S. 3304: "The Twenty-First Century Telecommunications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010"
At approximately 9:30 pm on September 28th, the House of Representatives passed S.3304, “The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010”. This legislation was sponsored by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and pushed through the House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX). S.3304 passed the House via a voice vote with no objection, meaning that a significant majority of legislators supported this popular and bipartisan legislation.
There are several provisions in this legislation that are significant for NCRA’s members. First and foremost, following the President signing it, anything and everything that is broadcast on television and then put online, must include captioning. This includes the nightly news, weekly television programming, athletic contests and much more.
Additionally, devices that display video such as smart phones, mp3 players and DVRs must be capable of close captioning, displaying video description, and emergency alerts. Furthermore, the legislation allocates up to $10 million for individuals who are deaf or blind to purchase specialized equipment and the government is authorized to create a databank that offers online products and services that are available to deaf and blind individuals.
In a August statement on S.3304, Rep. Markey said, “Two decades ago, Americans with disabilities couldn’t get around if buildings weren’t wheelchair accessible; today it’s about being Web accessible. The ADA mandated physical ramps into buildings. Today, individuals with disabilities need online ramps to the Internet so they can get to the Web from wherever they happen to be."
S. 3304 now goes to President Obama for his signature, and once he signs it, “The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010” will become law. NCRA anticipates this happening within the next two weeks.
The full text of S. 3304 can be found here. Please email any questions that you may have on federal legislation pertinent to the court reporting profession to Adam Finkel in our Government Relations Office. You can also call him at 703-556-6272 ext. 159.