H.R. 3101 Takes a Step Forward, But Leaves Behind People who are Deaf-Blind
Other Access Issues Progress of the Bill Universal Service
July 2, 2010: COAT Action Alert! Sample Message:”Restore Section 105(b) to
H.R. 3101 – Access to 21st Century Communications by People who are
Background: On June 30, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee
on Communications, Technology, and the Internet considered the “Twenty-first
Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act” (H.R. 3101). Rep. Rick
Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the Subcommittee, offered an “Amendment in the
Nature of a Substitute” (a new H.R. 3101) which replaced the original bill.
The new H.R. 3101 is missing an important provision as a result of the
markup substitute bill. This is the provision for funding for specialized
communications equipment needed by people who are deaf-blind, such as
refreshable Braille devices. That funding authority, up to $10 million per
year, was not included in the new H.R. 3101. The Subcommittee voted
favorably on the new H.R. 3101. However, the bill will be considered next by
the full Committee on Energy and Commerce so there is a still a chance to
restore this provision.Possible funding sources, for up to $10 million per
year, include the Universal Service Fund and the Interstate
Telecommunications Relay Service Fund. These funds were created to ensure
that all Americans have access to the nation’s communications network.
Deaf-blind people cannot afford to buy expensive equipment to help them
access the phone and Internet. For example, the Deaf-Blind Communicator,
which enables deaf-blind people to make telephone calls, access the Internet
and communicate with other people who otherwise could not communicate with
them, costs $8,000 alone.
Although a few states have equipment distribution programs, most do not
distribute equipment that meets the needs of people who are deaf-blind. A
secure and consistent source of funding is needed to assure that the
communication needs of this small, discrete, and unserved population are
met. This community does not have the political presence to ensure annual
appropriations from Congress.
By restoring Section 105(b) to H.R. 3101, approximately 70,000 deaf-blind
people get the specialized equipment needed for them to have
telecommunications services, Internet access, and advanced communications.
Let’s Not Leave People who are Deaf-Blind Behind!Support your friends,
family, and colleagues who are deaf-blind.
Contact House Energy and Commerce Committee members and tell them “I want
Section 105(b) back in H.R. 3101.” Copy and paste as much of the background
information above as you like. Contact information is list below. Here’s
what you can do:
1. Call or fax the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee now
and ask them to put back Section 105(b) in H.R. 3101.
2. If any of these committee members live in your district, please call them
and make appointments with them in person to talk about H.R. 3101. Ask to
talk to their legislative assistants in charge of telecommunications. You
can find their addresses on www.house.gov. Note: this Action Alert is also
attached below as a Word document if you want to download and print and
Call them today! Or deaf-blind people will be left further and further
behind! House Energy and Commerce Committee (in alphabetical order by State)
Parker Griffith (R-AL-5), Tel 202-225-4801; Fax 202-225-4392;
Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-14), Tel 202-225-8104; Fax 202-225-8890; San
Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (6) & Monterey-Salinas (124).
George Radanovich (R-CA-19) Tel 202-225-4540 Voice; Fax 202-225-3402;
Henry Waxman, Chair (D-CA-30); Tel 202-225-3976; Fax 202-225-4099; Agoura
Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Malibu, Santa Monica, Hollywood, West
Hollywood, Westlake Village.
Mary Bono Mack (R-CA-45); Tel 202-225-5330 Voice; Fax 202-225-2961; Los
Angeles (2) & Palm Springs (142).
Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT-5); Tel 202-225-4476. No fax available.
Hartford-New Haven (30) & New York (1).
Cliff Stearns (R-FL-6); Tel 202-225-5744; Fax 202-225-3973; Jacksonville
(47) & Gainesville (160) & Orlando (19).
John Shimkus (R-IL-19); Tel 202-225-5271; Fax 202-225-5880;
Champaign-Springfield-Decatur (84) & St. Louis (21) & Terre Haute (152) &
Cape Girardeau (78) & Evansville (102).
Baron P. Hill (D-IN-9); Tel 202-225-5315 Voice; Fax 202-225-6866; Evansville
(102) & Indianapolis (25) & Cincinnati (33) & Louisville (49).
Charlie Melancon (D-LA-3); Tel 202-225-4031; Fax 202-225-3354; Lafayette
(123) & New Orleans (51) & Baton Rouge (95).
Bart Stupak (D-MI-1); Tel 202-225 4735; Fax 202-225-4744; Duluth-Superior
(139) & Marquette (180) & Green Bay (70) & Traverse City-Cadillac (117) &
Fred Upton (R-MI-6); Tel 202-225-3761; Fax 202-225-4986; Grand
Rapids-Kalamazoo (41) & South Bend-Elkart (91).
Mike Rogers (R-MI-8); Tel 202-225-4872; Fax 202-225-5820; Flint-Saginaw-Bay
City (68) & Detroit (11) & Lansing (115).
Roy Blunt, Deputy Ranking Member (R-MO-7); Tel 202-225-6536; Fax
202-225-5604; Joplin-Pittsburgh (147) & Springfield (74).
Lee Terry (R-NE-2); Tel 202-225-4155;Fax 202-225-5452; Omaha (76).
G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1);Tel 202-225-3101; Fax 202-225-3354;
Greenville-New Bern (103) & Raleigh (26) & Norfolk-Newport News (43).
Robert E. Latta (R-OH-5); Tel 202-225-6405; no fax available yet; Columbus
(34) & Toledo (73) & Cleveland (18) & Dayton (65).
Zachary T. Space (D-OH-18); Tel 202-225-6265; Fax 202-225-3394; Columbus
(34) & Cleveland-Akron (18) & Wheeling-Steubenville (159) &
Bart Gordon (D-TN-6); Tel 202-225-4231; Fax 202-225-6687; Nashville (29).
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7); Tel 202-225-2811; Fax 202-225-3002; Memphis (50)
& Jackson (173) & Nashville (29).
Joe Barton, Ranking Member (R-TX-6); Tel 202-225-2002; Fax 202-225-3052;
Houston (10) & Dallas-Fort Worth (5) & Waco (89) & Tyler-Longview (109).
Rick Boucher (D-VA-9); Tel 202-225-3861; Fax 202-225-0442; Tri-Cities (93) &
Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill (156) & Roanoke-Lynchburg (67) & Greensboro (46).
Peter Welch (D-VT-AL); Tel 202-225-4115 Voice; Fax 202-225-0442;
Burlington-Plattsburg (94) & Boston (6) & Albany Schenectady (57).
How can they leave out deaf-blind people? Contact the commitee today!