Louisiana Legislation 2018
HB 27 supplements legislation passed last year, ACT 273 (HB 582); modernizing the Telecommunication Fund for the Deaf Tax to include wireless accounts at 4.5 cents a month with an additional half cent, raising the tax to 5 cents. This tax funds the operations of the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf, the sole state agency serving the Deaf community of all ages, with services such as Interpreting, Hearing Aids for 55+, Assistive Technology/Telecommunication equipment, and the Support Service Provider Program for the DeafBlind. Note: This bill was passed in the 2018 first extraordinary session and was signed by the Governor on March 6, 2018 becoming ACT 2. Yay!
HB 474 proposes to add to existing training provided by P.O.S.T. (Peace Officers Standardized Training) to include Sensitivity & Awareness Training in regards to the Deaf community as well as creating a clearer understanding of the exceptional and invisible disability.
HB 14 adds Teachers of the Deaf, Interpreters, and Transliterators who have retired to return to work as recognized critical shortage personnel. The demand for such staffing is high and this legislation allows for potential incentives and flexibility to fulfill the needs for such positions.
HB 199, Louisiana LEAD-K (Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids), proposes to establish a task force of professionals to recommend a framework to assess the language milestones of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children ages 0-5 for both English and American Sign Language (ASL). This is a first step towards collecting valuable data to end the language deprivation epidemic among Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.