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EDUCATION AND ASSISTANCE TO THE BLIND

MONDAY, MARCH 9, 1959

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION
OF THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, in room 429, House Office Building, at 10 a.m., Hon. Carl Elliott (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Elliott, Daniels, Giaimo, and Wainwright.

Also present: Mary P. Allen, subcommittee clerk, and Charles Backstrom, research assistant to subcommittee.

Mr. ELLIOTT. The subcommittee will be in order.

Sixty-nine bills, all told, have been referred to the Subcommittee on Special Education which pertain in one way or another to the blind. The bills are primarily of four types. As an example, H.R. 14, by Mr. Baring, is a bill to protect the right of the blind to selfexpression through organizations of the blind.

Another example is H.R. 1855, by Mr. Matthews, of Florida, which is a bill to establish a temporary National Advisory Committee for the Blind.

Then 67 other bills similar to those two categories are before the committee.

We had announced that the hearings would be held on these bills today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We will attempt to carry out that schedule. We have problems of space here, as you perhaps have back home, as you carry on your duties and work responsibilities, so I am not certain at this time where we will be able to meet tomorrow.

But if we do not announce by the end of these hearings a place for meeting tomorrow, and if you do not get any other word, the meeting will be held in my office. We will proceed from there. These hearings must go forward this week if possible.

Today we are favored by having with us Mr. Walter Baring, of the State of Nevada, who introduced one of the bills.

Mr. Baring, the committee will hear your statement at this time.

STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER S. BARING, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEVADA; ACCOMPANIED BY GEORGE H. SEWARD, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Mr. BARING. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to appear before your committee. This is a very important piece of legislation. I am suffering from a very bad case of laryngitis. I have

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brought my administrative assistant, Mr. George Seward, who will give my statement to the committee.

Mr. ELLIOTT. Thank you, Mr. Baring. I want to say, before we hear Mr. Seward, that no one knows any more than I do of the interest that you have had in this legislation pertaining to the blind and the problems of the blind over the period of the past several years. Yours, as I have indicated, is one of the leading bills on the subject.

Since you do have laryngitis, we will proceed to hear Mr. Seward. Mr. SEWARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, before proceeding with Congressman Baring's prepared statement, since the bill is very brief, I would like to read the bill into the record, if I may.

Mr. ELLIOTT. You may do so at this point, without objection.
Mr. SEWARD (reading):

H.R. 14
A BILL To protect the right of the blind to self-espression through organisations of the

blind Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in the formulation, administration, and execution of programs for the aid and rehabilitation of the blind, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare shall to the fullest extent practicable consult and advise with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind ; and shall, in developing and recommending policies and procedures to State agencies, take such steps as may be appropriate to encourage such agencies to consult with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind in the formulation, administration, and execution of any state program for the aid and rehabilitation of the blind to which Federal funds are contributed.

SEC. 2. No officer or employee of any Federal, State, or other agency concerned with the administration of any program for the aid or rehabilitation of the blind to which Federal funds have been contributed shall evert the influence of his office or position against the right of the blind to join organizations of the blind. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare shall adopt such regulations and shall condition Federal grants to State or other programs for the blind on such terms as will prerent the exertion of any such influence against self-expression of the blind through organizations of the blind.

Now, Mr. Chairman, if I may, I will read Congressman Baring's prepared statement.

Mr. ELLIOTT. Before you proceed, Mr. Seward, let me say that, for the purposes of the record, immediately following the reading of H.R. 14, there shall be included copies of the bill H.R. 1855, by Mr. Matthews, of Florida ; H.R. 356, by myself; and bill H.R. 5243, by Mr. Fogarty, of Rhode Island.

