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opinions from the head lemur
[Posted] October 09, 2000

U.S. Representative David L. Hobson's Day in the Barrel

I am writing this as a Citizen of the United States, a very small businessman, taxpayer and a Registered Voter. I am also writing this as a citizen of the portion of the Internet known as the World Wide Web.

I make my living on the Web. I express my opinions here, I help my clients to do business on the web.

Before we get to the questions, I would like to take a few moments to introduce you to our World Wide Audience

R E P R E S E N T A T I V E ( R - O H ) David L. Hobson is the United States Representative for the 7th Congressional of the State of Ohio. As a Congressman, his job is to represent the fine folks of his district in Ohio, and to help the rest of the people of the United States of America as an Elected Representative of the people, including myself.
Congressman Hobson serves on the House Appropriations Committee. He is Chairman of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, and is a member of the Defense and VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittees. Congressman Hobson also serves as Assistant Majority Whip.

The Appropriations Committees are where the bucks start. This is where the checks are approved for every law that is written that requires the government to spend our tax dollars. In American politics, it really doesn't matter what bill is written, sooner or later it has to be approved by an Appropriations Committee.

As his roles indicate, he is a player in Congress. As a member of the Defense Appropriations Committee, he has the responsibility to see that our money is spent wisely. Defense, which makes up a large portion of the money spent by the government, for supporting the infrastructure for our armed forces, from the weapons, to the housing, to the hospitals, to care for the casualties of war.

Being a member of the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, he is again responsible for seeing that money for the Veterans and Public Housing is well spent.

Congressman Hobson has a lot of power in real terms. He also has a responsibility not to sell his constituents down the river.

One of the most farsighted, truly bi-partisan pieces of legislation to come out of Washington was the Section 508 of the WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998, which required all United States Federal Agencies, with websites, to have them accessible to individuals with disabilities, within 24 months of enaction of this law. This would have been August 7 2000.

It is now your day in the barrel. It will be a long one. Why? Because your name is on this bill which is now law.

You were the Only sponsor of this bill:
Military Construction Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001.

This by itself is unusual, but not without precedent. Buried in this bill is the following nugget:

from the Military Construction Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001
(HR. 4425; P.L. 106-246; July 13, 2000)

SEC. 2405. Section 508(f)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d(f)(1)) is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `Effective' and all that follows through `1998,' and inserting `Effective 6 months after the date of publication by the Access Board of final standards described in subsection (a)(2),'; and

The deleted portion--(A) COMPLAINTS.--Effective 2 years after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, any individual with a disability may file a complaint alleging that a Federal department or agency fails to comply with subsection (a)(1) in providing electronic and information technology.

(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking `2 years' and all that follows and inserting `6 months after the date of publication by the Access Board of final standards described in subsection (a)(2).'.

The deleted portion--(B) APPLICATION.--This subsection shall apply only to electronic and information technology that is procured by a Federal department or agency not less than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.

This legislation which is now law, effectively cuts the legs from the Section 508 regulations regarding web site accessibility for the disabled.

Two points that come to mind immediately.

There is no end date. This will under most circumstances, allow a group to disguise "motion as activity" by holding meetings, generate interim reports and collect a check.

There is no accountability. There is nothing in the regulations as originally written that would create an undue burden on the government, with the testimony given, with the accessibility standards that were used as a guide in 1998.

It is now your day in the barrel. It will be a long one. Why? Because your name is on this bill which is now law.

A few Questions for U.S Representative David L Hobson.

Why did you change the Section 508 Regulations? It has nothing to do with Military Construction Projects.

Do you understand that by passing this legislation, you have denied the Veterans and Senior Citizens, both groups that you point out on your website with logos for Social Security, and The Department of Veterans Affairs, which are just links to take them to the Social Security and VA websites, that have a much higher percentage of disabled individuals, than the rest of the population, access to the internet and to the services the goverment provides by law?

Do our Disabled Veterans, who gave their blood and body parts to preserve our liberty, rate as second class citizens?

Do our Senior Citizens deserve equal access, or since they are retired, they should just die?

Are you uncomfortable with the web and the idea that anyone with a internet connection can read, be exposed to ideas other than your own and offer their opinions?

Are you against saving the taxpayers money, by the savings to be realized by offering the services of the government on the web. (you could use the money saved to close the Digital Divide, provide education, and maybe even help the next group of voters.)

Does the idea of the disabled having equal access to the services of the goverment, who also vote, make you nervous?

Are you mad that they are afforded the best parking spots next to the door?

I am holding you personally responsible, and with the power of the Internet, I would be real suprised if you don't also hear from some other folks.

Your name is on the bill. It is not a staffer's oversight, it is not a mistake, it is a problem that you created.

A function of Leadership is to accept responsibility for your actions.

It is also a function of Leadership to protect and help the less fortunate, regardless of circumstances.

You can email me here

Open Secrets.Org is a website created by the Center for Responsive Politics, that tracks politicians, political races, and financial information surrounding Incumbent politicians and the opponents in almost every state and district across the United States. (you can use it for your representitive later)

David L. Hobson Political Profile
Source: Open Secrets. Org

Where the Congressman's money comes from.

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