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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 49, December 3, 2006, Article 7

JUDGE RULES U.S. PAPER CURRENCY MUST CHANGE TO HELP THE BLIND

Stephen Pradier forwarded this November 28 FOX News article about
a judge's ruling that could have long-lasting effects on U.S.
paper money:

"American paper money represents an unfair impediment to the blind,
and the Treasury Department must come up with new U.S. currency to
help the visually impaired use cash, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said keeping all U.S. currency
the same size and texture violates the Rehabilitation Act, which
prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in government
programs.

"Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only
the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color
in all their denominations," Robertson wrote in his ruling. "More
than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to
denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features
that help the visually impaired."

"In the lawsuit, which has been in the court system for four years,
government attorneys argued that forcing the Treasury Department to
change the size of the bills or add texture would make it harder to
prevent counterfeiting. Robertson was not swayed.

"The fact that each of these features is currently used in other
currencies suggests that, at least on the face of things, such
accommodations are reasonable," he wrote."

"Robertson wouldn't say how Treasury must do it, but he gave the
government agency 10 days to start working on new bills that the
blind can tell apart.

The Treasury Department refused to comment on the case, saying
that it's still pending. Paré said that his organization wasn't
involved in the lawsuit, and he can't speak for the Treasury
Department, but he did "get the sense that it was going to be appealed."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Andrew W. Pollock forwarded this article from The Washington Times:
Full Story

The vending machine industry has already responded in protest of
the decision:

"If the government is mandated to change U.S. currency, there would
be a tremendous financial impact across a number of industries,
including the automated vending industry," said Jim Brinton, a
director of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA),
a trade association of the food and refreshment vending industry.

There are 7 million food and beverage machines in the United States,
and 1.5 million of them accept both $1 and $5 bills, according to
NAMA. The vending machine industry would have to spend an estimated
$200 to $300 to retrofit each machine, Mr. Brinton said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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