(The bills referred to are as follows:)

[H.R. 14, 86th Cong., 1st sess. ] A BILL To protect the right of the blind to self-expression through organizations of the

blind Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatices of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, in the formulation, administration, and execution of programs for the aid and rehabilitation of the blind, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare shall to the fullest extent practicable consult and advise with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind; and shall, in developing and recommending policies and procedures to State agencies, take such steps as may be appropriate

to encourage such agencies to consult with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind in the formulation, administration, and execution of any State program for the aid and rehabilitation of the blind to which Federal funds are contributed.

[graphic]

SEC. 2. No officer or employee of any Federal, State, or other agency concerned with the administration of any program for the aid or rehabilitation of the blind to which Federal funds have been contributed shall exert the influence of his office or position against the right of the blind to join organizations of the blind. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare shall adopt such regulations and shall condition Federal grants to State or other programs for the blind on such terms as will prevent the exertion of any such influence against self-expression of the blind through organizations of the blind.

(H.R. 1855, 86th Cong., 1st sess.] A BILL For the establishment of a temporary National Advisory Committee for the Blind

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TEMPORARY NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE BLIND

SECTION 1. There is hereby established a National Advisory Committee for the Blind (in this Act referred to as the "Committee”). The Committee shall investigate and study the entire field of existing Federal, State, and local activities related to the granting of services to the blind, including the history and development of such activity. The Committee shall report to the President and to the Congress, within twenty-four months after passage of this Act, the results of such investigation and study, together with recommendations (1) for accomplishing greater coordination of and more effective results from such activities, (2) for the attainment of maximum benefits for the blind, and (3) with respect to such other matters as the Committee may deem appropriate.

MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE SEC. 2. (a) The Committee shall be composed of nine members, who shall be conversant with work for the blind, to be appointed by the President as follows:

(1) One individual from the executive branch of the Federal Government; (2) One individual from the Senate of the United States ; (3) One individual from the House of Representatives of the United States ;

(4) One individual from among officers and employees of the State Governments;

(5) One individual from a national association of professional workers with the blind;

(6) One individual from a national organization of the blind;
(7) One individual from a national research organization for the blind;
(8) One individual from the field of education of the blind; and
(9) One individual from the public at large.

(c) Any vacancy in the Committee shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMITTEE

SEC. 3. The Committee shall elect a Chairman from among its members.

QUORUM

Sec. 4. Five members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum.

COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE

SEC. 5. (a) Each member of the Committee who is an officer or employee of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for his services as an officer or employee of the United States, but he shall be reimbursed for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by him in the performance of the duties vested in him by the Committee.

(b) Each member of the Committee who is not an officer or employee of the United States shall receive $25 per diem when engaged in the performance of duties vested in the Committee, plus reimbursement for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by him in the performance of his duties.

STAFF OF THE COMMITTEE

SEC. 6. The Committee shall have the power to appoint and fix the compensa tion of such personnel as it deems advisable, without regard to the civil service laws and the Classification Act of 1949, as amended.

POWERS OF THE COMMITTEE

Sec. 7. (a) The Committee, or any authorized member thereof, may, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act, hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and places, and take such testimony, as the Committee or such member may deem advisable. Any member of the Committee may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses appearing before the Committee or before any authorized member thereof.

(b) The Committee, or any authorized member thereof, is authorized to secure directly from any eecutive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality, information, sugges tions, estimates, and statistics for the purpose of this Act; and each such department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, establishment, or instrumentality is authorized and directed to furnish such information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics directly to the Committee, or any authorized member thereof, upon request made by the Chairman of the Committee or any authorized member thereof.

(c) The Committee, or any authorized member thereof, shall have power to require by subpena or otherwise the attendance of witnesses and the produc tion of books, papers, and documents; to administer oaths; to take testimony; to have printing and binding done; and to make such expenditures as it deems advisable within the amount appropriated under authority of this Act. Subpenas shall be issued under the signature of the Chairman of the Committee or any member designated by him, and shall be served by any person designated by the Chairman or such member. Sections 102, 103, and 104 of the Revised Stat. utes (U.S.C., title 2, secs. 192–194) shall apply in the case of any failure of any witness to comply with any subpena or to testify when summoned under authority of this section.

