Treasury Department Opposes American Council For Blind Attempt To Set Dates For Currency Redesign

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has opposed the American Council for the Blind's ongoing attempts to have the Court of Appeals set specific dates for currency redesign, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) reported.

The American Council for the Blind (ACB) has requested the court direct the Secretary of the Treasury to furnish specific dates by which the currency will be redesigned. They also requested that the Secretary submit a detailed implementation plan describing specific steps to implement three accommodations selected by the Secretary to provide meaningful access to U.S. currency to the blind and visually impaired: 1) adding a raised tactile feature 2) continuing to add large, high-contrast numerals and different colors and 3) implementing a supplemental currency reader distribution program for blind and other visually impaired U.S. citizens and legal residents.

The Department of the Treasury has opposed the ACB's request arguing that the timing to provide meaningful access should remain tied to the next redesign of the currency for counterfeit deterrence.

In a declaration filed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Director Larry Felix set forth the steps already taken to date to comply with the 2008 Order by the Court, NAMA noted.

NAMA reported that the BEP has made significant progress in identifying the best approach to provide meaningful access and the recommendations were included in the report submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury to the court for approval.

Secretary Felix argues that the BEP has made significant progress toward implementing the Secretary's decision including incorporating large, high contrast and different colors on the currency, NAMA noted. This feature has already been incorporated into currency redesign beginning in 2003.

The BEP is also working on the development of the currency reader program and working on methods of distributing these readers to the blind and visually impaired, NAMA noted. The BEP has taken extensive steps to access the viability of various tactile features including looking into the features incorporated into foreign currency.

In the interim, the BEP unveiled a mobile device application to increase accessibility to Federal Reserve Notes, NAMA noted. The matter will now be decided by the Court of Appeals. For more information, contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org

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