From: Heather Schoemig
To: David Lifferth,
Subject: HB325
Date: Sun Feb 21 22:32:57 MST 2016
Date: 2/20/16

Dear : David Lifferth,
            Hello, my name is Heather Schoemig . I’m contacting you to let you know that I have a few concerns with the bill HB325 (to move USOR under DWS).  

As you know, Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) is one of the Divisions under USOR. We call this our community center since it is a gathering place for deaf and hard of hearing people. The community center also provides various services and programs to enhance the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people and this is a communication barrier free zone.  
My concerns regarding this community center being moved under DWS are as following:
·         DWS’ goals/missions conflicts with our community center’s goals/missions which states - “The Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides education, advocacy, and accessible services to enhance the quality of life for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing."
·         We (deaf and hard of hearing people) know best what our needs and services are to help us succeed. DWS does NOT.
·         This community center, if moved, would lose direct lobby power with legislators- meaning can’t ask directly for improving deaf rights, increasing services, or interpreting certification. 
      As of now, there’s no guarantee to prevent DWS from taking over part of this community center’s building for 
·         their offices which will affect the quality and access of services for deaf and hard of hearing. It will no longer be a “barrier-free communication zone.”
We want there to be more time before a decision is made BUT if NOT, would it be possible to consider one of the following departments for the community center for the deaf and hard of hearing to be under?
·         Stay with USOE/USDB (Utah State Schools for the Deaf/Blind)
o   USDB serves the same community population as we do but their primary goal is education while there are other services available at the center.
·         Utah Dept. of Heritage and Art
o   They already have several community centers with similar goals and services.
·         Dept. of Human Services
o   This dept. has similar missions.
Those three alternatives have more similar mission and goals compared to DSDHH.  
Please remember if you vote for this bill, it will negatively impact the lives of many deaf and hard of hearing people here in Utah.   

Thank you for your time in reading this.
Heather Schoemig
9605 N. Deerfield Lane
Cedar Hills, Utah 84062