EXPENSES OF THE COMMITTEE SEC. 8. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated the sum of $250,000 to carry out the provisions of this Act.

TERMINATION OF THE COMMITTEE

SEC. 9. The Committee shall cease to exist within thirty days after the Committee submits its report pursuant to section 1.

(H.R. 356, 86th Cong., 1st sess.)

A BILL To establish a temporary Presidential commission to study and report on the

problems relating to blindness and the needs of blind persons, and for other purposes

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSE

SECTION 1. (a) The Congress recognizes that there are upward of 320,000 blind persons in the United States; that the number of blind persons has increased during the last decade; that the number is expected to increase as the life span of our people is extended; that many of our blind people do not have an opportunity to achieve full independence or to participate actively in the economic, social, cultural, and educational life of the Nation; and that, consequently, there is need for further study and evaluation of programs and activities relating to the blind to determine what contributions are being made, and, in the light of modern social, technological, and scientific developments, what contributions can be made, to the general advancement of blind persons, and thus to the general welfare and economy of the Nation.

(b) It is hereby declared to be the purpose of the Congress to assist in ting a national atmosphere for developing a positive role for, and for the

acceptance of, blind persons in our modern society by providing for a thorough study and evaluation of the needs of the blind and problems relating to blindness and the extent and character of current national, State, and community programs and activities, public and voluntary, relating to the solution of these problems or to meeting these needs.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL STUDY COMMISSION ON PROBLEMS OF THE

BLIND

Sec. 2. There is hereby established a Presidential Study Commission on Problems of the Blind (hereafter in this Act referred to as the “Commission").

COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION

SEC. 3. The Commission shall consist of twenty-one members appointed by the President from among persons who are widely recognized for their knowledge of, or experience or interest in, problems relating to blindness and the needs of blind persons, and with a view to securing a broad representation on the Commission of leaders in medicine, education, social work, psychology, rehabilitation, and related professions, representatives of public and voluntary organizations or agencies providing services to blind persons (including those which are not concerned exclusively with the blind), and representatives of industry, labor, and the general public. The President shall designate one of the members to serve as Chairman. Not less than three of the members shall be persons who are themselves blind.

FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION SEC. 4. (a) The Commission shall make a broad and comprehensive study, analysis, and assessment of existing knowledge, programs, and activities relating to blindness and the needs of blind persons, including matters such as medical advances in the prevention of blindness, restoration of sight, and utilization of residual sight; availability and adequacy of educational materials and opportunities for blind persons of all ages; employment opportunities for blind persons; current contributions to the economic, social, educational, recreational, cultural, and vocational advancement of the blind made by public and voluntary agencies, including those which are not concerned exclusively with the blind; incidence and problems of blindness in the aging population; and current lay attitudes toward blindness.

(b) The Commission shall submit an interim report of the results of its studies to the President not later than January 31, 1959. Not later than January 31, 1960, the Commission shall submit to the President, for transmission to the Congress, its final report on the results of its studies, together with its recommendations for appropriate action by public and private agencies at local, State, regional, and Federal levels.

COMPENSATION

Sec. 5. Members of the Commission who are not otherwise in the employ of the United States, while attending meetings of the Commission or otherwise serving on business of the Commission, shall be entitled to receive compensation at a rate to be fixed by the President but not exceeding $50 per diem, and while away from their homes or regular places of business they may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law (5 U.S.C. 73b-2) for persons in the Government service employed intermittently.

STAFF

Sec. 6. (a) The Chairman may, without regard to the civil service or classification laws, appoint and fir the compensation of an executive director at a salary not in e cess of $14,000 per annum.

(b) The Chairman may, without regard to the civil service or classification laws, appoint and fix the compensation of such other personnel as it finds necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

INFORMATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES SEC. 7. The Commission is authorized to secure from any Federal department or agency such information as it finds necessary to carry out its functions.

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