2022 Issues Training Video

Below is the training video and the transcript of our 2022 Washington Seminar Issues.

The Training Video

Transcript

00:00:00:09 - 00:00:29:19
John Pare
Hello, Federation family, this is John Pare, and this is our 2022 Washington seminar issue review. Washington Seminar is coming up in just a few weeks. It will begin on Monday, February 7th. Don't forget that we have The Great Gathering-In in Monday, February 7th, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and then we'll be having our meetings the next Tuesday, Wednesday

00:00:29:19 - 00:00:48:07
John Pare
and Thursday all virtually. And I'm very excited about the four issues we have to talk to you today. So let's get right to it. Let's get to our first issue with Jeff Kaloc. Jeff's going to talk about the Access Technology Affordability Act. And here's Jeff. 

00:00:48:07 - 00:01:04:21
Jeff Kaloc:
Oh, yes. We're going to talk about the Access Technology Affordability Act and the bill number will be H.R. 431 in the House and S 212 in the Senate. Let's first begin with the issue at hand, the issue at hand.

00:01:05:21 - 00:01:26:16
Jeff Kaloc
Is that the unemployment and underemployment rate stands at nearly 70%, we're looking at ways to get that figure down. And one of the main obstacles that many blind Americans face is the high cost of access technology. As many of you know, many of these devices range anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000.

00:01:28:06 - 00:01:48:16
Jeff Kaloc
With many of them being on the higher end of that scale. So what this bill would do, what the Access Technology Affordability Act would do is provide a $2,000 refundable tax credit over the course of three years and for the purposes of access technology.

00:01:49:00 - 00:02:07:05
Jeff Kaloc
Now the bill itself would sunset after five years. And the reason we like the refundable tax credit is it allows the individual to use what works best for them. Everyone has their own goals, careers and objectives, and we believe that the individual know what will and what won't work for them.

00:02:08:05 - 00:02:35:19
Jeff Kaloc 
The bill has received bipartisan support in the House. We have 116 co-sponsors in the Senate. We have received 33 co-sponsors, but with the - with the tax credit and the goal of lowering the unemployment and underemployment rate. We believe that this bill will be beneficial in many ways.

00:02:36:13 - 00:02:59:03
Unknown
One As it gets people back to work, it will be growing the, the tax base that individuals be paying in as they go back to work, as well as it will also reduce the need of some of the federal services that many individuals may be utilizing as they go back to work as well.

00:02:59:21 - 00:03:22:18
Jeff Kaloc
But we think this is a pretty straightforward piece of legislation that will that, will be advantageous for both blind Americans as well as the federal government. And John, I'll, I'll take it back to you. 

00:03:15:01 - 00:03:40:20
John Pare
That was great, yeah, and I agree this, this is a jobs bill to help put our blind Americans to work. And by doing so will help, help it pay for itself because people will be paying into federal income tax instead of using Social Security, they'll be paying into Social Security. So it's and I think that's why we have so many co-sponsors.

00:03:41:05 - 00:04:04:20
John Pare
And if we really look forward to increasing the co-sponsor count at Washington Seminar. All right, our next bill also helps create independence and success for blind people, this being in the health area and Jesa is going to talk about The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act.

00:04:04:21 - 00:04:26:09
Jesa Medders
All right. Hi, everyone. So this is a medical device, Non-visual Accessibility Act H.R. 4853. So the issue is that inaccessible digital interfaces are preventing blind individuals from independently and safely operating medical devices that are essential to their daily health care needs.

00:04:27:05 - 00:04:45:08
Jesa Medders
So medical devices with a digital interface are becoming more prevalent and therefore less accessible for blind Americans. Most new models of medical devices, such as glucose and blood pressure monitors, along with the emergence of other devices such as chemotherapy treatments and dialysis.

00:04:45:20 - 00:05:07:11
Jesa Medders
These devices are readily requiring consumers to interact with a digital display and therefore it's not accessible. And as we know, in our current health crisis, telehealth currently makes up 20% of all medical devices, and more health care providers are looking to expand that number and expand their telemedicine services.

