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Public Hearing Set for January 11 on Statewide Vision Service Registry

Contact Your State Representative and Ask Them to Support AB 490!

The Wisconsin State Assembly’s Committee on Health is holding a public hearing on January 11 on Assembly Bill 490, which would create a registry for children who are diagnosed with blindness or a visual impairment.  The registry will help connect families to agencies like Vision Forward and providers that are equipped to meet the unique needs of children who are blind or visually impaired.

Vision Forward is in strong support of the bill and will testify at the public hearing on January 11.

HOW YOU CAN HELP! 

Action Item #1–Let us Know If You Want to Speak at or Attend the Public Hearing:  We are looking for stakeholders who would be willing to testify at the upcoming hearing on January 11.  It will be helpful to share stories from families of children who would have been better served if the registry existed or from professionals who worked with children who were disadvantaged because as young children they were not connected with services early.  If you are interested in participating in the public hearing, please contact Jacci Borchardt, Director of Operations, 414-615-0121 or jborchardt@vision-forward.org.

Action Item #2 Email Your State Representative and Ask for Their Support of the Bill: E-mail your State Representative and ask for their support of AB 490. If you get a response from your lawmaker, please let us know.

Draft Email For You to Customize and Send to Your State Representative

Dear [Representative XXXXX]:

I live in [insert your city or town so the lawmaker knows you are a constituent], and I am a [insert affiliation–i.e. parent of a child who is visually impaired, vision service provider, Vision Forward Board member, etc.] I am writing to ask for your support of Assembly Bill 490, which would create a registry for children who are blind or visually impaired. The registry will help connect families to agencies and providers that are specifically trained to meet the unique needs of these children. Participation in the registry is voluntary and would be up to the child’s parents.

As much as 90% of what children learn in the first three years of life is acquired visually. Without proper support, children who are blind or visually impaired can experience dramatic developmental delays.

[provide details about your connection to this issue and why you believe a registry is needed. If you are a parent, you can talk about how you would have benefitted from registry and your experience accessing vision services without one. If you are a vision services provider, you can talk about the importance of your job and provide examples of why it is so important for children who are blind or visually impaired to get connected to you.].

I would appreciate your support of Assembly Bill 490.

Sincerely,
[Name and Address]

How to Contact Your Legislators:

The first step in contacting your legislator is knowing who your legislator is. The easiest way to do this is the tool found on the Legislature’s home page, at http://legis.wisconsin.gov. In the right-hand side of that page is a link that says Find My Legislators!  Type your address in the box below that link to get the names of your state representative and senator.

Phone: You may leave a message for your legislator’s Capitol office or indicate your position on legislation through the toll free Legislative Hotline, at 1-800-362-9472.

E-mail: The e-mail addresses of members of the Wisconsin Legislature all have the same format. For members of the Assembly, the form is Rep.Jones@legis.wisconsin.gov; for members of the Senate, the form is Sen.Adams@legis.wisconsin.gov.

   

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