by Tony Stephens
The second session of the 114th Congress is in full swing, and it is imperative that we do not lose momentum following our advocacy gained after last year’s legislative seminar.
The issues for this year’s seminar were built upon our work during the first session of the 114th Congress. They included:
- Passage of the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act (H.R. 729);
- Passage of the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535); and
- Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.
These three issues continue to be vital pathways to opportunity and independence for people who are blind. Therefore, it is vital that our message be heard loud and clear through the halls of Congress.
In addition to these three top-priority issues, the legislative seminar also updated participants on other key concerns in Washington that impact Americans with vision loss. This included issues such as the recent determination by the Department of Justice to forego rule-making for web accessibility requirements under Title III of the ADA; full implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA); awaiting the final Department of Education regulations under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); and safeguarding benefits for SSDI recipients.
As the Obama administration moves into its final year, and Congress prepares for what will be a monumental election season, it is crucial that our voice not be drowned out by the noise of what will surely be a busy political season. By echoing our message from last year, we will strengthen our voice, moving our collective agenda forward.
Since joining ACB’s national office in January, I have been impressed and humbled each day by the level of dedication and passion that lives throughout our organization. Your commitment manifests itself as the head, the hands and the heart of our movement, and I look forward to meeting many of you.
Updated fact sheets from this year’s legislative seminar, along with the agenda and report-back forms, are available on www.acb.org. Don’t hesitate to call our national office, or e-mail me directly (email@example.com), with any questions or concerns.