The awful HR 620 passed in the House. That bill is bad for our rights. The fight is not over. Now, HR 620 goes to the Senate. The Senate may decide to vote or not vote on it.
Find out which way your Reps voted: https://votesmart.org/bill/votes/62318#.Wo2wZ66nGpo
- “aye” means they supported the awful HR 620 while “nay” means they were against the bill.
VIDEO DESCRIPTION & TRANSCRIPT:
HOWARD: What happened with H.R. 620? The House of Representatives passed the bill. We did not want this to happen. This means that the House of Representatives want HR 620 to become law which will weaken the ADA. We do not want that to happen. Representatives who voted “aye” do not support our rights; it is important that you tell your Representatives you do not support their decision and that you will remember this during their next election. It is also important that you thank your Representatives who voted “nay” against H.R. 620, because that means they support the ADA as is, and they support our rights. H.R. 620 didn’t happen quickly. It was first introduced a year ago. Since the bill’s introduction, the NAD diligently lobbied against the bill, we contacted legislators and asked them not to support this bill. Other disability advocates did the same. The NAD Public Policy Counsel Zainab Alkebsi worked hard in lobbying against H.R. 620 by sending letters, emailing and contacting legislators for months. Recently after this long time, the House of Representatives put the bill to a vote — the NAD reached out to the community with an action alert. Prior to the vote, a lot of work was done behind the scenes.
ON-SCREEN-TEXT: DOES H.R. 620 AFFECT US?
HOWARD: Does H.R. 620 affect deaf people? Yes, very much so. The current language of the bill focuses on architectural buildings for now, but we do require access in this way too. For instance, if we check into a hotel room or enter an office building, we require visual strobe fire alarms — these things are architectural and is a part of our rights in the ADA. H.R. 620 would eliminate our right to have those accesses now, and force us to tell them to add strobe fire alarms after we notice there are none. H.R. 620 means businesses can wait until we tell them first to make such accommodations. Then they have time to make these changes, making us wait. If they don’t do anything, then we can sue. This adds unnecessary time! The ADA has been around for many years and has made these accommodations required already. If HR 620 becomes law, businesses don’t have to do anything until we tell them. Another example of how H.R. 620 affects us is the captions in stadiums. If H.R. 620 becomes law, businesses don’t have to put captions in stadiums until we ask them. In addition, deaf people with other disabilities are greatly affected by this awful bill. Under the current ADA, they have the right to full access just like anyone else. Another reason for us to oppose HR 620 is that legislators may continue to add the language of the bill, and causing more damage to the ADA; we don’t want them to affect our communication rights. We do not want any changes to the ADA because it is good the way it is. Most importantly, we must fight for the ADA and how it protects ALL people with disabilities, even if they’re not deaf. Everyone has a right to access, as a civilian in the United States. Supporting them is supporting ourselves.
ON-SCREEN-TEXT: NOW WHAT?
HOWARD: What happens when the House of Representatives passes a bill? The bill goes to the Senate. The Senate may or may not vote on the bill. If they do consider it for a vote, they’ll add a different number. Or the Senate may decide not to vote on it and the bill dies and does not become law. If the House of Representatives pass a bad bill and sends it to the Senate, we must contact our Senators to let them know we do not want them to vote on that bill and make sure it dies. Each state has two Senators, each of us must contact both Senators from our states to let them know we want that bill dead.
We don’t know when the Senate will decide, the process could take a year, six months, or a month to decide — we don’t know. We must keep an eye on their process. Once the Senate adds the bill with the new number to the floor for a vote, we’ll do another video to alert the community. We will ask you at that time to contact both Senators to let them know we oppose any bill that affects our rights.
In the United States, our rights are important. It is your responsibility to contact your Senators, legislators, and Representatives. Tell them they represent you. These people should pass laws that help you. If your legislators do not support your rights, you should tell them you will vote for someone else. We can’t just wait for action alerts. All year, we must remind our legislators that we want equality. We must make sure they know which bills hurt our rights and which bills advance our rights, as deaf and hard of hearing people. Thank you.