In June, I wrote an action item asking readers to support The Twenty First Century Video and Telecommunications Accessibility Act. I’m pleased to report that the House version of the bill, HR 3101, just passed, thanks to a lot of work by disability advocates (and a few FWD readers)! Now, it’s the Senate’s turn. The Senate has its own version of the bill, and we are faced with either Senate passage of their version and then reconciliation (writing a bill that both chambers will agree to) or Senate adoption and passage of HR 3101, at which point the bill can be sent to the White House for the President to sign.
The Senate version, S 3304, is not as strong as HR 3101. Neither version requires captioning for web-only content, but HR 3101 requires reporting on captioning of content generated for the web. This opens the door to possible regulatory action in the future to mandate Internet captions. Advocates, including Marlee Matlin, want to see the Senate adopting HR 3101, the stronger bill, to pave the way to better captioning for online content.
I’m writing today to ask those of you in the United States to write your Senators and ask them to support Senate adoption and passage of HR 3101. If your Senator is on the Committee for Commerce, Science, and Transportation, so much the better! The Senate could be voting as early as this week, so consider this a time-sensitive issue.
Below the fold, a draft letter you can send to your Senator. I highly encourage you to personalise it a bit if you can, because personalised letters are weighted more heavily.