Current Issues in Legislation
NJSHA’s Legislative Committee works hand-in-hand with our governmental affairs consultants, Lynn Nowak and Jacy Lance at Porzio Governmental Affairs.
We are currently nearing the end of a two-year legislative session which began on January 14, 2020 and will conclude on January 11, 2022. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.
Action in Trenton
By Lynn Nowak and Jacy Lance, NJSHA Lobbyists
So long, summer! Say it ain’t so! Jacy and I hate to see the season end but September also brings an end to a welcome break in activity in the Senate and Assembly. Our last update was written in the third week of June, during a flurry of legislative and budget activity leading to two months of no committees and no sessions. Of course, meetings continued to take place and agency activity does not take the summer off. This article will provide a brief update of what happened in the final days of June and where we are picking up in September. We will likely be back in full swing by the time this article reaches readers, as both houses of Legislature have already released their ambitious schedules for the Fall spanning from September 15 to December 22.
Performance-Based Assessments for Instructional Certificates
Training for Law Enforcement Officers on Individuals with Hearing Disorders or Autism: S741 (Bucco, R-Morris)/A3191 (DiMaso, R-Monmouth) permit person diagnosed with communication disability or autism to voluntarily make notation on driver’s license, identification card, and in MVC registry; establishes program to train law enforcement officers in interactions with persons with autism or communication disabilities. On May 6, 2021, NJSHA President Robynne Kratchman testified in Trenton, Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.
Induction Loops: A5464 (Benson, D-Mercer) / S3660 (Greenstein, D-Mercer) requires the installation of an induction loop listening system in certain buildings open to the public upon new construction or substantial renovation. On June 10, 2021 the bill was heard Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.
Advisory Council on Deaf and Hard of Hearing: In the 2018-2019 legislative session, NJSHA worked to secure amendments to this bill to add a speech language pathologist who has experience working with deaf and hard of hearing populations to the membership of the Council. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.
In 2019, a girl named Ally from Colorado wrote to Congress because she needed a bone anchored hearing aid but was denied by her family’s insurance company. As of today, several US Senators, more than 40 organizations, including the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the Hearing Health Foundation and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, have endorsed Ally’s Act, H.R. 477. Ally’s Act would allow coverage for implantable hearing devices, bone anchored hearing aids and cochlear implants. Private insurance companies would allow for coverage of the devices, needed accessories, medical visits, surgery and medical visits for those aged birth to 64.
Ally and her mother continue to advocate through their organization, Ear Community. We are asking NJSHA members to write a letter by August 31 to Chairman Frank Pallone in New Jersey and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington state supporting Ally’s Act.
Please review the following links for more information, including a template to reach out to each of them.
- General Information – https://www.njsha.org/pdfs/ally-act-info.pdf
- Letter From Congressman Joe Neguse – https://www.njsha.org/pdfs/ally-request-letter.pdf
- Ally Act Writing Campaign Ad – https://www.njsha.org/pdfs/ally-ad.pdf
- Sample template to Chairman Frank Pallone – https://www.njsha.org/pdfs/ally-pallone-template.pdf
- Sample template to Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers – https://www.njsha.org/pdfs/ally-rodgers-template.pdf
The New Jersey Department of Education: On April 7, 2021, members of the State Board of Education approved a resolution designating May as Better Hearing and Speech Month. Log into the Member Portal to continuing reading this in the Committee Resources section.
Horizon Update – April 12, 2021
NJSHA has established a relationship with executives at Horizon. As a consequence, and benefit, NJSHA and Horizon has been meeting regularly with executives at Horizon to address a variety of issues brought to our attention by members. Several of these issues have been resolved. This ongoing open dialogue between NJSHA and Horizon will allow us to continue to work together on concerns as they arise in the future. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.