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By Brian Everstine, Staff writer
March 31, 2015

A group of lawmakers want to allow deaf people and others who are hard of hearing serve in the Air Force through a demonstration program.

The Keith Nolan Air Force Demonstration Act, introduced March 26 by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., would create a program for 15 to 20 deaf or other hard of hearing people to serve in the Air Force. The Defense Department's medical standards for enlistment exclude potential airmen who are deaf or who use hearing aids or other devices, such as a cochlear implants.

"Over the past few decades, our military has given groups who were previously excluded the opportunity to serve," Takano said in a statement. "It is time for the armed forces to do the same for individuals with auditory impairments, as many are fully qualified model cadets."

This is the second time Takano has pushed for this legislation. It failed in 2014.

The bill is named for Keith Nolan, an Army ROTC cadet in California who could not advance into the service because he did not pass the hearing test.


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Disability Scoop
 February 17, 2015

The federal agency tasked with regulating telephones, television and other communications technology is looking for advice on how to better serve people with disabilities.

The Federal Communications Commission is convening a disability advisory committee for the first time.

The 40-member panel, which will hold its first meeting in March, will advise and provide recommendations to regulators on topics ranging from the accessibility of 911 services to closed captioning and telecommunications relay services.

Members include executives from major players like Yahoo, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast in addition to advocates from disability organizations, consumers and government officials.

“This new committee will provide sorely needed expertise and recommendations from consumer and industry stakeholders on communications and video programming issues,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. “We look forward to using this expertise to improve our ability to meet the needs of consumers with disabilities.”

Original Article

Advocacy Alert -

Come to the Rally To Celebrate Legislation Supporting a Department of Defense Demonstration Program For the Accession to Active Duty of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals

September 12, 2014 Friday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Assembling at Lafayette Park at the northern lawn of the White House

Directions and Route of Rally

Rally Information




People otherwise fit for duty would be given chance

AirForce Times
Aug. 2, 2014
By Kristin Davis  - Staff writer
Article Source

A lawmaker who advocates for the deaf is calling for a trial program that would allow a small number of hearing impaired to serve in the Air Force.

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., introduced in the House on Wednesday legislation that would give 15 to 20 people who are deaf or hard of hearing but otherwise fit for military duty the chance to serve their country.

The Defense Department excludes from service those who are deaf, use a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a DoD spokesman, said that is for good reason.

“In all areas of military life, but especially in combat, an individual's life and the lives of his or her comrades may depend on what individuals can hear. Situations could occur where hearing impairment would not only result in injury or loss of life, but could jeopardize a unit's mission,” he said in an email. “Individuals who are physically disqualified for military duty can and do become civilian members of the team. The work they perform for the Department and our country is valuable and rewarding but without the rigors of military duty.”

The proposed legislation is a companion to a bill introduced in the Senate in December by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who has noted the military allows service members who acquire a disability while serving their country to remain on active duty.

Read more  . . .