CSD Applauds Passage of the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010

Communication Service for Deaf Applauds Passage of the 21st Century
Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010

PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT, Sept. 30, 2010. Congress Now Sends Bill to the White
House for Presidential Signature. SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Sept. 30, 2010) –
Yesterday, Congress passed, in both the House and Senate, the 21st Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act. Today, it goes to President
Obama for his signature officially allowing the bill to become law. This
landmark legislation has provisions which will make it much easier for
citizens with disabilities to use and access newer technology (i.e., the
Internet, smart phones, television programming and other forms of wireless
and hard line communications and video technologies) that is not
specifically addressed in older legislation.

As one of the founding members of the Coalition of Organizations for
Accessible Technology (COAT), CSD joined over 300 other national, regional,
state, and community-based disability organizations to support this
legislation. Work on the legislation began nearly five years ago and through
concerted efforts by many different dedicated groups and individuals, the
legislation is now about to be enacted into law. It is considered to be one
of the most significant pieces of Federal legislation pertaining to
disability rights since the historic passage of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.

“What a tremendous victory and boon this will be in terms of disability
rights for millions of Americans,” said Ben Soukup, president/chief
executive officer of CSD. “It has been two decades since the passage of the
ADA and the passage of this new law helps to ensure that those of us who
cannot see or hear will continue to have access to technology as it
continues to advance, just like everyone else. For most Americans, having
complete visual and audio access is a given and often taken for granted. But
for those of us who may not have that access, it sometimes requires laws to
ensure that equal access is not just a privilege for the few but a right
that is guaranteed for all.”

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) authored the legislation and introduced it
in the House and Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) helped champion the bill in the
Senate. Now that both sides have joined efforts from across the aisle and in
both areas of Congress, the final passage means the bill can go to the White
House for President Obama’s signature. Obama is expected to sign the bill
into law within the next few weeks, likely during a special formal ceremony.
What does this 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (H.R.
3101) mean for Americans? Among other things, it will:

* Ensure access to the Web through improved user interfaces for smart

* Enable Americans who are blind to enjoy TV more fully through audible
descriptions of on-screen action;

* Ensure that TV program guides and selection menus are also accessible to
people with vision loss;

* Provide Americans who are deaf the ability to watch new TV programs which
are aired online to include captions;

* Mandate that remote controls have a button to easily access the closed
captioning on broadcast and pay TV;

* Require that telecom equipment used to make calls over the Internet is
compatible with hearing aids;

* Create programs for low-income Americans who are deaf or blind, to
purchase or acquire accessible Internet access and telecom
services/equipment so these individuals can more fully participate in

“CSD is extremely pleased that we have been a part of this exciting process
and that by working together, along with so many other, like-minded
organizations and individuals, that we have been able to successfully
convince officials, lawmakers and others about the need for such accessible
services, programs and laws,” added Soukup. We look forward to continuing
such efforts in the future so that together we can build a better and
brighter America, for all.”

COAT is a coalition of over 300 national, regional, state, and
community-based disability organizations. COAT advocates for legislative and
regulatory safeguards that will ensure full access by people with
disabilities to evolving high speed broadband, wireless and other Internet
Protocol (IP) technologies.

Contact: Rick Norris, 605-367-5760, Email

About CSD — CSD (a.k.a. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) was
established in 1975, primarily to provide sign language interpreting
services to deaf and hard of hearing adults in South Dakota. Today, CSD
employs over 1,500 individuals in offices across the nation, providing a
broad continuum of social and human services programs, as well as
telecommunications relay services. CSD is a private nonprofit agency
dedicated to providing quality services; ensuring public accessibility; and
increasing awareness of issues affecting the deaf, hard of hearing and
individuals with speech disabilities. For more information, please visit:
http://www.c-s-d.org .

Source: http://www.coataccess.org/node/9877

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