National Association of the Deaf

H.R. 3101 Heads to House Floor for Vote

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) applauds and thanks the House Energy and Commerce Committee for voting favorably on July 21, 2010, for the “Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010” (H.R. 3101).  Next, H.R. 3101 will be voted on by the members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  After that, the NAD will ask the U.S. Senate to promptly pass H.R. 3101. 

H.R. 3101 will update the nation’s communications laws to ensure that new telephone and television technologies are accessible.  The NAD expresses deep appreciation and thanks to Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the author of H.R. 3101; to the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Barton (R-TX); and to the leadership of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Ranking Member Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL).

When signed into law, this legislation will greatly improve the lives of millions of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind by ensuring expanded accessibility to 21st century technologies, including, among other things:

•    Require new video programming that is captioned on television to be captioned when distributed on the Internet;
•    Provide up to $10 million annually for specialized communications equipment for low income individuals who are deaf-blind;
•    Require telephones that use the Internet to be hearing aid compatible;
•    Enable users of different equipment to communicate with each other through relay services, such as TTY users communicating with videophone users; and
•    Require devices with screens less than 13” to display closed captions.

The NAD looks forward to the U.S. House of Representatives taking up and passing H.R. 3101, which could be as early as next week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

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