by Melanie Brunson
It gives me great pleasure to report to you that the members of the 111th Congress have provided American pedestrians, particularly those who have visual impairments, with yet another cause for celebration. During the final days of their legislative session, both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010. The measure passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and it passed the House by a vote of 379 to 30. This represents a huge victory for both of the consumer organizations of people who are blind that worked on this legislation during the past three years. The letters, phone calls, and other advocacy activities undertaken by our members were crucial to the success of this effort. I want to publicly thank everyone who helped in this manner. You helped us get the message to members of Congress, and apparently, it hit home. The expressions of support for this bill were both numerous and passionate.
The bill has now moved on to the White House, and is awaiting the President's signature. Stay tuned to future issues of "The Braille Forum" for details of what this bill's passage will mean.
But don't let those advocacy skills get rusty! Our legislative activity is far from over. There will be a new Congress taking office in January, and it will have a record number of new members. We will need to make certain they are aware of the capabilities of people who are blind, as well as call their attention to issues that are of concern to our community. You can be sure we will be asking for your help once again. Let's all get ready to roll up our sleeves and start again in the new year. Until then, thank you for all you have done, and best wishes for the year ahead.