The President has signed into law a bill that will allow hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter for persons who have mild-to-moderate hearing loss. However, hearing aids will not be available over-the-counter until the 2-to-3 year federal rulemaking process is completed. ACDHH remains opposed to hearing aids sold over-the-counter without the involvement of a licensed hearing healthcare provider, but since the bill has been signed, ACDHH will work diligently to ensure that the rules for this law are strong enough to protect consumer health and safety. Stay tuned to our E-News and this website for updates on this important issue.
2018 - URGENT ACTION ALERTS!
SB 1049 - Hearing Aid Battery Tax
UPDATE! No further action being taken (Dead Bill)
Senate Finance Committee - Passed as Amended : February 14th 2018
ACDHH supports a removal of the state tax on hearing aid and cochlear implant rechargeable batteries. Senate Bill 1049 would remove this tax. The bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee meeting at the state capitol on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 8:00 am in Senate Hearing Room 1. Please contact the legislators listed below and ask them to support the removal of the hearing aid battery tax. Rechargeable batteries for hearing aids and cochlear implants should be exempt from taxation.
Click HERE for the ACDHH fact sheet.
SB1296 - Government Communications; Emergency Response Interpreters
Waiting to pass out of Senate
Government Committee - Passed as written: February 14th 2018
Senate Bill 1296 will be heard before the Senate Committee on Government tomorrow February 14th at 2pm in Senate Hearing Room 109. This bill would call for emergency response interpreters to be utilized by government agencies for emergency communications. The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing supports equal access to emergency communications and ACDHH would like to see the inclusion of CART and captioning in the bill. Please contact the legislators listed below and ask them to support SB1296.
Click HERE for the ACDHH fact sheet.
Not sure who your Senator or Representatives are? Click here and find out: https://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/
Past Alerts Area
ACDHH OPPOSES OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) HEARING AIDS.
Voice your opinion TODAY and let the FTC know what you think about hearing aids being sold OTC. The FTC is accepting comments until May 18th, so let them know today by clicking on this link: https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/hearinghealthtechworkshop/
The ACDHH Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a position paper at the May 11th board meeting. ACDHH’s official position is attached and can be read by clicking here. Also, you may click here to read the Action Alert and history. In brief, ACDHH opposes hearing aids being sold over-the-counter. We have many concerns, including:
- consumers are unable to self-diagnose the degree, type, and etiology of their hearing loss and would not be able to select an appropriate OTC hearing aid
- potential financial harm to a person
- potential harm to a person’s hearing by devices that are too loud
- the possibility that parents would give these to their children
- insurance companies no longer covering hearing aids because they could be purchased OTC
- no hearing healthcare professional conducting a visual exam and hearing test
- the possibility that medical conditions will go undiagnosed when not seen by a hearing healthcare provider
- consumer selecting an OTC hearing aid that doesn’t work, putting it into the drawer, and believing that hearing aids do not work
There is no research establishing the safety and efficacy of OTC hearing aids. Hearing aids are not like ‘reading glasses’ which are available without a prescription and are simply magnifiers. Hearing aids are complex medical devices prescribed by a highly skilled and trained hearing healthcare provider.
If you’d like to read the comments from other people and organizations so far, click here: https://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments/initiative-690. As of this writing, only 73 comments have been received so far. We know you have an opinion, so please share it NOW.
The FTC had a workshop on 4/18 in Washington DC to discuss whether or not to make hearing aids available OTC and that is why they are asking for the public to comment. Here is a link to the workshop: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2017/04/now-hear-competition-innovation-consumer-protection-issues and you can read what the FTC is asking about. You can watch the videos of the workshops too. Because I asked, the FTC added captions to 3 of the 4 videos and they are working on the 3rd.
ALSO! Federal legislation has been introduced in the Senate and in the House to allow hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter and is being fast-tracked right now.
Please contact your United States Senator today and let them know what you think about this issue. Find your Senator here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
Please contact your United States Representative today and let them know what you think about this issue. Find your Representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Thank you for your advocacy on this crucial issue and please email [email protected] with any questions or comments about this topic.
Upcoming hearings and Events:
Arizona Disability Coalition Alert
STOP Website Amendment to SB1406
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED:
Arizona Senate to Decide on Harmful Disability Legislation!
