Preparation for Hearing Next Week

As you know, the Joint Public Hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, 3/18 at 10:30am in room 411 South of the State Capitol in Madison.

We hope you can attend. It is important to show continued support of this bill, especially since the bill itself is significantly stronger this session. The more of us there is to support the bill at the public hearing, the more likely the bill is to pass. We are very close to having legislation that will ensure that group and individual insurance plans are required to provide coverage for children under the age of 18 years old for hearing aids and cochlear implants and other hearing devices. This will allow families to have more choices for their deaf and hard of hearing children, but unless we testify legislators will not understand the importance of the bill may not vote in favor of it.

If you are a parent, it is very effective to bring your child/children with you to testify. There will be a separate room with toys for children during the hearing, and we are working with legislators to have a system in place to notify families when it is their turn to speak. There will be some snacks, but you are encouraged to bring some food for your family to eat.

 

If your child is old enough and interested, encourage them to testify at the hearing themselves. It is a great learning experience!

 

If you can attend the public hearing, please bring with you 20 copies of your personal written testimony (1-2 pages is sufficient). It is not uncommon for committee members to come in and out of the hearing in order to take care of other business. By bringing written testimony, you will ensure that if a member misses your testimony, they will still be able to read your story. At the hearing you can read your written testimony or simply speak from the heart and touch on points you have written!

 

When you get to the hearing, you must fill out a hearing slip to let the committee members know who you are and that you are interested in testifying. The hearing slip also allows you to register in favor of the bill without providing verbal testimony if you wish. The hearing slips are typically located immediately outside or inside of the hearing room.

 

Suggestions for written testimony:

 

·         Let them know who you are (ie, you are a parent of a child who is deaf/hard of hearing; you are person who is deaf/hard of hearing etc.)

·         Let them know you SUPPORT Senate Bill 27, Assembly Bill 16, a bill that will allow children who are deaf and hard of hearing to get hearing aids and cochlear implants covered by insurance

·         Briefly explain why this issue is important to you

·         Discuss any hardships you may have faced with regards to hearing loss, acquiring proper hearing aids or cochlear implant

·         List any facts you feel are important (many facts supporting the bill are listed in a fact sheet located at http://www.letkidshear.org/?q=node/5)  

·         If possible, include a photo of your child or yourself (a picture is worth a thousand words!)

·         Provide contact information (Name, address, phone, email)

 

Assistance to attend the Hearing: If you are unable to attend the hearing due to financial constraints, there is a limited pot of money to assist families with some of the expenses to attend the hearing such as gas to and from Madison. If you need help, contact Alicia Boehme at Disability Rights Wisconsin at 800/928-8778 prior to the hearing.

If you cannot attend the Joint Public Hearing, you can email the committee members your written testimony. To find out who is on the Senate and Assembly committees and how to contact them, follow the links on this page http://www.letkidshear.org/?q=node/341 to the legislative committee website. From there you can click on each committee member name to get their email and/or snail mail address. 

In addition, if you have not done so already, it is important to write your Assembly Representative and Senator. Let them know you plan on testifying at the public hearing. If you get a chance, stop in at their office and introduce yourself! To find out who represents you, go to: http://waml.legis.state.wi.us/ 

 

Spread the word - Get others to write letters as well. If you have family or friends or teachers or audiologists or others who want this bill passed, they should get involved as well!