DHHCAN Meeting Minutes
March 3, 2010
Present: Claude Stout (TDI) (Chair); Art Roehrig (AADB); Al Sonnenstrahl (ADARA); Barbara Raimondo (CEASD); Karen Peltz Strauss (CSD); Sam Sonnenstrahl (GUAA); Fred Beam (NBDA); Nancy Bloch (NAD); Shane Feldman (NAD); Ron Sutcliffe (NDBI); Fred Weiner (Gallaudet); Paul Singleton (Purple); Ron Obray (Purple); Janet Bailey (RID); Mary Lightfoot (RID); Ron Burdett (Sorenson); Paul Kershisnik (Sorenson); Mike Maddix (Sorenson) Manny Johnson (Z); and Samuel Jones (consumer); students from Al Sonnenstrahl’s communications class.
Special Guest: David Bahar, Office of the Honorable Jay Inslee
The Chair called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.
David Bahar gave a presentation on a proposed bill, the “TRS modernization and Integrity Act,” which is being developed by Mr. Inslee. A summary of the bill is attached. David explained the various sections of the proposal, and meeting attendees asked many questions.
Minutes: The minutes of the meeting held on February 3, 2010, were approved as read.
Apologized to Nancy Bloch and DHHCAN for making a veiled reference to a NAD employee having a conflict of interest. He said that he and Bloch recently had a lunch meeting, and that they had reached a good understanding of how DHHCAN and its member organizations can work together in future on legislative matters.
Technology & Telecommunications
Claude Stout reported that February was a good month in terms of the relationship with the FCC. Shane Feldman, Rosaline Crawford, Lise Hamlin, and Claude had productive meetings with FCC representatives.
There was a meeting with commissioners about functional equivalency. Functional equivalency benefits both hearing and deaf individuals.
DHHCAN has recommended to the FCC that the Disability Rights Office receive more staffing and the ability to expand its role within the FCC.
DHHCAN has asked the FCC to issue an NPRM on VRS rates.
Claude et al have met with Joel Gurin, Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the FCC.
On February 19, 2009 the FCC released new rules on filing captioning complaints.
The FCC has issued a declaratory ruling clarifying its rules regarding the routing of international VRS calls, VRS VCO calls, and VRS calls made by VRS employees in the course of business.
The National EHDI conference was held in Chicago March 12. Many more deaf people attended than have in the past. Beth Benedict won the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence.
Health & Human Services
Kelby is chair of the committee to undertake a review of and make recommendations to update the bylaws. If anyone wants to assist in this effort, let Kelby know.
Meeting adjourned at 2:47 p.m.
The next meeting will be held in the Ole Jim on Wednesday, April 7, 2010.
TRS MODERNIZATION AND INTEGRITY ACT: ONE-PAGE SUMMARY
The TRS bill updates the statutory definition of TRS, modifies the TRS framework within the FCC to improve FCC interactions with consumers and providers, incorporates greater consumer feedback into rulemaking, and implements transparent forward-looking policy that increases the penetration of advanced relay services into the workplace and encourages the continued development of universal standards concerning relay technology, among other things.
Internet Protocol Relay Services - Interstate or Intrastate Service?
Currently, IP-relay services are treated as an interstate service, but no statute exists defining it as such, leaving the door open for the FCC to assign the administration of such services to the States. This bill defines IP-relay services as interstate service, placing the responsibility for their operation and regulation exclusively with the federal government.
Changes to Improve FCC Structure
- The current DRO will be elevated, with the DRO director reporting directly to the Chairman of the FCC. This will elevating the status of TRS within the FCC and improve the FCC's responsiveness.
- The current TRS Advisory Council will be elevated in stature and given an advisory role in developing or proposing all major changes or issuing any new rules relating to TRS.
Changes to Improve FCC Interactions with Relay Consumers and Relay Providers
- Requires the FCC to respond, within 45 days, to requests for clarification from TRS providers concerning the types of TRS functions or services eligible for reimbursement; if such clarification requires a new rule making proceeding, such proceeding shall be initiated and completed within 180 days.
Prescribed rulemakings to improve TRS rule clarity and transparency
- Requires FCC to complete all open rulemakings and revise, merge or supersede previous rulemakings as needed within two years of the bill's passage.
- Prescribes a rulemaking to implement policies to enhance the capability of providers to improve telecommunications access, functionality, and interoperability through new features or improved services.
- Prescribes a rulemaking to implement policies to encourage the development of video phone standards, and prescribes the updating of such standards every 4 years to incorporate advances or changes in technology.
- Prescribes a rulemaking to ensure that providers submit statements to the FCC detailing the breakdown of their costs of doing business, including their profit margins, and that such statements be available to the public in aggregate form.
- Requires that when the FCC re-evaluates the types of services that constitute a valid form of TRS, that the FCC update its rules to ensure access to 911/E911 services.
Regulations to address TRS fraud
- Establishes a whistleblower program to protect interpreters and other staff of the telecommunications relay services providers who provide reasonable information regarding fraud.
- Requires the FCC to seek the advice of consumer advocacy groups, TRS providers, and develop, establish and make publicly available best practices for TRS providers to engage in with respect to consumer outreach, marketing, and related activities.
- Requires TRS providers to submit to the FCC, and implement, internal plans to mitigate fraud.
- Establishes a system for the provisional certification of TRS providers without a full license, replacing the existing white-labeling system.