Jan 162010

Public Information from Maryland Governor’s Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

As television increasingly becomes a more important means of communication, it is critical that individuals who have hearing loss have full access to this medium.  The deaf and hard of hearing community in Maryland is large and diverse, with varying degrees of hearing loss and modes of communication. This is one of those rare issues where the activation of closed captioning on televisions will accommodate the different segments of this population equally.

Televisions are increasingly in use in public areas enabling members of the general public to obtain the latest news reports in an emergency, watch local newscasts, and simply pass the time while waiting for an appointment or service to be completed. Hospital waiting rooms, bars and restaurants, health clubs, bus stations, airport lounges, etc. are just of few of the types of locations where the general public can gain access to television broadcasts.

With this in mind, ODHH is introducing Senate Bill 68: State Government – Human Relations – Closed-Captioning Activation Required,  which would require that television receivers located in any part of a facility open to the general public have closed captioning activated at all times when the facility is open and the television is turned on.

The hearing for SB 68 is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM.  If you wish to testify, please contact Sherry Little at:

TTY: 410-946-5401 -or- 301-970-5401; through Maryland Relay to any of these

Voice numbers: 410-946-5413, 946-5400 or -800-492-7122, x5400/5410; or

Email:  sherry.little@mlis.state.md.us

If you are not available to testify that day, please consider sending your legislators a message encouraging them to support SB 68. You can find their contact information at: http://mdelect.net/.

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Anne Schafer at jschafer@gov.state.md.us.

Julie Anne Schafer, Esq.

Assistant Director

Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

217 E. Redwood Street, Suite 1300

Baltimore, MD  21202

410-767-7793 (voice)

443-453-5954 (VP)

– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax