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E-News (June 22, 2018)

June 22, 2018

The June 22, 2018 E-News has been posted.

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RELEASE: Governor Signs Two Bills for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians

June 1, 2018

Jefferson City, MO (June 1, 2018) - The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) is proud to announce that Governor Eric Greitens signed two bills this morning that will impact Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. Senate Bill 814 makes changes to the drivers licensing system and Senate Bill 843 makes changes to the Board for Certification of Interpreters (BCI). These bills are among more than 70 others signed on what will be Greitens’ last day in office.   Senate Bill 814, filed by Senator Jeanie Riddle in the Senate and Representative Lyle Rowland in the House, will make the drivers licensing system more efficient and culturally appropriate for Deaf and Hard of Hearing drivers. For the last several years, the code used to identify hearing loss on a license has been J88; however, many officers have not been able to identify this code quickly. Under the new law, the code will change from J88 to DHH for easier recognition. Additionally, this legislation has removed the outdated term “hearing impaired” from the corresponding laws.   Senate Bill, also sponsored by Senator Riddle, restructures the Board for Certification of Interpreters (BCI) by reducing the number of gubernatorial appointments from five to three. The board will remain housed within MCDHH. This action resulted from findings of the 2017 Governor’s Task Force on Boards and Commissions, whose goal was to eliminate excessive appointments.   MCDHH works with individuals, service providers, businesses, organizations, and state agencies to improve the lives and opportunities of all Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. It functions as an agency of the state to advocate for public policies, regulations, and programs to improve the quality and coordination of existing services for individuals with hearing loss, and to promote new services whenever necessary. More information about MCDHH and the services it offers are available at http://mcdhh.mo.gov. ###  

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Deaf Community Advocate

May 24, 2018

Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to work in a highly visible and respected state agency? Do you have what it takes to blend with a creative, talented,and innovative team? This may be the job for you! MCDHH is currently looking for applicants to fill the position of MCDHH Deaf Community Advocate. Click here to find out how you can apply.

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RELEASE: Deaf Driver’s License Bill Passes Missouri House, Headed to Governor’s Desk

May 1, 2018

Deaf Driver’s License Bill Passes Missouri House, Headed to Governor’s Desk Jefferson City, MO (May 1, 2018) - On Tuesday morning, the Missouri House gave final approval to Senate Bill 814 with a unanimous bipartisan vote of 152-0. This bill changes the driver’s license code identifying a person as Deaf or Hard of Hearing from J88 to DHH. An equivalent bill—House Bill 1572—was passed by the Missouri House on February 22. As the measure has passed through both legislative bodies, it is now considered Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed and will be sent to the governor for his signature. Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has found that most law enforcement officers are not able to quickly identify the meaning of the J88 code. Changing the characters to DHH will increase recognition, and allow officers to adapt their methods of communication. Lack of effective communication not only elongates the encounter, but it can also escalate the tension of the situation. For example, if an officer does not know that a driver is Deaf or Hard of Hearing, he may interpret the driver’s flat response to verbal commands as resistance. The DHH code will indicate that accommodations may be necessary, ranging from writing a conversation on a notepad or bringing in a sign language interpreter. "When talking about communication solutions between law enforcement and an individual with a hearing loss, there is no one-size-fits-all solution," said Opeoluwa Sotonwa, the Executive Director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. "However, it is a consensus that a quick way to identify drivers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing will be an asset to officers. The decisions they make in the moment can be the difference between safety and danger, or life and death." Senate Bill 814, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Riddle (R), made its way to the Senate floor by way of the Committees on Professional Registration and Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics. House Bill 1572, sponsored by Representative Lyle Rowland (R), made its way quickly through the House Committees on Transportation and Rules – Administrative Oversight. In addition, these bills also charge the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing with making videos in American Sign Language explaining the implications of the changes to the license code. The wording of the law is also altered from "hearing impaired" to "Deaf and Hard of Hearing" to be more culturally appropriate MCDHH works with individuals, service providers, businesses, organizations, and state agencies to improve the lives and opportunities of all Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. It functions as an agency of the state to advocate for public policies, regulations, and programs to improve the quality and coordination of existing services for individuals with hearing loss, and to promote new services whenever necessary. More information about MCDHH and the services it offers are available at http://mcdhh.mo.gov. ###

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2018 Lifetime Achievement Award

February 7, 2018

MCDHH will issue one (1) Lifetime Achievement Award. Before we make our final selection for this year, we need your help with identifying nominees! This year’s theme is “Silver Jubilee” in honor of the Missouri’s 25th anniversary Interpreter Conference. The deadline for submitting your nomination is Friday, July 27, 2018. Please click on the link for more details.   If you would like to know our past LifeTime Achievement Awards, please click on the link: https://mcdhh.mo.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2018/04/LifetimeAchAwards18.pdf.

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