On November 7, 2017, Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia introduced the Senate version of the Cogswell-Macy Act (S. 2087). In celebration of this step forward, AFB and other organizations serving and representing children who are blind, visually impaired, deafblind, deaf, or hard of hearing are organizing a call-in day to attract more support for the Cogswell-Macy Act in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Introduction is a critical part of making the bill into a law, but we still need more support from members of Congress who are willing to cosponsor the bill and eventually bring it to a vote. Join us in asking your Members of Congress to support the Cogswell-Macy Act and in thanking those members who have already signed on.
The Cogswell-Macy Act is the most comprehensive special education legislation for students with sensory disabilities to date. This act seeks to expand the resources available to these students, and their parents and educators, through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
AFB will provide all the resources you need to call in on November 15, 2017. However, even if you miss the special day of action, please feel free to call whenever you are available!
Call on Your Senators and Representatives to Support the Cogswell-Macy Act
How to Make the Call in Five Simple Steps
- Dial this call-in number: 1-855-754-MACY (1-855-754-6229). You will hear an audio message with further instructions.
- Enter your zip code to connect to your U.S. House of Representatives member or to each of your two U.S. Senators.
- Identify yourself and let them know that you are a constituent.
- Ask your member of Congress, or their staff, to support the Cogswell-Macy Act, and ask for their position on this legislation.
- Repeat: After connecting to each office, you will need to call back to reach another office. To skip the instructions message, you can simply enter your zip code at any time, and you will be directed to select the next member of Congress.
Here are two suggested scripts, but feel free to improvise!
If you are calling a Representative’s office, you can say: “Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city), __________ (state). I’m calling to ask Representative _________ (name of Representative) to co-sponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act – H.R. 1120. I support this bill because it will improve access to important and necessary education and services for children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind. I am hoping I can count on Representative _________’s support. Please let me know (his or her) position on this bill.”
If you are calling a Senator’s office, you can say: “Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city), __________ (state). I’m calling to ask Senator _________ (name of Senator) to cosponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act, bipartisan legislation which was introduced in the Senate as S. 2087. I support this bill because it will improve access to important and necessary education and services for children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind. I am hoping I can count on Senator _________’s support. Please let me know (his or her) position on this bill.”
If you’re leaving a message on an answering machine, provide your phone number or email address so that the office can get back to you.
Don't be disappointed if you only talk to a receptionist or if you get your legislator's voicemail; the fact that you are their constituent and are taking the time to bring the Cogswell-Macy Act to their attention is what it's all about. If you like, you can ask to speak to the staffer in the office who works on special education issues. Once you've made your calls, we'd love to hear how it went, so please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your advocacy for children who are blind or visually impaired!
If you’re asked for more information (or if you want to provide more details), you can mention that the Cogswell-Macy Act will:
- ensure specialized instruction specifically for students who are visually impaired, deafblind, or deaf or hard of hearing.
- increase the availability of services and resources by ensuring all students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deafblind are accounted for.
- enhance accountability at the state and federal levels.
- increase research into best practices for teaching and evaluating students with visual impairments by establishing the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Visual Disability and Educational Excellence—a collaborative consortium of nonprofits, higher education institutions, and other agencies to provide technical support, research assistance, and professional development.
When you make your calls, you are welcome to direct any questions you may get about the Cogswell-Macy Act to our website: www.afb.org/CogswellMacyAct
We have also made available talking points in both English and Spanish that can be read online or printed out.
Don't forget to say "Thank you!"
If one or more of your members of Congress is already a co-sponsor, please feel free to call and express your thanks for their support!
If you can't call on November 15th...
If you can't make the calls on November 15, 2017, we encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress anyway! You may still use the instructions above to reach your Members of Congress.