The Arizona Senate will vote early next week on SB1406 and an attached floor amendment that includes provisions that will be harmful to civil rights for people who have disabilities. Now is the time to contact your state Senator to ask them to vote no on SB1406 and the harmful floor amendment!
Not sure who your state Senator is? You can find out here!
Look for your Senator on this page and click on their name to get contact information
What’s Wrong with the SB1406 Floor Amendment?
- People who have disabilities would be required to notify a business in writing if they encounter a barrier to access and then wait at least 30 days before they can file a complaint. Currently, no minority group or class of people is required to notify a business or organization if they intend to exercise their civil rights. SB1406 creates special, separate rules for people who have disabilities.
- No exceptions for emergency situations are included in the floor amendment. There will be instances where a person encounters an accessibility issue at a hospital, medical facility or other business. Having to provide notice of the issue and then waiting up to 30 days for resolution may be dangerous and would not be appropriate.
- The floor amendment says that websites are not required to be accessible to people who have disabilities. A number of federal courts have ruled that making websites accessible is the law. This is the wrong message to send to Arizona’s business and disability communities.
- Representatives from the disability community have continued to offer ideas and solutions that would have protected small businesses from unscrupulous attorneys while safeguarding hard fought civil rights for people with disabilities. Ultimately, our solutions were rejected and we were excluded from discussion related to the floor amendment.
Contact your state Senator and tell them to vote NO on SB1406!
Still have questions? Contact Amina Kruck at [email protected] or call 602-980-1155.
What is a "striker" amendment?
- This is an amendment that replaces an entire bill with another bill.
- The original bill's sponsor must agree to the" striker."
- It is used most often near the end of the legislative session to revive bills that have died in committee or promote a compromise bill.
The ADA Education and Reform Act would seriously weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act and would turn people with disabilities into second-class citizens.
► H.R. 620 would require a person with a disability who encounters an access barrier to send a written notice, and gives the business owner 60 days to even acknowledge that there is a problem—and then another 120 days to begin to fix it. No other protected class of people or minority group is forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights.
► HR 620 would create significant obstacles for people with disabilities to enforce their rights under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to access public accommodations, and would impede their ability to engage in daily activities.
► HR 620 shifts the burden of protecting the right to access to the person with the disability, who first has to be denied access; then must determine that violations of the law have occurred; then must provide the business with specific notice of which provisions of the law were violated and when; and finally, the aggrieved person with the disability must afford the business a lengthy period to correct the problem.
►HR 620 protects business owners from the burden of understanding and complying with rules designed to ensure that people with disabilities could access public accommodations, on the grounds that this burden is too heavy for businesses. Yet, people with disabilities are expected to shoulder this burden and to provide businesses with information about the specific legal obligations that they are violating—after those individuals have been denied the access rights that Congress gave them decades ago.
► The bill’s proponents have forgotten the everyday experiences of millions of people with disabilities who cannot shop, transact personal business, or enjoy recreation as most Americans take for granted because so many public accommodations across the country have ignored the reasonable requirements of the ADA.
► It is troubling that this bill blames people with disabilities for the failure of some businesses to comply with the ADA. Why should people with disabilities pay the price of an inaccessible environment, where we cannot live our lives like everyone else?
CALL TO ACTION!
URGENT: Representative Kyrsten Sinema [D-AZ-9] is currently the only member of Arizona's Congressional delegation who is co-sponsoring HR 620. It is URGENT that you contact Rep. Sinema and let her know that HR 620 would limit the ability of people with disabilities to enforce their civil rights. HR 620 would take away the right of people with disabilities to file a lawsuit when they encounter a barrier. Urge your Arizona Representative to vote NO on HR620. This bill would treat people with disabilities as second-class citizens!
REPRESENTATIVE SINEMA CONTACT INFORMATION:
Kyrsten Sinema (D, District 9)
Phoenix District Office
2944 N. 44th Street, Suite 150
Phoenix, AZ 85018
hours: M-F 8-5:00pm
Washington, D.C. Office
1725 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
hours: M-F 9:00-6:30pm
DeafBlind Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
Funding Request - $300,000 annually, short-term
(amendment to the Budget Reconciliation Bill)
Please note this funding request is separate from the $192,000 for Support Service Provider (SSP)
What is the difference between SSP and HCBS ?
HCBS help DeafBlind individuals with independent living skills around their home and community.
