Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Thu Jan 14 04:07:32 UTC 2010

Greetings, Fellow Federationists!

Today, Governor Gregoire released her revised budget proposals and I am told they've been dropped into the bill hopper in the legislature though I don't know the bill numbers in the House and Senate yet. The proposals for WSSB/WSSD and DSB remain unchanged. That is, the Washington State Schools for the Blind and for the Deaf (WSSB/WSSD) are slated to move to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) is slated to move under DSHS. Worse than that, although LouOma Durand, Director of DSB, was given to understand that DSB would be a separate entity under DSHS along with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the actual wording in the budget has DSB becoming part of DVR. Obviously, this won't fly. It's time to up the pressure a bit.

If you go to the page http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx, you can put in your street address (the first edit box), city (second edit box) and zip code (5-digit in next edit box and last 4 digits in the final edit box) and click on the "find district" button and you'll get the district you reside in and your two state representatives and one state senator. You should call the legislative hotline at (800) 562-6000 and leave messages for your representatives and senator asking that the Washington State School for the Blind and the Department of Services for the Blind remain separate state agencies as they are now. If you want to try to talk to your legislators directly (and I urge all to do so), you can go to http://www.leg.wa.gov, click on the "House" or "Senate" link and from there can find either "Representatives" which will list them (and their individual pages list office numbers) or the same for "Senators" from the Senate link.

If you do talk to individual legislators, please point out to them that the Governor's staff admits that no money will be saved by these reorganizations, that both WSSB and DSB are well-thought-of in the rest of the country and that this is no accident; it is the independence of these agencies that have made innovation and quality service to the blind possible. Say that, even if reorganization is to be considered, there are too many complex issues involved to do this in a short legislative session.

Almost everyone in the Clark County chapter is in either the 49th or 18th legislative district (most are in the 49th) but I suspect that Seattle chapter members reside in several districts. I charge the Seattle chapter with designating someone who will ascertain the legislative district of each of its members so that they may call and leave messages for the appropriate senators and representatives.

Let's try to nip these machinations in the bud. If this doesn't work, we will consider more drastic action -- like rallies on the steps of the Capital, a legislative day in Olympia or other events of similar vein.

To the wall, comrades!

Mike Freeman, President
NFB of Washington

More information about the NFBWATlk mailing list