[Nfbwv-talk] Legislative Update from John Pare

Smyth, Charlene R Charlene.R.Smyth at wv.gov
Tue Feb 17 14:36:06 UTC 2015

From: "Pare, John via Nfb-legislative-directors" <nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org<mailto:nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org>>
Date: February 12, 2015 at 10:55:40 AM EST
To: "Nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org<mailto:Nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org>" <Nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org<mailto:Nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org>>
Subject: [Nfb-legislative-directors] LD Update
Reply-To: "Pare, John" <JPare at nfb.org<mailto:JPare at nfb.org>>, NFB Legislative Directors List <nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org<mailto:nfb-legislative-directors at nfbnet.org>>
Hello Legislative Directors:
Thank you to everyone for such a great Washington Seminar! It has been two weeks; here are some important items from the Government Affairs Team:


On Tuesday wepublished the 2015 NFB Washington Seminar Recap video on the NFB's YouTube page. Please share with your members that missed it!


In just the last 14 days, there have been several exciting updates on our legislative priorities.
1)      I'm happy to report, and Rose is thrilled, that the TIME Act (HR 188) is up to 28 cosponsors, 12 of which were just added today! This is a fantastic way to kick off the session, and gives us great leverage for negotiating a Senate companion bill. Be sure to thank the following members: Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Jackie Speier (CA-14) Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Daniel Webster (FL-10), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Sandford Bishop (GA-02), David Young (IA-03), Peter Visclosky (IN-1), Richard Neal (MA-1), Jim McGovern (MA-2), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Fred Upton (MI-06), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), David Price (NC-04), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Peter King (NY-02), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Robert Brady (PA-01), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Tom Marino (PA-10), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Rob Wittman (VA-01), Peter Welch (VT), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Dave Reichert (WA-08) and Cynthia Lummis (WY).

The very day we concluded the Washington Seminar, Lauren and I ran an intense negotiation meeting with the higher education lobbyregarding TEACHpolicy, right in the Holiday Inn Capitol! It was the most productive meeting we have had to date, an outcome driven by the energy you guys gave us throughout the week. Lauren is noticeably reenergized and we're all excited to see where this goes. Thanks to your advocacy, we have heard from several offices eager to see our language, giving us more leverage to close the deal with ACE and hopefully have a bill in the next month.

ScottLaBarre and Laurenrecently attended an informal meeting of stakeholders about the Marrakesh Treaty. It turns out, our advocacy during Washington Seminar was the first time (and only time, as of yet) that anyone had brought the Treaty before members of Congress. Because of your feedback, we were able to gage just how much this was on everyone's radar, which wasn't too much, and then put other stakeholders to work, based on that intel. We expect the ratification package any day now, and will be sure to share whatever information we get as soon as it is received.

New Issue

Something on everyone's mind lately is Social Security. Although that was not a priority at this year's Washington Seminar, we are starting to dive into the issue. The team is working with President Riccobono and other Federation leaders on a strategy to combat proposed cuts to the program, make sure we're at the table for critical reform conversations, and reinvigorate our initiative to improve SSDI work incentives. We plan to mobilize on this very soon, so please standby!

Coordination is key and we always say that advocacy does not stop at the end of Washington Seminar, and your eagerness to connect is the best illustration of just how strong this team of Legislative Directors is.

Action Items

If you haven't already, now is the time to start your follow up. Below this message, but above the contact information list you will find a template thank you letter you can send to your members of Congress. As always, this is just a template-you're encouraged to make your thank you notes as personal as possible. As a reminder, change "Representative" to "Senator" when writing thank you notes to Senators, and don't forget to cc Rose on your emails about TIME, Lauren on your emails about TEACH and Marrakesh, or both so the team can follow up in a few weeks.

Thank you template:

[Office address]
Washington, DC 20515
c/o [name of person met with]
Dear [name of person met with],
This is __________, with the National Federation of the Blind of _______, and I'm writing to follow up regarding our meeting in late January. Several members from the NFB of _______ and I provided informational materials to you pertaining to issues that are important to blind and disabled Americans. Have you had a chance to talk to your boss about these priorities?
We hope we can count on the Representative's support of both of our legislative initiatives. Just as a reminder, they are:
1. The Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act (HR 188)
Passed in 1938, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to pay workers with disabilities subminimum wages. This antiquated provision breeds low expectations and discourages disabled Americans from reaching their full potential. HR 188 will responsibly phase out the use of Section 14(c) Special Wage Certificates over a three year period, ending the era of segregated, subminimum wage work. To cosponsor, please contactScot Malvaney, Policy Director for Congressman Gregg Harper atscot.malvaney at mail.house.gov<mailto:scot.malvaney at mail.house.gov>. Questions can be directed to Rose Sloan, NFB Government Affairs Specialist, at rsloan at nfb.org<mailto:rsloan at nfb.org>.
2. The Technology, Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act
Technology has replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of e-books, courseware, web content, and other technology are inaccessible to students with print disabilities. Preexisting law requires equal access in the classroom but fails to provide direction to schools for how that applies to technology. The TEACH Act creates voluntary accessibility guidelines for educational technology to improve access for blind students, stimulate the market, and reduce litigation for schools. The bill has not been introducedyet, but to become an originating cosponsor, contact John Martin, Legislative Director for Congressman Phil Roe atjohn.martin at mail.house.gov<mailto:john.martin at mail.house.gov>. Questions can be directed to Lauren McLarney, NFB Manager of Government Affairs, at lmclarney at nfb.org<mailto:lmclarney at nfb.org>.
I look forward to hearing what Representative _______ thinks about these issues. The members of the NFB of ________ appreciated the time, professionalism and attention that you paid to the issues we brought before you. We look forward to working with your office to bring our goals to fruition!

John G. Paré Jr.
Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Telephone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2218
Cell phone: (410) 917-1965
Fax: (410) 685-5653
Email:jpare at nfb.org<mailto:jpare 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 live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.
Make a gift<https://nfb.org/make-gift> to the National Federation of the Blind and help ensure all blind Americans live the lives they want.
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