Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to support CRPD Treaty

On Nov. 5, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in an effort to garner the support of two-thirds of the Senate, the amount needed for ratification. The CRPD was the first international treaty created to protect disability rights on a global scale, and it establishes a standard to help people with disabilities participate in society.

The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006, and it has since been signed and ratified by 132 countries. Despite the treaty being modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. has not yet ratified it. Adoption of the CRPD would not require any changes in U.S. law; instead, the treaty would serve as a model for other countries that have yet to accept its conditions.

President Obama signed the treaty in 2009. On Dec. 4, 2012, the U.S. Senate considered ratification, but, despite intense lobbying, it fell just five votes shy of the required two-thirds majority.

Last year, NCRA, through the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance, submitted a letter to all senators, asking for their full support. NCRA continues to stand ready to work with the U.S. Senate to ratify the CRPD, and the association is optimistic that ratification will occur this session.

Senate fails to ratify United Nations CRPD treaty

The United States Senate failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Treaty from the United Nations by a vote of 61 in favor to 38 opposed. Like all treaties, the CRPD would have required 67 votes (two-thirds of the Senate) in favor of ratification. The treaty was supported by all 54 Democrats and seven Republicans while 38 Republicans voted against the treaty, believing that the CRPD treaty conflicted with current U.S. law.

NCRA, through the Deaf and Hard-of- Hearing Alliance, submitted letters to all Senators, asking for their support in ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The DHHA is a multi-organizational alliance that consists of organizations with a strong interest in promoting public policy and education on issues affecting the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, and NCRA is a current member of the DHHA. The DHHA worked throughout the year to inform the Senate of the importance of ratifying this treaty. The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006. Taking one of the most significant steps to date to help promote and ensure disability rights globally, the CRPD was the first international treaty that protects disability rights on a global scale and establishes a standard to help people with disabilities participate in society.

NCRA remains committed to working with the DHHA to promote disability rights. Please contact NCRA’s Government Relations Department at govrelations@ncra.org with any questions.

Washington watch

NCRA promotes hearing health rights

In late July, NCRA, through the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance, submitted letters to all U.S. Senators, asking for their support in ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006. Taking one of the most significant steps to date to help promote and ensure disability rights globally, the CRPD is the first international treaty to protect disability rights on a global scale and establish a standard to help people with disabilities participate in society.

Like all treaties, the CRPD requires 67 senators to vote in favor of ratification. The treaty passed out of the Senate’s Foreign Relations committee by a vote of 13- 6. The treaty requires the following provisions from all countries that have ratified it:

  • Non-discrimination against individuals with disabilities;
  • Allowing individuals with disabilities full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
  • Respect for differences and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; and
  • Equality of opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

In July 2009, the United States signed the CRPD, becoming the 142nd country to sign on in support. Today, 153 countries have signed on to the treaty and 112 of those have ratified the treaty, including key United States alliances such as Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, and many European nations. The Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance is a coalition that consists of organizations with a strong interest in promoting public policy and education on issues affecting the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. NCRA is a current member of the DHHA. NCRA stands ready to work with the United States Senate to ratify the CRPD. Please contact NCRA’s Government Relations Department (govrelations@ncra.org) with any questions.

LOCAL COURTHOUSE SAFETY ACT PASSES OUT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On September 11, 2012, the Local Court house Safety Act of 2012 cleared a critical hurdle by passing out of the House of Representatives. The legislation still must pass the United States Senate and be signed by President Obama in order to become law. If it is passed into law, the Local Courthouse Safety Act will allow courthouses to receive unused security equipment like metal detectors, wands, and baggage screeners from federal agencies. It will also allow courthouses to allocate existing federal funding toward security training for court personnel. Essentially, this law strengthens security at courthouses around the country and provides excess equipment to help local security personnel better do their jobs.

The Local Courthouse Safety Act previously passed out of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee’s with bipartisan support and little opposition.

NCRA’s Government Relations Department has taken an active role with members of Congress in promoting the importance of this vital piece of legislation and will continue to do so over the coming months until the bill is signed into law. NCRA appreciates the leadership and hard work done by the initial sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida.

NCRA is committed to seeing this important legislation progress, and our Government Relations team is working closely with the Senate to get this legislation passed.

For more information on the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, contact NCRA’s Government Relations Department (govrelations@ncra.org) with any questions.

COURTING DISASTER PROMISES REVOLUTIONARY LEARNING AND BRAINY FUN

NCRA is pleased to announce the release of Courting Disaster, the first online learning game designed to simulate the unique challenges that court reporters face every day. The game will be free to play and will offer a one-of-a-kind interactive learning experience for court reporters, students, and anyone interested in the reporting profession.

Reporters will have the option to claim CEU credit by purchasing a follow-up e-seminar that explores the issues encountered in the game in more detail. Check out Courting Disaster—it will be the most fun you’ve ever had learning! Visit www.ncra.org/courtingdisaster to play the game.