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National Council on Disability Monthly Bulletin for February, 2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is the National Council on Disability's monthly bulletin for February 2009:

A Monthly Newsletter from the National Council on Disability (NCD)

John R. Vaughn, Chairperson

February 2009

NCD--30 Years of Disability Policy Leadership -- 1978-2008

NCD Conducts Quarterly Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ

NCD conducted its Winter quarterly meeting January 12-14 in Scottsdale, AZ, with over 140 people in attendance.

On January 12, after conducting the general business of the agency, NCD heard a presentation on the signing and ratification process for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Eric Rosenthal, Founder and Executive Director, Mental Disability Rights International.

On January 13, NCD heard a presentation by Trent Hamblin, Director of Operations, UTM Event Management and RTW Management, on his experiences during the evacuations for recent hurricanes.

NCD also heard employment-related presentations by Kevin Foster, Director, Human Resources, Motorola, and Tom Siegfried, Co-Director, Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program, InterWork Institute, San Diego State University.

Presentations about a variety of issues impacting people with disabilities in the Southwestern United States were given by Tony DiRienzi, Executive Director, Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council; Treva Roanhorse, President, Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation; Jimmy Warne, Director, Center for American Indian Rehabilitation at SDSU; Randy Collins, Director, Arizona Assistive Technology Act Project; and Mike Blatchford, Executive Director, Assist to Independence Center for Independent Living in Tuba City, Arizona.

NCD conducted a policy forum on disability healthcare, which is of great interest to the Council. Presenters included Leonard Kirschner, President, AARP, Arizona; Anthony Rodgers, Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System; Merrill Friedman, Assistant Vice President, Amerigroup Corporation; Jude Walker, Division Chief, Member and Provider Services, Education Advocacy, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Public Health Prevention Services, Arizona Department of Health Services; and Jill Rissi, Director for Research and Policy, St. Luke's Health Initiatives.

Updates on regional programs funded under the Developmental Disabilities Act were given by Andrew Mudryk, Southern California Litigation Director, Disability Rights California; Pat Putnam, Executive Director, New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council; and Barbara Brent, Assistant Director, Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Summaries of those presentations can be found at

During the Unfinished Business section of the meeting, NCD voted to send a letter to President Barack Obama recommending that he sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which opened for signature in March 2007, and entered into force in May 2008. To date, 137 countries have signed the CRPD and 46 have ratified it to become States Parties. On March 5, 2007, NCD sent a similar letter to then President George W. Bush.

More NCD information on the Convention can be found at

NCD also voted to continue its membership in the United States International Council on Disabilities (

Current Issues

NCD's current list of issues and projects for 2009 and beyond include studies and reports on:

  • The Current State of Health Care for People with Disabilities
  • Invisible Wounds: Serving Service Members and Veterans with PTSD and TBI
  • Effective Homeland Security Practices for Use by Communities and People with Disabilities
  • National Disability Policy: A Progress Report
  • 2008 Housing Initiative
  • Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act: Implementation, Evaluation and Recommendations for Reauthorization
  • Workforce Infrastructure in Support of People with Disabilities: Matching Human Resources to Service Needs
  • Improving the Participation Rate of People with Targeted Disabilities in the Federal Workforce

2010 National Summit on Disability Policy Update

NCD's 2010 National Summit on Disability Policy will take place July 26-27, 2010, in Washington, DC.

This Summit will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. More than 300 people with disabilities and prominent stakeholders, including federal, community, and private sector disability experts, will be invited to confer and exchange ideas on significant themes for all people with disabilities.

Issue papers to be drafted in 2009 will identify key factors surrounding important issues, and will become the basis of discussion for Summit delegates as they craft policy recommendations for the future. Topics include Civil Rights (including voting issues), Employment (including asset accumulation and finance), Education, Health Care (including Mental Health Care, i.e. whole health), Transportation, Housing, Telecommunications and Technology, International, Homeland Security (including emergency preparedness), and Disability Statistics and Data.

NCD is also seeking sponsors who may be interested in supporting this worthwhile event. If you are interested, please contact NCD Executive Director Mike Collins at NCD's first disability policy summit took place in 1996 in Dallas, TX. It resulted in a report entitled Achieving Independence (

A Web page dedicated to the Summit is in development. Please visit in the coming months to find the link.

New DTV Deadline: June 12

On February 4, 2009, Congress approved a four-month delay in plans to stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. The new deadline is June 12. One year ago, at a Federal Communications Commission workshop, NCD expressed its concern about the digital television (DTV) transition and its impact on people with disabilities ( Find out more about whether or not you will be impacted by the DTV transition by visiting

The transition may also disproportionately affect certain segments of the population, especially those who are more likely to have older, analog televisions and rely exclusively upon free over-the-air television, that is, those who do not subscribe to cable, satellite, or some other paid television service. These affected populations include many people with disabilities. Generally, any consumer with an analog television who is not connected to cable or satellite has three basic options for preparing for the DTV transition:

1) Purchase a digital-to-analog converter box and connect it to their analog set. Congress has established a program to assist consumers in purchasing converter boxes. Under this program, every household is entitled to two $40 coupons, each of which can be used to help purchase a converter box. Coupons may be requested from or by calling 888-DTV-2009. Consumers who have not applied for a TV Converter Box Coupon may still do so, but they will be placed on a waiting list. Requests from eligible households continue to be filled as funds become available from expired and unredeemed coupons, or

2) Buy a digital television (a TV with a built in digital tuner). You do not have to buy a High Definition TV (HDTV) to receive digital television programming, or

3) Subscribe to a paid TV service. Those who subscribe to a paid service such as cable or satellite should contact their service provider to see what, if any, equipment they may need.

Former NCD Advisory Committee Members Honored

Former NCD Youth Advisory Committee members Stephanie Enyart and Victor Pineda are winners of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) 2009 Paul G. Hearne Award. Ms. Enyart is a recent UCLA graduate and founding member and president of the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities. Mr. Pineda is a doctoral candidate, founder and president of the Victor Pineda Foundation, an educational nonprofit, and manages The Disability Media Initiative. The AAPD award ( recognizes young leaders. Congratulations to both.

Quarterly Meetings Update

The NCD Spring quarterly meeting will be held March 30-April 1, 2009, at the Academy for Educational Development Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

On Tuesday, March 31 at 10:00 a.m., NCD will release a paper entitled Federal Employment of People with Disabilities, which examines the status of employment of people with disabilities in the Federal Government and makes recommendations for improving federal hiring and advancement of employees with disabilities.

On Tuesday afternoon, March 31, NCD will also release its annual report entitled National Disability: A Progress Report, which is a congressionally mandated snapshot of the current state of disability in the United States.

The NCD Summer quarterly meeting will be held July 20-22, 2009, at the Marriott City Center, 30 South 7th Street in Minneapolis, MN.

The Fall quarterly meeting will be held October 26-28 in Nashville, TN.

The next Winter quarterly meeting will be held in Houston, TX in January 2010. Watch our Web site at for additional details on all meetings.

About the NCD Bulletin

The Bulletin, which is also available at NCD's Web site (, brings you the latest issues and news affecting people with disabilities. To subscribe to the NCD listserv, go to, click on Online mailing list archives, select NCD-NEWS-L, click on Join or leave the list, then complete the short subscription form.

Editorial comments can be sent to Bulletin editor Mark S. Quigley at

SOURCE National Council on Disability
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