Monday, April 25, 2011

Alabama threatened with a lawsuit over cuts to phone relay service for deaf residents


MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Public Service Commission member Terry Dunn says the Legislature can expect a lawsuit if it goes ahead with a bill to take $30 million from a phone service for deaf Alabamians.

The Alabama House has passed a bill to take $30 million form the Dual Party Relay Fund and use it in the state education budget. The bill will be considered Wednesday by a Senate committee.

All three members of the state's utility regulatory board are fighting the bill. But House budget Chairman Jay Love says the money is needed to help pay for children's health insurance.

Landline phone customers pay 15 cents a month to the fund. It allows a deaf person to type a message which is relayed by an operator to the person on the other line.