Saturday, June 26, 2010

Transcript from the AB 2072 hearing

Here is an excerpt from the transcript of the AB 2072 hearing last June 23rd -

Transcript of comments by Senator Gloria Romero during Wednesday's proceedings of the Senate Health Committee of the California state legislature

SENATOR ALQUIST: Senator Romero.

SENATOR GLORIA ROMERO: Thank you, Madam Chair. I have looked at this bill and I am urging the--I'd like to urge the Assemblyman to consider the amendments and to adopt the amendments that have been brought forward by the opposition.

Madam chair, I appreciate the work of the committee, some of these I think I can share, but others I do have concerns about. As a psychologist and educator myself, I do think that it sends--intended or not--an unintended consequence that by moving this out of Department of Education into DDS [Department of Developmental Services], it clearly establishes this in the medical model. If we keep it within the Department of Education, I think it reaffirms that language is learned. And in looking at American Sign Language, this is not just a popular language, this is the third most popular language in this country.


SEN. ROMERO (cont.): I think it is--

SEN. ALQUIST [to audience]: Excuse me, we will have no clapping. The sergeants are here. We will have it quiet, so we can all [pause] understand what is going on. Thank you very much.

SEN. ROMERO: So as I approach--and as I have learned quite a bit from both the opponents and proponents, and from mothers who I know in my own life--the question that I start with asking is: [pause] What are we trying to fix? That's the question that I have to ask: What are we trying to fix? Are we trying to fix deafness? And I would have to answer--if that is the question, then I would say: No. [pause] Because, American Sign Language is a language--maybe one that maybe many of us are not familiar with, but it is a language. It's recognized. And if we start from the premise of asking: What are we trying to fix? then I would have to ask: How far are we willing to go? Are we going to fix gay children? Are we going to fix dark-skinned infants and give brochures to parents saying: "This is how you can bleach skin"? Are we going to fix the curl of the hair?--I mean, I must honestly ask this question, because I think these are some of the concerns. And I'm not saying it's intended in this bill, but if we're talking about fixing, those are questions, even in the history of this state, that I think--look at this beautiful mural [gesturing], but there's another mural that we could perhaps paint of California.

So that's the question: What are we trying to fix? [pause] In terms of looking at the amendments--and that's what I fundamentally believe that by moving it to DDS it clearly establishes it in the medical model in need of fixing something, as opposed to the Department of Education, which maintains that this is a linguistic skill, ability and opportunity to continue to oversee. I think, just a--So I would ask the author [gesturing to Assemblymember Mendoza] to consider that [gesturing to the Chair] and the Chair as well, my views.

In terms of the question of the audiologist, I do believe that this is an inherent financial conflict of interest, and I would not feel comfortable by having the audiologist, with a clear financial interest, to be the gatekeeper to parents for information on issues related to hearing.

In terms of--I mean, there's other issues as well that we can raise--The advisory committee that's been proposed I think is balanced and fair, from the opponents. I would ask us to look at that, but I go back to that fundamental question [said with emphasis]: I do not understand what we are trying to fix.

And it does become a question of understanding and embracing the culture of deafness, a language which exists, a language which is the third most popular in this country--a language which I've tried to learn, in fact, as well, and haven't been good at it. So I would ask the author, I appreciate your efforts. I understand, I think [gesturing toward Assemblymember Mendoza] good intentions in bringing this forward, but I am compelled by the [arguments of the] opposition--and would ask you to consider adopting the amendments that have been offered by the opposition.

[Transcript is unofficial.]
LINK TO VIDEO (00:58:37 to 1:03:10):