Legislative News and a Request from the National Office

by Melanie Brunson

Two of the items on ACB's 2011 legislative agenda have attracted quite a bit of interest in Congressional offices during the months since our legislative seminar. Thanks in large part to the work of ACB members, H.R. 860, which amends the Internal Revenue Code to promote charitable donations of qualified vehicles, has gained 61 co-sponsors. As readers may remember, vehicle donation has been a very beneficial revenue-raising option in the past for both ACB and its affiliates, but recent changes to the tax code made it much more difficult for people to donate vehicles to charity, and for charities to rely on such donations for revenue. This bill would reverse those harmful changes. I urge readers to take a look at the list of co-sponsors. If your representative is on the list, please take the time to thank him or her. If not, please ask him or her to support H.R.860.
The bill's sponsors are John B. Larson (D-Conn.) and David G. Reichert (R-Wash.). Current co-sponsors include: W. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.), Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.), Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), Michael E. Capuano (D-Mass.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Gerald E. "Gerry" Connolly (D-Va.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), Christopher P. Gibson (R-N.Y.), Charles A. Gonzalez (D-Tex.), Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr. (D-Ga.), Timothy V. Johnson (R-Ill.), James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Robert E. Latta (R-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), James P. Moran (D-Va.), Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), Ron Paul (R-Tex.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Fortney Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio), John F. Tierney (D-Mass.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Robert J. Wittman (R-Va.), Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), Lynn C. Woolsey (D-Calif.), and John A. Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

Another issue that has captured a lot of attention is accessible labeling for prescription drugs. We do not have an actual bill to introduce yet, but we are working very closely with Congressional staffers who are interested in helping us develop a legislative proposal. These discussions have led to a request, which I am about to pass on to you. As we talk with members of Congress and their staffers, it is helpful to have specific information that illustrates the need for accessible prescription drug labels. We would like to put together examples of situations in which people with visual impairments had difficulties because of their inability to identify their prescription medications. If you, or someone you know, has a story to tell about such an incident, especially if your inability to identify a prescription impacted your own or someone else's health, we would like to hear from you. Please send your stories about this to Eric Bridges, ACB's director of advocacy and governmental affairs, at the national office. You can e-mail him at ebridges@acb.org, or send them by mail to the office address listed on the cover of this magazine. Make sure you tell us your full name and the city and state you live in. We will compile these stories for use in our meetings on Capitol Hill. The information they provide will also serve as the foundation for the background material in support of our proposal.

If you have questions about either of these proposals, please feel free to contact Eric Bridges. We both thank you for your help and we'll keep you posted as these and other legislative activities move forward.