On Tuesday, March 14th, Illinois Senate Committee members voted unanimously to approve a bill to make the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission more accountable, professional and active in improving the lives of deaf people.
The bill would require that people appointed by the governor to the Springfield-based commission’s board would have to be confirmed by the Senate. It would also require the commission to advocate for the deaf and provide a range of services. The bill would also increase the number of board members from 6 to 8. The board would have to be made up of specific people such as a parent or guardian of a deaf child, and a person who is both deaf and blind.
A total of 9 people including the current commission’s director John Miller, informed the Senate committee they oppose the bill. 134 people have said they support it.
We reached out to Corey Axelrod, the president of the Illinois Association of the Deaf, who is in favor of the bill. Take a look.
Earlier this month on March 14th, IAD representatives were sworn in, in front of the Human Service Committee in Springfield Illinois. The committee focuses on various bills that connect with Human services. Jason Altman, IAD legislator Chair and myself after being sworn in, explained why we should improve the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. The committee decided to pass the bill out of the committee, that means now the bill is being proposed to the senate floor before the entire senate to vote on it. Once the bill is passed, it will be moved to the House of Representatives. The bill will follow same process as the Senate, once the House passes the bill, it will go to the house floor for voting. Once the Bill is passed on the House floor, the Governor will sign the bill into effect. We're excited about the success we've had knowing our work is not done. There will still be a lot of work to educate members of general assembly, the Senate and Representatives on why we need to improve Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. And how their roles can truly help the Deaf community in the state of Illinois. We're excited, optimistic, and looking forward to what will happen the next couple of weeks.