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Legislative Update – May 2, 2016

This week’s update covers the following topics:

• Closed Captioning Bill update
• Funding for Education Initiatives moves forward
• Acoustics and Looping Bill update

Closed Captioning Bill Update
Emory K. Dively and Beth Fraser met with Representative Daniels this week to talk about the Closed Captioning bill. He agreed to still try to pass the part of the bill that would require that closed captioning be turned on in hospital waiting rooms. However, we will need to re-write the bill to add this requirement to the law that regulates licenses for hospitals, instead of the Human Rights Act. Republican legislators and the Hospital Association are more comfortable with this approach. They are afraid that there would be lawsuits if the closed captioning requirement was added to the Human Rights Act.

Emory and Beth also asked Representative Daniels to keep the part of the bill that would require the government to turn on the closed captioning if they provide TVs for the public. This part of the bill would still be in the Human Rights Act. Rep. Daniels said he needed to talk to other Republican legislators about the idea. He wasn’t sure if they would be willing to pass it.

Funding for Education Initiatives Moves Forward
The House and Senate spent the week passing their omnibus funding bills. Both the House and Senate bills still include money for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School. The House bill includes funding for Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) program. There are many differences between the bills, so next week they will both assign members to serve on the joint conference committee. We will attend the meetings to be sure that all continue to support this funding.

Still Waiting on the Acoustics and Looping Bill
The House Capital Investment Committee has decided not to hear the bill to require that good acoustics and hearing loops be installed when the state funds the construction or major rehab of a public meeting space.

However, the bill still has a chance of passing this year, because it was heard last year in the Senate committee and the members seemed to like the proposal. We expect it to be included when the Senate committee releases its Omnibus bill today.

For more information and to sign up for alerts, visit our website: http://mn.gov/deaf-commission/

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silentgrapevine

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