Hello Listers, I hope this is something everyone will get behind. We'll all benefit. Many thanks for reading, considering and calling! Sila Greetings everyone, As you know, FCB has chosen as its legislative imperative for the 2012 session of the Florida Legislature, HB 405 introduced by Rep. Taylor for the purpose of educating about and enforcement of Florida's White Cane Law. I am delighted to tell you that we now have a Companion Bill in the Florida Senate, SB 1192, introduced by our friend, Senator Evelyn Lynn, that exactly mirrors the House Bill on which stakeholders had such significant input. . Once again we have joined in coalition with the National Federation of the Blind of Florida (NFBF) and the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB). Please phone the legislators representing you in the Florida House and Senate asking them to co-sponsor and actively support this legislation. A short time ago, the Position Paper prepared by Paul Edwards, Doug Hall and me and approved by the coalition referenced above was circulated on this list. At that time, there was no Senate Bill. As a result, I am attaching to this post the Position Paper that now lists both bills and acknowledges their sponsors. Therefore, you can present this document to members of both Houses of the Florida Legislature. It is crucially important that you contact the legislators representing you immediately. You can contact your local Library or phone Florida State Legislative Information at (800) 342-1827 to learn who represents you in the Florida legislature. Thank you very much in advance for doing your part to further the passage of this crucially important legislation. Respectfully, Debbie Grubb debbiecg@xxxxxxxxxxx Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, (FAASB) Florida Council of the Blind, (FCB) National Federation of the Blind of Florida, (NFBF) HB 405 SB 1192 An act relating to persons with disabilities; Position paper of sponsoring Organizations White cane laws have protected the rights of pedestrians who are blind or have mobility impairments for many years. However, in Florida as in other states, many drivers have no idea of what the White Cane Law is or what it says. In addition, there is virtually no effort being made to maintain records of incidents involving people with disabilities. People with disabilities have the right to assume that laws that are on the books are being enforced and are understood. However, this is simply not the case. Florida's White Cane Law is actually found in two places. S. 316.1301 covers pedestrians who are blind. S. 316.1303 covers pedestrians who have mobility impairments. In Florida, Representative Dwayne Taylor and Senator Evelyn Lynn have introduced legislation known as House Bill 405 and Senate Bill 1192 which aim to correct some of the shortcomings just described. Here are the things the legislation does. First, there will now be a requirement that incidents involving people with disabilities be reported to a state agency and that records be kept on all crimes involving people with disabilities so that it will be possible to know just how often such people are involved in incidents. Second, the legislation would require that everyone seeking a driver's license would have to answer a question relating to the White Cane Law. Third, driver's education programs including those taught in high school must include information about the white cane law. Fourth, training for police must now include education on the rights of pedestrians who are disabled. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2012. We believe that passage of this legislation will make a huge difference for people who are blind or otherwise disabled in Florida. At last, people who seek driver's licenses will be required to know about the law and we will be able to know just how often it is broken. When police know about the law, they will be more likely to enforce it. People who are blind cannot see the people who are breaking the law. It is up to the police to enforce the law. We urge all our members to work to see that this simple but important legislation is adopted.