00:05:07:23 - 00:05:30:03
Jesa Medders
And unfortunately, these visits do assume that a person has easy access to accessible medical devices, order to take their own vitals to even have the doctor's appointment move forward. But as a result of inaccessibility, blind and low vision Americans are at a distinct advantage when it comes to receiving the same health care as their sighted counterparts and

00:05:30:03 - 00:06:00:00
Unknown
having agency over their own health. Non-visual access is achievable. It's been demonstrated by a number of mainstream products. Apple has incorporated voiceover as well as MacBooks, Mac desktops, as well as virtually all ATMs manufactured in the United States are accessible because these manufacturers incorporate accessibility in the design phase, and unfortunately, current disability laws are not able

00:06:00:00 - 00:06:18:02
Jesa Medders
to keep up with advancements in technology. Although we do have the ADA, unfortunately there are no laws that currently protect the blind consumer's right to access medical devices. And our solution is The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act.

00:06:18:16 - 00:06:41:09
Jesa Medders
It calls on the FDA to promulgate non-visual accessibility standards for Class II and Class III medical devices. It requires all manufacturers of Class II and Class III medical devices to incorporate accessibility in the design phase. And it authorizes the FDA to enforce non-visual access standards in our current world.

00:06:41:09 - 00:07:01:07
Jesa Medders
It is more important than ever that blind Americans have the same access to the same health care that their sighted counterparts have. Excuse me. All people should be allowed. Should be able to go to their corner drugstore and pick up a device that they can use and take back home.

00:07:01:16 - 00:07:25:16
Jesa Medders
And that's our goal to end unequal access to medical devices for blind Americans

00:07:08:04 - 00:07:48:02
John Pare Terrific. Yeah, this is another really critical bill. As Jess has said, it's been introduced in the House. We are looking for a Senate sponsor. But in the meantime, the more we can build co-sponsor support in the House, the better.So we're really looking forward to moving this critical bill forward at Washington seminar also. All right, our third issue is something that also probably everyone encounters and that has to do with inaccessible websites. And here to talk about the 21st century website and application accessibility bill.

00:07:48:03 - 00:08:07:09
Kyle Walls
Thank you, John. So as John mentioned, the bill that I'm here to talk about is the 21st Century Websites and Applications Accessibility Act. We know that websites and mobile applications are an essential part of modern living.

00:08:07:09 - 00:08:25:22
Kyle Walls
It's difficult to get around or do just about anything without that, without first looking some information up online or something like that. And the issue is that these websites, for the most part, are required by law to be accessible.

00:08:25:22 - 00:08:46:18
Kyle Walls
But without some implementing regulations, most businesses and retailers have little understanding of what accessibility actually means for this. The Department of Justice announced that a little over ten years ago its intention to publish accessible website regulations. But since then, nothing substantial has been done in that area.

00:08:47:14 - 00:09:10:07
Kyle Walls
And because of that be. In recent years, we've seen a significant increase in the prevalence of what are frequently referred to as click by lawsuits, and that just means that patrons will go to a website. And if there's something that's not accessible, they can.

00:09:10:19 - 00:09:28:03
Kyle Walls
Or they will try to sue the owner operator of that website under the Titl 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And because of that, because businesses don't have that really hard and fast framework of what accessibility actually means.

00:09:28:24 - 00:09:49:09
Kyle Walls
Sometimes, I'm sorry - frequently that these will be settled out of court, so it doesn't solve the problem of fixing the inaccessible website, and it just makes the lawyers some quick money. And as I said, these types of lawsuits have been increasing steadily since 2013, when that figure was first tracked.

00:09:50:05 - 00:10:07:00
Kyle Walls
So our solution to this is the 21st Century Websites and Applications Accessibility Act. The Act would create a regulatory framework for accessibility of websites and applications by directing the Access Board to create accessibility guidelines for websites and apps.

00:10:08:05 - 00:10:27:23
Kyle Walls
Once the bill has been passed, the Access Board would have six months to create and publish a proposed rule and then an additional six months after the publication of that proposed rule to publish the final rule. Once the final rule has been published, the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will have one year to

00:10:27:24 - 00:10:51:07
Kyle Walls 
adopt accessibility standards based on the guidelines that the Access Report published, and we just have the Department of Justice and the Equal Opportunity Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will have the authority to investigate accessibility concerns and commence civil action if necessary, and the standards that are promulgated will apply to websites that are owned and operated by employers.

