Your Support is needed in calling MD Governor Hogan’s office by phone (via VRS) at 410-974-3901 or 800-811-8336 and let him know that you are AGAINST this legislation. In addition, we recommend sending an online submission at https://governor.maryland.gov/contact-the-governor/ and select “legislation” or send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sample Letter opposing TAM HB-1003 and SB-0851:
(Your name and address here)
Subject: House Bill #HB1003 and Senate Bill SB0851
Dear Governor Hogan,
I am sending this letter in opposition to the House Bill #HB1003 and Senate Bill #SB0851. These two bills propose the Telecommunication Access of Maryland (TAM) program to be transferred from the Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT) to the MD Department of Disabilities (MDoD).
I have been a resident of Maryland since (insert the year you moved to Maryland) and have been deaf since birth. I’m unable to hear on the phone and I rely on some form of telecommunications relay service (TRS).
I recommend having the TAM program transferred to the MD Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GODHH) for the following reasons:
- ODHH is the sole state office that provides expertise related to deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Maryland.
- ODHH was established in October 2001 through legislation (Chapter 537 of the Acts of 2001 General Assembly).
- According to MD State Govt Code 9-2403, the responsibilities of the Office shall include:
- providing, advocating, and coordinating the adoption of public policies, regulations, and programs that will benefit deaf and hard of hearing individuals;
- improving access to communication and to existing services and programs for deaf and hard of hearing individuals;
- providing direct services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals as appropriate;
TAM program would fit perfectly under “direct services” and this is our opportunity now to move all D/HH related services/programs under the purview of ODHH and consolidate all the resources in one place.
I’m opposed to MDOD handling TAM due to their lack of knowledge, understanding and empathy of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) community in Maryland. In addition, MDOD has no clear history or track record of advocating on behalf of D/HH Marylanders.
Please amend these two bills HB1003 and SB0851 replacing MDOD with GODHH or conduct a summer study with the understanding that ODHH lead this study and that the committee consist of at least 51% D/HH members.
Thank you for listening to my concerns.