Pryor Legislation Headed to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Senator Mark Pryor announced that his legislation to improve access to the Internet and other technologies for blind and deaf individuals is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.  The Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act passed the House of Representatives this week; it passed the Senate unanimously last month.

 “The Internet and other communications technologies are vital tools in today’s world, helping students learn and families stay in touch, and allowing businesses to reach national and even global customers,” Pryor said.  “This legislation will help ensure that all Americans are able to fully utilize online devices, regardless of disability. I am proud to have led the effort to pass this legislation, and I am pleased that Congress was able to put aside partisan differences to make a real difference in many Americans’ lives.”

 The Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act will improve overall access to audio and visual materials on the Internet for the deaf and blind. Specifically, the legislation will:

 • Create a one-stop shop for information on online products and services available to blind and deaf individuals;

 • Close existing gaps in accessibility by requiring technology like smart devices, including an iPhone or Blackberry, to be hearing aid compatible;

 • Require that programming shown on television also be closed captioned and video described when it is posted on the Internet. ex., nightly news, Razorback games, Lost;

 • Require video programming devices, such mp3 players and DVRs, to be capable of closed captioning, video description and emergency alerts; and

 • Authorize federal support for specialized equipment for low-income, deaf-blind individuals.