Write your legislators ASAP

The Senate Committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue will be meeting on Tuesday April 14th to vote on whether Senate Bill 27 will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

Thanks to everyone’s testimony and letters, I am hopeful that the Senate Committee members will let the bill go on to the next stage.

As you know, Assembly Bill 16 (AB 16) already passed the Assembly Committee on Insurance. It is rumored that the bill will be scheduled for a vote on the floor towards the end of April.

It is also very possible that Senate Bill 27 (SB 27), assuming it gets voted out of committee, will also go up for a floor vote towards the end of April.

That said, we are at a very critical point in time… it is urgent that we move on to the next stage of our advocacy; to encourage our personal legislators to vote for the bills when they come to the floor for a vote.

The way to convince legislators to vote for the bill is to write them and to get as many people that you know to also write both their State Assembly Representative and State Senator within the next few weeks!!!

If you do not already know who your legislators are, you can find out by going to http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx.

The Disability Action Wisconsin Network (DAWN) has made this process very easy for us. They have set up a system whereby you can automatically email your legislators your thoughts on the bill. The websites helps to construct a letter for you to send. To access this automatic letter writing webpage, go to http://capwiz.com/dawn/issues/alert/?alertid=13019186&type=ST

You can also send a letter the old fashioned way, by writing and sending your legislators a letter that you compose on your own. You can access your legislators contact information by searching for how your legislators are with the link above.

Regardless of whether you use the website that helps you to construct your letter, or if you write a letter on your own you should consider letting your legislators know the following points:

  • That you want them to vote for SB 27/AB 16, bills that will allow children who are deaf and hard of hearing to get hearing aids and cochlear implants paid for by insurance companies

· Let them know that you live in their district, and tell that you are a voter if you are one... (**This is very important to say because elected officials listen to people who vote).

· Explain why this bill is important:

· TELL YOUR STORY. Let your legislators know if you have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, if you are deaf or hard of hearing yourself, if you are a professional who works with children/adults who have hearing loss or are deaf, if you are a family member or a friend … etc. and let the know why passing this bill is important to you personally.

· Tell your legislators any hardships related to affording hearing aids or cochlear implants.

· Give some facts: for example:

1. Approximately 200 children in the State of Wisconsin who are deaf or hard of hearing are born each year.

2. Families in Wisconsin are struggling to pay for hearing aids and cochlear implants. Some families are not able to afford them.

3. Hearing loss impacts language development, speech development and social interaction with the hearing world.

4. It will cost much more in the long run for our state to educate and provide therapies and supports to children.

5. … there are many other points/arguments you can make. Feel free to check out the fact sheet at http://www.letkidshear.org/?q=node/5

· Ask them to respond to you in writing letting you know if they will vote for SB 27/AB 16 when it comes before them.

· Thank them for their time and their vote. Invite them to contact you if they have questions.

SPREAD THE WORD:  GET OTHERS TO WRITE LETTERS TO THEIR LEGISLATORS TOO! If you have family or friends or teachers or audiologists or others who want this bill passed, they should write a letter to their legislators as well. At this point the more letters written to legislators across the state the better AND the sooner they are written the better!!

Everyone is doing an amazing job in getting this bill to move forward. Your continued energy is necessary for SB 27/AB 16 to pass the Senate and the Assembly.  Please let me know if there are additional ways that I can help you to advocate for this bill.