. It is a waiting game right now.
  • Health Care (Lise Hamlin):
    • We are working on an initiative to see cheaper over-the-counter hearing aids and also working on removing the requirement to see your audiologist first. As a result, more companies will sell hearing aids and will consult directly with consumers.
    • Bernie shared his concerns regarding if ACA is repealed, there will not be access to coverage for people with hearing loss. He asked Lise if she has any statistics about that. She responded that there are no statistics but in many states, ACA does not pay for coverage for adults.
    • Bernie also asked about the potential impact on the cost of cochlear implant batteries. Lise agreed that it is an important point and it will have a serious impact on the deaf and hard of hearing community.
    • Sonny added that he saw a commercial on television for Miracle Ear and it was not captioned, which was ironic. He asked Lise if he can encourage Miracle Ear to be accessible. Lise responded that not enough companies reach out and consult with consumer organizations to ensure that they are doing the right thing. They sell directly to audiologists, not to the consumers. Now industry is starting to reach out for more input. We are also hoping for more different price levels for different needs.
  • Transportation (Lise Hamlin):
    • Lise has nothing to report and asked Zainab if she had anything to share. Zainab shared that the CDL waiver program has grown from the first 40 deaf and hard of hearing drivers to now 400 and the number continues to grow. They are working on removing the hearing test requirement altogether and they have submitted a Petition to the DOT on that score, which is still pending.
    • Zainab also added that the subcommittee on accessible cabin announcements, the first meeting will hopefully be held soon.
  • Education (Barbara Raimondo):
    • Betsy DeVos is Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education but during her confirmation hearing, many issues came up, especially regarding IDEA. The HELP committee voted her through and it is now before the full Senate. Many folks have been calling their Senators to oppose her confirmation but she is likely to be confirmed. Unfortunately, she has no experience.
      • Sonny added that Trump wants to close the Federal Department of Education and feels that it should be left to the states.
      • Barbara added that the HELP committee called for questions from the community. Thousands were sent in but one of them was about the shared concern of signing away their rights as parents if children go to charter schools.
  • Civil Rights Protection and Enforcement (Zainab Alkebsi):
    • We do not yet know if Trump will keep the Disability Liaison position or not. We are keeping our eye on that.
    • The ADA notification bill was re-introduced in the House (HR 620). We are opposed to this bill for the same reasons as last year and we have a tough fight ahead of us.
    • The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an NPRM on Section 504 and Consumer Groups will file comments on communication-related sections.
      • Sonny added that Bob Mather will retire from the DOJ in a few months , which means we will not have a deaf attorney at the DOJ. There will be no strong “voice” there for our community. The FCC has the DRO with deaf lawyers. The DOJ should consider setting up a separate office for Communications specifically. The Governance committee at NAD is looking into this and Sonny is on that committee.
      • Sonny asked Zainab about Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Niel Gorsuch. Zainab explained that although he does not have a history of decisions on communications specifically, a group of disability-rights lawyers explored his record on past disability cases in general and, based on his decisions and rationale, are concerned that he is not a good choice for disability rights.
  • Telecommunications (Claude Stout):
    • The new Chairman of the FCC is Ajit Pai. There are now three Commissioners: Pai, Clyburn, and O’Rielly. There have not yet been any nominations for the remaining seats.
    • The Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) was re-chartered for two more years. Lise is now co-chair.
    • Zainab has now become DHHCAN’s representative on the re-chartered Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC).
      • Zainab gave an update from the first meeting. Chairman Pai made one of his first public remarks at that meeting. He sat at the table with all the members and had each of us introduce ourselves so that he could get to know the Committee. In his remarks, he outlined his digital empowerment agenda, particularly proposed measures to incentivize building out broadband in rural areas. Even though it was not mentioned during the remarks, one obvious impact is that such measures would increase access to VP (and other IP-based services) for deaf and hard of hearing people living in rural areas. While the overall goal would have a good impact on them, the devil is in the details.
    • Claude added that there is not much action right now at the FCC because of the holding pattern they are in.


There were no reports for Housing due to absent members.

Old Business

  • A motion was made to continue regular lunch meetings, which was approved. Neal will circulate a list of potential caterers and will take a poll on which one to use for the next lunch. Please share your dietary restrictions.


New Business

  •  None



  • None


Next Meeting Date

  • Wednesday, April 5, at Gallaudet Alumni House.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:04 pm.


Submitted by

Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary