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E-News (May 22, 2020)

May 22, 2020

This week's e-news has been posted.

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Missouri Legislature Passes Commercial Driver’s License Bill for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Drivers on Final Day of Session

May 15, 2020

MCDHH is proud to announce that this evening—May 15, 2020—just minutes before the close of the 2020 Legislative Session, the Missouri House of Representatives Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed House Bill 1963 by a vote of 121-31. Within this piece of legislation was the content of Senate Bill 748, which will allow Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). It was the last bill to pass through the House this session. The measure will now make its way to Governor Parson’s desk to be signed into law. According to MCDHH Executive Director Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa, Missouri was not taking full advantage of waivers available through the U.S. Department of Transportation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians to get a CDL. A waiver can exempt a driver from the so-called “whisper test,” which requires them to discern whispered words from a certain distance away. He testified, “Missouri’s current regulations align with the federal Department of Transportation’s guidelines on the issue. However, without recognition of the waiver by Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri drivers are left out. Studies have shown that Deaf drivers are safe drivers, like their hearing counterparts; some may even have some advantage with superior concentration and increased peripheral vision” said Dr. Sotonwa. According to recent reporting from CNN, a study by the American Trucking Association prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shows a serious shortage of commercial truck drivers across the U.S., estimating over 160,000 unfilled positions over the next decade. The current health crisis could make these numbers even higher. Being at the center of much of the country’s ground shipping, with major roadways like Interstates 44 and 70 crossing the state, Missourians are in the perfect place to join the trucking industry amidst a labor shortage. The CDL waiver will open this opportunity to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians as well. The success of this legislation is credited to Senator Bill White and Representative Travis Fitzwater for sponsoring this legislation. Senator Bill White has championed similar legislation for the last few years and sponsored Senate Bill 748 this year; Rep. Fitzwater took the initiative under his wing by adding it to his bill, House Bill 1963, which gave it the best chance of passage amidst today’s unique political circumstances. MCDHH will provide further guidance on how to apply for a CDL waiver when the bill is signed into law by Governor Parson and more information is available from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

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Missouri Legislature Passes Deaf Awareness Month Bill

May 15, 2020

MCDHH is proud to announce that shortly after noon today—May 15, 2020—the Missouri House of Representatives Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed House Bill 1682. Within this piece of legislation was the content of House Bill 1572, which establishes September as Deaf Awareness Month, and its last week as Deaf Awareness Week in the State of Missouri. The measure will now make its way to Governor Parson’s desk to be signed into law. We cannot thank Representatives Jerome Barnes and David Wood enough for their support on this legislation. Rep. Barnes has championed similar legislation for the last several years and sponsored House Bill 1572 this year; Rep. Wood took the initiative under his wing by adding it to his bill, House Bill 1682, which gave it the best chance of passage amidst today’s unique political circumstances. We look forward to celebrating with you all in September, and every September to come, as our state will now official recognize Deaf Awareness Month.

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UPDATE: SSP Program & Transportation

November 22, 2019

Dear MO SSP Program participants and service providers:   On behalf of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the SSP Program Task Force, I would like to thank you all for your patience and feedback as we have worked together with Beyond Interpreting to resolve some issues with the SSP Program over the last few weeks. This process has deepened our understanding of the value of this program; we have been contacted by numerous DeafBlind consumers and SSPs who have expressed in many ways how this program has changed their lives. While the hold on services has been frustrating for all of us, we believe that moving forward we have a much stronger program to work with.   After much discussion and research, the primary outcome is that SSPs will not be able to transport DeafBlind individuals in their personal vehicles moving forward. This decision is in place to ensure the safety of all program participants, as well as the longevity of the SSP program. I urge you to read the white paper we have developed on this issue and minutes from the task force meeting, if you would like to know more about how this decision was reached. Links to these documents are available at the bottom of this page.   Beyond Interpreting will be releasing more specific details of how this decision will impact the program in the coming days, along with some other important changes. We encourage you to review their announcements and materials thoroughly in order to make this transition as smooth as possible. As always, the staff at Beyond Interpreting and MCDHH are here to answer any questions you may have and receive your feedback and concerns with an open mind.   Sincerely,   Emily Morrison Business Operations Manager Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Emily.Morrison@mcdhh.mo.gov Voice, Direct Line: (573) 526-0232   SSP Transportation White Paper: https://mcdhh.mo.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2019/11/transportation-white-paper.docx SSP Task Force Meeting Minutes, November 15, 2019: https://mcdhh.mo.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2019/11/ssp-minutes-november-15-2019.docx

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Rule Changes Coming December 30

November 22, 2019

The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) has several rule changes that will be going into effect at the end of this year. The changes primarily relate to the Missouri Interpreter Certification System (MICS). These rules were proposed by the Board for Certification of Interpreters (BCI) and approved by the MCDHH Commission. They will go into effect on December 30, 2019. Below is a summary of each rule change and its impact on Missouri interpreters. Please review each rule change to determine how it will affect you. If you have further questions, feel free to contact Jessica Kallenbach, Interpreter Certification Specialist at jessica.kallenbach@mcdhh.mo.gov or (573) 526-5205.   5 CSR 100-200.035 Missouri Interpreter Certification System This amendment adds the Provisional Certificate in Education (PCED) and the Provisional Certification (aka Learner’s Permit) to the list of certifications not subject to annual renewal. These certificates are only valid for one-year and cannot be renewed, so this should not impact any Missouri interpreters; it is merely a change in wording to the rules.   5 CSR 100-200.050 Application for Interpreter Certification in Missouri This amendment removes the Apprentice and Novice certifications. As these certifications are no longer offered in Missouri, this should have no impact on Missouri interpreters.   5 CSR 100-200.070 Performance Test and Evaluation This amendment cleans up a grammatical error and clarifies the follow-up letter process for testers. Additionally, it removes an item that is no longer available to testers. This should not have an impact on Missouri interpreters.   5 CSR 100-200.095 Certified Deaf Interpreter Certification This amendment updates the name of the Texas agency that administers the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) to the proper reference for the Texas provider of the examination. The agency was previously called Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), but is now Texas Health and Human Services Commission. This will not have an impact on Missouri interpreters.   5 CSR 100-200.125 Certification Renewal This amendment removes the section referring to the Apprentice and Novice certifications, which are no longer offered in Missouri. It also clarifies that the Provisional Certification in Education (PCED) is not renewable. It adds a timeline for certifications to become invalid and establishes a late fee. The new timeline for renewal is explained below, and will impact all Missouri interpreters.   5 CSR 100-200.130 Certification Maintenance This amendment clarifies due dates for CEU renewal and reinstatement. The updated dates are listed below and will impact all Missouri interpreters.   5 CSR 100-2000.150 Fees This amendment establishes a $10 per workshop CEU processing fee for approval of Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) workshops. It also removes the fee for wall certificates, which MCDHH no longer provides, and adjusts the numbering system for the remaining fees on the list. This will not impact most interpreters directly; rather, the fee will be charged to the individual or entity that requests RID approval of their workshops through MCDHH.   This amendment also establishes a late fee of $20 for certification maintenance and removes unnecessary zeros. The impact of this fee is explained in the section below on the new timeline for certification renewal.   5 CSR 100-200.170 Skill Level Standards This amendment removes the Novice and Apprentice certifications, which are no longer offered in Missouri. It also re-numbers the remaining list and corrects the title for Certified Deaf Interpreters. These changes should have no impact on Missouri interpreters.   The change also removes Basic from the list of approved certification levels to interpret in financial settings or for financial activities. This will impact the range of situations for which Basic interpreters can work.   Certification Renewal Timeline   Old System (effective until December 30, 2019) November 2: Deadline for earning 2.0 CEUs, with 0.3 in ethics; earning CEUs after this deadline will result in a reinstatement fee* ($60) December 2: Postmark deadline for renewal paperwork (including application for renewal, proof of CEUs, and payment); incomplete paperwork or missing deadline will result in a reinstatement fee* ($60) and certification card is no longer valid after this date *Reinstatement fee will only be charged one time per renewal cycle   New System (effective beginning December 30, 2019) November 2: Deadline for earning 2.0 CEUs, with 0.3 in ethics; earning CEUS after this deadline will result in a late fee** ($20) December 2: Postmark deadline for renewal paperwork (including application for renewal, proof of CEUs, and payment); incomplete paperwork or missing deadline will result in a late fee** ($20) December 15: Certifications that have not been renewed become invalid on this date; interpreters who fail to postmark completed renewal paperwork before this deadline will incur a reinstatement fee ($60) in addition to the late fee incurred on December 2 **Late fee will only be charged one time per renewal cycle

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