IAD Legislative Chairperson Jason Altmann takes the opportunity to provide updates regarding SB752 in his most recent VLOG.
A transcript is provided below:
Hello! I am Jason Altmann, your Legislative Chairperson.
Many people have asked me about the Senate Bill 752 and its current status. The people are wondering if the bill will continue in the House, if the bill has died, or has put on hold.
Last Friday, Representative Mussman contacted me, IAD Legislative Committee, and IAD President to inform us of her intentions to not carry SB752 to the Human Service Committee’s scheduled meeting which was yesterday.
What does that mean? The bill is placed on hold and it could be left that way until it dies.
The bill could be brought up during the veto session this fall or next legislative session in Winter/Spring 2018. If not, the bill will die.
Here are the reasons behind the decision to put the bill on hold despite the fact that the bill passed unanimously 54-0 in Senate and many Deaf people contacted Senators to become co-sponsors of the bill- Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC) shared a written testimony in opposition of SB752. IDHHC did not agree with the commissioner positions having specific requirements. IDHHC is concerned that the requirements will narrow down the pool of qualified applicants. In reality, IAD Legislative Committee did a thorough analysis of who could fulfill the position qualifications and we felt that there were plenty of qualified applicants for each commissioner position. It is not a concern at all.
Second of all, IDHHC was concerned about the direct service provision because they felt they would have hire more people to fulfill the mandate. In fact, it is not true because if you look at the Director’s job description, number 7, which mentions the Director’s obligation to receive calls regarding to access issues such as lack of interpreting service or ADA issues. The Director is supposed to provide an assistance by providing resources and advocacy such as providing interpreting list to the service provider and educating the Doctor’s office in providing interpreting service for their patients, etc.
The Director has not fulfilled that part of his job description and this is precisely why the 9th mandate was added to the bill.
IRID, Illinois-based interpreting organization, wrote a letter to Senator Morrison expressing some concerns regarding to some portions of SB752. IRID felt that it was not necessary to take a legislative action to address some of the issues involving IDHHC.
Pertaining to Director’s qualifications, IRID felt that it was not necessary to include ASL proficiency as part of the requirements for the Director’s position.
Pertaining to Commissioner positions, IRID felt that it was not necessary to have specific position requirements.
Regarding to the Deaf community concerns, IRID implied that the issues were unique to the past year only due to budget crisis and staff vacancies. In reality, the issues regarding to IDHHC goes way back to 4 to 6 years. All you need to do is look at the past annual reports, state budget reports, and listen to the complaints of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community throughout the state.
What will IAD do now? We will continue to work different groups and solicit their feedbacks on SB752. We also will be soliciting feedbacks from individuals in the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing community as well.
We also plan to develop a better understanding of people’s perspectives on SB752 at the IAD conference next month. We will listen to different perspectives regardless if we may agree or not agree.
That is our goal- to improve the quality of programs and services in Illinois and that is the commitment you have from me as your Legislative Chairperson and my committee as well.
On a last note… this Saturday, the Chicago Black Deaf Advocates will be hosting a Black Lives Matter (BLM) workshop at Whitney Young High School from 1 to 4 pm.
To all Blacks, Caucasians, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, please go to the workshop and show the support for the Black Deaf community. I will be at the workshop and I hope to see you there too!