SSP - relay visual and environmental information, act as sighted guide and facilitate communication for people who are DeafBlind.
Examples of SSP (long-term funding necessary)
- Facilitates environmental and visual communication access
- Provides mobility/travel, communication in conducting errands, enables person to participate communicatively in community events and any other direct activities
- Provides text access/translation by reading client’s mail (correspondence and bills) and signs in the environment as well as assists clients with completing forms
Examples of HCBS (proposed short-term funding as a stopgap until ALTCS can provide)
- Assist clients in telephonic communication and assistive technology, providing assessments and training as necessary
- Provide technical assistance and case management to consumers
- Provides independent living skills development
- Orientation and Mobility training
- Provides self-advocacy training
- Current ALTCS qualification is a barrier for DeafBlind individuals -- they cannot receive services from ALTCS.
- This funding will help DeafBlind gain independence and keep them from being institutionalized.
- Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is the only state service available for Deafblind – if they are ready for employment. Not all DeafBlind are employment ready and many are older adults.
- Funding will allow time for the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) to address barriers with AHCCCS/ALTCS and create long-term solutions.
CONTACT: Representative Shooter, [email protected], 602-926-4139 and ask him to support this
Email [email protected] for additional info
The federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, is being considered for revision by Congress. This article, authored by Robyn Powell, a disability rights attorney who is also disabled, explains what is happening on the federal level and what we can do to stop the erosion of our legal rights. https://rewire.news/article/2017/05/30/americans-disabilities-act-attack-congress/. Education and training are welcome additions to the ADA, but a cure period is untenable. Click here for more about HR620 and how to contact Reps. Biggs, Franks, and Sinema about this: http://azdisabilitycoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/HR-620-Info-Sheet-PDF.pdf.
For more information check out ADC's HR 620 Information Sheet
Don't Wait until Election Day to Become a Prepared Voter!
Voters with Disabilities
Accessible Polling Places: All polling locations and vote centers have been chosen with special needs voters in mind. Each location will provide handicap parking and be able to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs, as well as, individuals with visual or hearing impairments. Oftentimes a temporary modification will be made to the polling location providing easier accessibility for the voter.
Accessible Voting Systems: All polling locations and vote centers must have an accessible voting device for use by voters with disabilities. In addition to the accessible voting devices, each poling location will have magnifying instruments, large print versions of the publicity pamphlets and trained poll workers who are ready to assist you.
Curbside Voting: Voters who are unable to enter the polling location or voting center may ask that a ballot be brought to them by an election poll worker.
Permanent Early Voting: If you have a permanent physical disability, you may request to be placed on the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL). You will be mailed a ballot for each election that you are eligible for and can vote from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Here you will find several AZ State legislative web resources. Meet your State legislators, stay up to date with the legislative schedule and even view live and past legislative events and meetings.
**Click each of the underlined links below to be taken to that resource**
Citizens Clean Elections Commission
Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition
Meet the Legislators
LOLA public access of House and Senate Bills
Legislative Live Proceedings
Legislative Resources for kids
Family involvement center
Arizona State Legislature
Arizona State Senate
Ballotpedia/The Encyclopedia of American Politics
Arizona House of Representatives
ACDHH believes hearing aids should be covered by Medicare and we are delighted that Michigan Congresswoman Dingell has introduced federal legislation (the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2017) to expand Medicare coverage to include hearing aids. Seniors are greatly affected by hearing loss and should have hearing healthcare coverage under Medicare. Contact your Representative to tell them what you think! Click here to read more about it.
Newborn Hearing Screenings Vital to Children's Health
In his FY18 proposed budget, President Trump has proposed eliminating the $18 million allocated towards newborn hearing screenings. This earmarked funding has doubled the percentage of newborns receiving hearing screenings before leaving the hospital from 46.5% to 97% just in the last decade. Without early detection, children will be at a distinct disadvantage in tackling hearing loss present at birth. Please read more here https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blogs/the-path-to-funding-for-universal-newborn-hearing-screening and contact your Senators and Representative to let them know what you think about newborn hearing screening.
Here you can access current and historical legislative resources from the United States. This includes bill finders, public laws and other information regarding National legislation.
**Click each of the underlined links below to be taken to that resource**
National Conference of State Legislatures
U.S Department of State
Legislative Resources for kids
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation
WashLaw U.S State Resources
The Council of State Governments