Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee
Chair Erin Murphy
March 20th, 2023
SF 2044 – Senate Jim Abeler
Requiring Closed-Captions in Public Places
Dear Chair Murphy and members of the Committee,
Closed-captions are an essential tool for ensuring equal access to information and entertainment for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as for those who may have difficulty understanding spoken language due to a variety of factors. SF 2044 would amend the Minnesota Human Rights Act to guarantee the right to closed-captions in public places for deaf and hard of hearing Minnesotans. The Minnesota Council on Disability supports this bill and urges members of the committee to do the same.
Closed-captions are particularly important in public places, such as movie theaters, sports stadiums, and other venues where large numbers of people gather. These environments can be noisy and distracting, making it difficult for individuals to hear and understand spoken language. Closed-captions provide an alternative means of accessing the content being presented, allowing individuals to fully participate and engage with the experience.
The use of closed-captions in public places is not only beneficial for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but for anyone who may benefit from them. This includes individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities, as well as individuals who are non-native speakers of the language being spoken.
In addition to the accessibility benefits, closed-captions can also improve the overall experience for everyone. They can provide additional context and clarity to the content being presented, and can help to ensure that important information, such as dialogue or announcements, is not missed.
Access to information and communication in public spaces is a human rights and it’s important that we are inclusive to deaf and hard of hearing Minnesotans. Please support SF 2044 and support Minnesotans with disabilities.
Public Policy Director
Minnesota Council on Disability