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Westrom testifies in Senate committee

Republican Representative Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake, who is blind, urged a Senate committee Wednesday to pass a bill making state documents, information and Web sites more accessible for people who are blind or deaf. It is rare for members of one legislative chamber to advocate for a bill in the other chamber.

State Representative Torrey Westrom often discusses bills in legislative committees, but it usually occurs in Minnesota House committees.

That changed briefly last Wednesday when Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, went before a Senate committee to urge passage of a bill making it easier for people who are deaf or blind to access state documents and Web sites.

Westrom is legally blind, having lost his eyesight in a 1987 farm-related car accident, and uses special computer equipment to review legislation and other printed and online documents.

"This is something that is long overdue, in my opinion," Westrom said of greater accessibility.

The Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee supported the bill on a voice vote.