00:10:51:21 - 00:11:11:04
Kyle Walls
Public accommodations and public entities and those definitions are all currently existing definitions within the law. We didn't add any new definitions or change anything within the ADA, so the definitions for employers, public accommodations and public entities are all already part of existing law.

00:11:11:12 - 00:11:14:59
Unknown
I think that's all I have on that. John, thank you. 

00:11:15:00 - 00:11:54:17
John Pare
All right, our last issue is the transformation to a competitive integrated employment act, and I'm going to talk a little bit about that. It's wrong to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum minimum wage. It's wrong. It's discriminatory. It's unfair. Most people in America are unaware that it's actually legal and we need to change that. Section 14 see of the Fair Labor Standards Act is an exception that says that it is legal to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage, and it's that section of the law that we want to

00:11:54:17 - 00:12:26:20
John Pare
be repealed or sunset. We need to end this this discriminatory provision. In fact, virtually every disability group in America opposes Section 14 C and wants to see it repealed or sunset. The National Council on Disability, the group appointed to help advise the president and Congress on disability policy, has also issued a report urging that this section of

00:12:26:20 - 00:12:53:15
John Pare
the law be sunset. The United States Commission on Civil Rights has also done a year long study and came up with the same result that it's discriminatory and that the section should be sunset. So the transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act, which is H.R. two, three, 73 and SE 3238 would do just that.

00:12:53:19 - 00:13:22:09
John Pare
And let me tell you a little bit how it's divided into five titles. Title one actually creates a grant program to make sure that the transition goes smoothly, that there isn't some collateral damage, so to speak, to people who are currently getting sub minimum wages that they're able to transition smoothly into competitive integrated employment, competitive being defined

00:13:22:10 - 00:13:47:08
John Pare
as getting at least the minimum wage, and integrated paying to work in a setting with other people without disabilities. Title two is the one that creates the actual phase out. It does this over a five year period. And so after year one, it says that you'd be getting folks would have to get at least 60% of the

00:13:47:08 - 00:14:05:03
John Pare
then current minimum wage. Note that this doesn't change the minimum wage, it just creates equality, saying that everyone would get the then current or at least 60% of the then current minimum wage. The next year, you would get 70% and 80%, 90% 100.

00:14:05:03 - 00:14:28:00
John Pare
So ahead by year five, you would be people with disabilities would be guaranteed to get the same minimum wage that other Americans receive. And in fact, at that point, section 14 C would be sunset to title three creates a technical advisory commission technical to help create.

00:14:29:22 - 00:14:56:03
John Pare
An area where people who are paying sub minimum wages can help get advice on how to transition smoothly. Title four requires that the Department of Labor help report how their transition is going to Congress, and Title five creates the authorization of an appropriation of the appropriation.

00:14:56:13 - 00:15:17:20
John Pare
This is really the one difference in the two bills between the House and the Senate is the appropriation in the House is $300 million and the appropriation in the Senate is one. It's an authorization is $1 billion. We're happy with either one.

00:15:18:08 - 00:15:40:11
John Pare
The key is that we start this transition, ten states, in fact, have started this transition already and are successfully moving away from subminimum wages. The number of people getting sub minimum wages has dramatically been reduced at the last over the last ten years as a result of of education about the fact that this is wrong and that

00:15:40:11 - 00:16:04:24
John Pare
we need to to change our model to to have high expectations for people with disabilities. So I think this package of bills from the Access Technology Affordability Act to help create tools in the hands of blind people to medical device to make sure that we have accessible medical devices to all the websites.

00:16:04:24 - 00:16:22:16
John Pare
Making sure that websites are accessible to to all people with disabilities and making sure that we're paid very fairly and can work in a competitive, integrated employment integrated environment. And that would again be for all people with disabilities.

00:16:23:11 - 00:16:42:22
John Pare
These are four great issues and we're looking forward to to moving each of them forward in the hundred and seven second session of the 17th Congress here in 2022, with the kick off of our 2020 to Washington seminar.

00:16:43:19 - 00:16:44:05
John Pare
Thanks.