September 15, 2008
Get cracking on those new greenbacks!

Back in May, a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills' varying values. Now a judge on that court has told the Treasury to quit dragging its feet in redesigning the bills to make accommodations.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said he would not allow the Treasury Department to go at its own pace as it complies with a May ruling that U.S. paper money discriminates against the blind.

Treasury officials have hired a contractor to investigate ways to help the blind differentiate between bills, perhaps by printing different sizes or including raised numbers. Government attorneys had urged the judge to let that process play out and not interfere with anti-counterfeiting redesigns that are already in process.

Robertson ordered attorneys for the government to meet with the American Council of the Blind, which brought the lawsuit, and come up with a schedule that requires changes in the next generation of bills.

The next $100 design could be printed as early as this fall, and Robertson said those bills won't be affected. But subsequent designs should be able to solve the problem, he said.

As I said before, I don't think there's anything unreasonable about this, and I think most people would agree with that if they were suddenly unable to tell the difference between a $5 and a $20. While I agree that you can't and shouldn't rush these things, neither should you put them off. Work them into the ongoing redesigns and get on with it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 15, 2008 to National news
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