Phone access for deafA Senate committee passed a House...

CAPITAL MATTERS

March 29, 1991

Phone access for deaf

A Senate committee passed a House bill yesterday that would authorize funding for a telephone access system for the deaf. The unanimous vote by the Senate Finance Committee would allow the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. to pay for the system by charging all customers 45 cents a month as a separate item on their phone bills.

The system would provide a relay center between hearing phone users and those who must communicate with a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD). The federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 required local phone companies to set up a statewide relay system by 1993.

The House version of the bill would have allowed C&P to continue the 45-cent surcharge until the end of 1993. After that the company would have to incorporate the costs of running the system into its normal rates, which wouldn't appear as a separate phone bill item. The Senate panel amended the bill to allow the state's Public Service Commission to decide in 1994 whether the surcharge could continue.

Quote of the day

"Read their budget, not their lips."

Paul Schurick, Gov. William Donald Schaefer's press secretary, referring to tax approved yesterday by a legislative conference committee

Today

10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.

1 p.m.: Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee considers bill involving continuing education for social workers, Room 200, Senate Office Building.

1 p.m.: House Judiciary Committee considers Senate version of Schaefer administration's mandatory seat belt law, Room 120, House Office Building.

Eleven days remain in the 1991 General Assembly session.

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