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October 22, 2002

Members of Congress Urge House Leadership to Enact Communication Access Legislation for People Who Are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

From: U.S. Newswire Press Releases
Oct. 22, 2002

To: National Desk

Contact: Amanda Schroeder of the National Court Reporters Association, 703-741-7536 or 703-597-8199 (cell)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- U.S. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, Connie A. Morella, Charles "Chip" Pickering, Jr., and John M. Shimkus appealed to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) on the need to enact H.R. 2527, an important piece of legislation that would help to ensure that America's 28 million people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing receive the closed captioning services they not only require for communication access, but deserve. H.R. 2527, The Training for Closed Captioners Act, authorizes $75 million over the next five years to train broadcast captioners to meet the expanding demand for closed captioning.

Now more than ever all Americans need access to important news when it breaks, and real-time closed captioning makes this possible.

"H.R. 2527 is just too important not to pass this session," said the group in a joint letter to Speaker Hastert and other House leaders. "The 1996 Telecommunications (news - web sites) Act requires 100 percent closed captioning by 2006, and there will not be enough captioners without the passage of this legislation."

Mark Golden, Executive Director of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), commended these four Members of Congress. "Without the passage of H.R. 2527, captioning companies and broadcasters will not be able to meet the federal regulation requiring them to caption 100 percent of all new programming by 2006. Their leadership on this legislation is crucial to the interests of millions of Americans. In light of our nation's recent tragedies, access to real-time information is critical for all consumers. As September 11 demonstrated, captioning played a pivotal role in ensuring that those American with hearing loss were able to follow events as they occurred. The 28 million citizens who are deaf or hard-of-hearing depend on closed captioning to receive not only news and information, but also to enjoy entertainment and sports programming, just like any other American."

In a tremendous show of bipartisan support, 114 Members of Congress are co-sponsoring this legislation. The 1996 Telecommunications Act contained an "unfunded mandate" that 100 percent of broadcast programming must be closed captioned by 2006. Without H.R. 2527, this goal is unrealistic despite the best efforts of NCRA, the national deaf and hard-of-hearing associations and organizations, and others who have been working on this issue since the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

------ NCRA is a 27,000-member nonprofit organization representing the judicial reporting and captioning professions. Members include official court reporters, deposition reporters, broadcast captioners, providers of real-time communication access services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and others who capture and convert the spoken word into information bases and readable formats. Additional information is available by calling 800-272-6272 (TTY 703-556-6289) or visiting their Web site at


/© 2002 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/