Hearing Loss Association of America and Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc. representatives Lise Hamlin and Claude Stout were thrilled to be part of the Federal Communication’s digital television event focusing on captioning and targeting the community of deaf and hard of hearing people in North Carolina August 26. With over 50 consumers present as well as representatives from local broadcast stations, it was a great success. Thanks to a generous donation by Zenith, HLAA and TDI were there helping with a model presentation for other parts of the country as the digital television transition approaches.
C.O.A.T. Advocates for Captioning of Political Ads in Minnesota
C.O.A.T. has written a resolution for the caucuses on February 5, 2008, in Minnesota. The Secretary of State is writing to ask all of the parties to caption their ads online and for TV and the Minnesota Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is introducing legislation that will require that all candidates who receive funds from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Fund caption their ads.
This is a strategy that our commission used two years ago successfully. We introduced a caucus resolution that would require the parties to endorse Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, we then included those questions in candidate debates before election time and when the representatives were elected, we got them to sponsor EHDI legislation. We ended up with the Speaker of House, the House Minority Leader as chief authors and the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Minority Leader as the chief authors and all six of our EHDI pieces of legislation passed. We got the parties to put it into their platforms before the elections, made it a candidate issue and then held them to their commitment when the legislature was in session.
Resolution to Require Captioning of Television and Online Video Ads for Minnesota Candidates and Party Sponsored Ads
Whereas an estimated ten percent of the population in the state of Minnesota is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind,
WHEREAS, the voting rate for citizens 55 and older was 72 % in the 2004 presidential election and that an estimated third of this demographic has a significant hearing loss,
WHEREAS many people who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind rely upon captioning to understand the messages that are given by candidates running for office,
Whereas only one percent of all media on the web is estimated to be captioned,
WHEREAS requiring captioning for television and online ads allows all Minnesotans to participate fully in the election process and strengthens our democracy,
WHEREAS the estimated average cost of captioning a one minute ad is $200, a small percentage of the total cost of producing a political ad,
Be it Resolved that this party require the captioning of television and online video ads for endorsed candidates and party sponsored ads.
Submitted by Mary Hartnett, executive director, MN Commission Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing People