nfbmd nfbmd at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 10 15:33:41 UTC 2014

Hello All,


It is time to let Congressman Andy Harris know that he should cosponsor HR
3505, The TEACH Act. We need everyone to send him an email ASAP. Read Lauren
McLarney's message below for suggestions about what to include in the email.
Emails should be sent to Jane Williams at Jane.Williams2 at mail.house.gov
<mailto:Jane.Williams2 at mail.house.gov> . 


Thank you,

Sharon Maneki



From: Nfbnet-members-list [mailto:nfbnet-members-list-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of McLarney, Lauren via Nfbnet-members-list
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2014 9:04 PM
To: nfbnet-members-list at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Nfbnet-members-list] REPUBLICAN BLITZ FOR TEACH ACT


Hi Friends,
Next week, we need everyone to mobilize for the TEACH Act! From Monday
through Friday, we will run a Republican Blitz, where everybody contacts the
Republican members of Congress from their state delegation and urges them to
cosponsor the TEACH Act, H.R. 3505 and S. 2060. The goal is to get a huge
influx of cosponsors. 
This is a pivotal time. The TEACH Act is non-controversial, but the upcoming
elections will limit our opportunities to pass the bill this Congress. We
truly believe this bill has a chance, so we are going to take a real shot at
trying to get this done. Consequently, we're planning an important meeting
with a higher education association to bring the schools on board, and then
plan to meet with the Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee to
explore about our options. We want to go into that meeting with the most
cosponsors as possible, particularly from the majority party. Currently,
H.R. 3505 has forty-two, with fifteen Republicans, twenty-seven Democrats.
If we can get thirteen more Republicans we will be at fifty-five cosponsors
and have an almost-even twenty-eight/twenty-seven breakdown. S. 2060 just
got two new cosponsors, Senators Bennet and Ayotte. We are at an even two
and two (for a total of four) and even though the Democrats are the majority
party in the Senate, we already have a few waiting in the wings. We want to
keep it even and won't send them on until we secure a few more Republicans.
Let's build on this momentum! 
A few things to note:
1)      This is a BLITZ. That means we need lots of people to send lots of
emails, not just one or two people. Even if it's not your member of
Congress, if they are a Republican in your state delegation, email them!
Let's make it a digital version of the Washington Seminar, but just limited
to the Republican offices. 
2)      Send your correspondence to the education staffer. If you don't know
who the education staffer is, just call the office and ask, or shoot me an
3)      Know your audience. Some things are universal to advocacy, like
telling your personal story and explaining what the bill does, but the
points you emphasize to a Democrat might not be the best points to emphasize
to a Republican. For the TEACH Act, it's best to emphasize how the
guidelines are voluntary, that we are trying to help schools better comply
with the law and avoid litigation, which in turn helps blind students, and
that the industry supports the bill. 
4)      Personalize your letters. Offices know a block/form letter when they
see one. I've provided a sample letter below, but please make edits before
sending. If you're from a state where a particular school has faced a
lawsuit related to this, add it in. If another Republican from your state
has cosponsored, mention it. 
5)      Feel free to tweet or call, but in addition to emails rather than as
a substitute. Some sample tweets: "Blind students need access to materials,
help spur the market! Cosponsor the #TEACHAct" or "Blind students are being
left behind and schools are being sued. The #TEACHAct is an easy fix. Will
you cosponsor?" or "When blind students get to college, we need books.
Publishers support the #TEACHAct, do you?" or "Congressman X and Congressman
X have cosponsored the #TEACHAct. Join your delegation!" or even "Support
Mr. Petri before he retires by cosponsoring #TEACHAct, a bill that improves
access for the blind in higher ed!" 
I'll be sending out reminders periodically next week. I hope everyone can
help us reach our goal and we can increase the chances of passing the TEACH
Act. Let's face it, not only is the bill non-controversial, but blind
students cannot afford to wait. Thanks guys!
Sample letter:
Hello [Education Staffer's first name],
I am writing on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of [your
affiliate]. We last met with your office in January to discuss our
legislative agenda, and one of those bills was the Technology, Education and
Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act, H.R. 3505/S.2060.
It has been a few months so I wanted to circle back and ask that
Congressman/Congresswoman [Name] will come on as a cosponsor. The bill is
non-controversial and bipartisan - can we count on [his/her] support?
A quick reminder: Inaccessible educational technology is creating profound
barriers to education for students with disabilities. The TEACH Act
authorizes the creation of voluntary accessibility guidelines for
instructional material so that those materials are usable by students with
print disabilities, and then incentivizes schools to use technology that
conforms to the guidelines with a safe harbor from litigation. The goal of
the guidelines is to facilitate the equal access mandates that require
schools to use accessible materials by stimulating the creation of a viable
digital marketplace. By facilitating the national mandate and the national
market, we can provide equal access for blind students without infringing on
states' rights. This bill is appealing to those on both sides of the aisle,
is endorsed by a major industry group, and is supported by data from a
Congressionally-authorized study. The TEACH Act does not create any new
liability for schools or create any mandates on technology companies, and
reduces costs and litigation while still making systemic change for blind
students. [H.R. 3505/S. 2060] is sponsored by [Tom Petri in the House/our
Republican leader is Orrin Hatch] - will your boss join them as a cosponsor?

Over 160,000 people, many from our state, have signed this petition on
aterials-for-students-with-disabilities , showing widespread support for
this modest approach to a disgraceful problem. Blind students can't afford
to wait, so please let me know if there are questions. For more information,
please visit https://nfb.org/TEACH . Thanks, hope to hear from you!
[Your name]
Lauren McLarney
Government Affairs Specialist
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
410.659.9314 ext. 2207
LMcLarney at nfb.org <mailto:LMcLarney at nfb.org> 

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles
between blind people and our dreams. You can have the life you want;
blindness is not what holds you back.

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