Student's idea led to large print bill – QNS.com

Student’s idea led to large print bill

For those who have a hard time seeing the small print on those monthly bills, you can thank a former Forest Hills High School student for suggesting an optional larger type size so you can stop straining your eyes when paying your bills.

In the auditorium of Forest Hills High School, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Joseph Addabbo awarded a Pen Certificate to the principal, Saul Goodnick and the students, on Thursday, December 17 – signifying that the large print bill had been signed into law by Governor David A. Paterson.

The standards of the “large print,” recommended by the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, will be a font sized 16 points or greater (about twice the size of what you’re reading now).

“My constituents expressed a desire to receive bills highlighting the charges in a larger font size so they would be able to fully understand their bills,” said Senator Addabbo. “This legislation does not mandate that companies immediately change their billing systems. Instead, it requires that these companies make this new service available to customers who request larger font bills.”

Three years ago, on a regular school day in his senior economics seminar class, the student told Goodnick, who was the social studies teacher at the time, that his grandmother could not decipher parts of her Con Edison bills, even when she had her glasses on, so he suggested that some companies should accommodate customers with visual impairments.

Realizing that this was a good idea that merited review, Goodnick expressed that feeling to Assemblymember Hevesi earlier this year.

“It is outstanding and really showed what happens when students are proactive and interested and when elected officials are focus and pay attention to their in their views and ideas,” Hevesi said.

The bill went into effect on August 26, 2009, and it requires that all utility corporations, energy service companies, municipalities, telephone corporations and cable television companies doing business in New York State to provide large print versions of billing information.

“I thought it was a great ceremony, but it was also a learning experience for our students because they got to hear from Assemblymember Hevesi and Senator Addabbo about great ideas that go into law,” said Carrie Sanchez, an assistant principal at Forest Hills High School. “Our kids got to really understand how the process works and impact how citizens can talk with their government.”

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