DHHCAN Meeting Minutes
December 2, 2009
Present: Claude Stout (TDI) (Chair); Cheryl Heppner (ALDA) (Vice Chair); Rosaline Crawford (NAD) (Secretary/Treasurer); Art Roehrig (AADB); Al Sonnenstrahl (ADARA); Barbara Raimondo (CEASD); Karen Peltz Strauss (CSD); Sam Sonnenstrahl (GUAA); Lise Hamlin (HLAA); Shane Feldman (NAD); Fred Beam (NBDA); Ronald Sutcliffe (NDBI); Kelby Brick (Purple); Janet Bailey (RID); Mary Lightfoot (RID); Paul Kershisnik (Sorenson); Mike Maddix (Sorenson); and Samuel Jones (consumer).
The Chair called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.
Minutes: The minutes of the meetings held on June 3, September 9, October 7, and November 4 were approved as read.
- Election of Officers – Claude distributed copies of the bylaws which appear to have been last revised March 7, 1995. Section 3.2 of the bylaws say that the Vice Chair “shall succeed to the office of the Chair upon the completion of the Chair’s term of office.” A motion was made and seconded to suspend this provision in the bylaws for the election of officers scheduled to take place at the next meeting on January 6, 2010, and to establish a committee to undertake a review of and make recommendations to update the bylaws in 2010. After discussion and determination that only regular members could vote on the motion and that a quorum was present, the motion was passed unanimously.
- Claude ensured that all DHHCAN member representatives received their invitations to the TDI Holiday Party on December 10.
- DHHCAN nominated Sheila Conlon-Mentkowski for another term of service on the NECA Interstate TRS Advisory Board.
Report will be provided as part of Technology & Telecommunications Committee report.
Invoices for DHHCAN dues were distributed recently and are due by December 31, 2009. The balance in the DHHCAN bank account is $31,419.
Technology & Telecommunications
- November 5, 2009 – A meeting was held at the FCC with Mark Stone, Acting Chief, CGB, to discuss the petition to mandate captioned telephone services. The FCC Consumer Advisory Committee is also expected to recommend FCC action on the petition.
- November 5, 2009 – Marlee Matlin, NAD spokesperson for accessible broadband and Internet media, met with several key legislators and staff to seek support for H.R. 3101 and introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.
- November 6, 2009 – The FCC held a well-attended field hearing on broadband issues. Marlee Matlin, Karen Peltz Strauss, and others presented testimony at the hearing.
- November 12, 2009 – Consumer Groups filed comments with the FCC on public safety access issues related to the development of the National Broadband Plan that the FCC will submit to Congress in February 2010.
- November 12, 2009 – Consumer Groups supplemented their petition for an emergency stay that was filed on October 27 related to the CSDVRS petition for reconsideration of the FCC’s August 11 clarification regarding provisioning the iTRS database with 800 numbers. In its supplemental petition, Consumer Groups requested that the FCC issue a stay and an order to return to the status quo ante, which would require putting 800 numbers that have been removed back into the iTRS database.
- November 12, 16, 17, 19, and 30, 2009 – Representatives of Consumer Groups met with various FCC officials and staff and with each of the Commissioners’ offices to discuss the 800 toll free number issue.
- Sorenson indicated that the process to put 800 numbers back in the iTRS database will take time; it took about a week to remove the numbers.
- Discussed possibility of putting 10-digit number (rather than 800 number) in videophone caller ID fields; consumer confusion resulting from issuance and removal of 800 numbers from the iTRS database without sufficient education or notice; and consumer choice to have 800 numbers which Sorenson says were primarily intended for use by hearing family and friends.
- Sorenson declined FCC’s request to oppose Consumer Groups’ petition for an emergency stay.
- November 23, 2009 – 26 people were indicted for defrauding the FCC VRS program of millions of dollars.
- November 30, 2009 – Consumer Groups filed an opposition to the Sorenson petition to restrict multiple iTRS providers at one location.
- December 2, 2009 – Consumer Groups filed additional comments with the FCC on public safety access issues related to the development of the National Broadband Plan that the FCC will submit to Congress in February 2010.
- December 11, 2009 – The FCC expects to conduct a workshop on VRS reform to address fraud without limiting functional equivalency.
- Topics expected to include efficient provision of VRS, rate methodology, and fraud prevention.
- Expect FCC to invite panel participants with strong consumer participation; watch for public notices to see whether VRS providers will be included in this workshop.
- Discussed relationship between fraud/abuse and functional equivalency; fraud and abuse are important issues, but if addressing those issues limits functional equivalency, then those measures only punish consumers; need to punish the providers who engage in fraud/abuse.
- Providers need to ensure the TRS fund is safe and not subject to mismanagement in the near term to continue research and development efforts, protect investments, etc.
- Need to keep the TRS fund clean, but must be on a positive path to improve functional equivalency.
- Cheryl reported on the recent announcement made by Google about its auto-caption and auto-time code features for YouTube videos. Some folks are not happy with the 80% accuracy rate. The auto-time code feature is important. Video producers can fix errors made by the auto-caption feature. Noted, too, was that Google has a feature to auto-translate English captions into 51 languages.
- Cheryl reported that the full FCC DTV workgroup met recently with disappointing results. Industry representatives are seeking funding to investigate and fix closed captioning and video description problems; capturing and analyzing video streams costs money. They are also seeking strong assurances of confidentiality and no liability.
- Karen reported on advocacy for White House oversight on section 508 compliance by the Chief Technology Officer. Nothing has happened yet. She and others met with Vivek Kendra, the Chief Information Officer (CIO), who committed to meet with agency CIOs on section 508 compliance.
- The Department of Education is hosting a student video competition and posting entries online for voting. At first, these videos were not captioned, but the Department is working on the issue to ensure section 508 compliance.
- The Department of Education is seeking comments now on reauthorization of the Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
- National standards are being developed for assessments.
- Sonny reported that ADARA is interested in restoring a position in the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to focus on deaf-related issues in vocational rehabilitation. Will discuss more in upcoming DHHCAN meetings.
- Cheryl reported that the Department of Transportation, Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has been conducting conference calls to discuss possible changes in some standard operating procedures to ensure that paper and pens are available to communicate with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and to address some issues related to service animals.
- Some TSA agents are afraid of animals.
- Some service animals are freaked by new security booths.
- Need improved relief area locations to reduce the need for re-screening.
Health & Human Services
Nominating Committee Chair Report – Kelby reported the following nominations for officers:
Chair – Claude Stout
Vice Chair – Cheryl Heppner
Secretary/Treasurer – Rosaline Crawford
Meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.
The next meeting will be held in the Ole Jim on Wednesday, January 6, 2010.
Happy New Year!