Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3101)
On Friday afternoon, June 26, 2009 Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced comprehensive legislation to ensure that people with disabilities have access to Internet-based telecommunications and video programming technologies. The bill, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3101), would.
- require that mobile and other Internet-based telecommunications devices and equipment be fully hearing aid compatible, have accessible user interfaces, and offer people with disabilities use of a full range of text messaging and other popular services that are currently largely inaccessible;
- provide people who are deaf-blind with vital but costly technologies they need to communicate electronically;
- establish a process and time table for the provision of real-time text capability;
- clarify existing relay-to-relay, Lifeline and Linkup service requirements to ensure their relevance to the real world communications needs of people with disabilities;
- restore the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) modest video description rules and unambiguously establish the FCC's current and ongoing authority to expand such regulations;
- require emergency announcements and similar information to be accessible to people with disabilities through audible presentation of on-screen alerts;
- ensure that video programming offered via the Internet will be both captioned and described;
- call for all devices that receive and playback video programming to employ accessible user interfaces and allow ready access to captioning and description;
- strengthen consumers' ability to enforce their rights to communications and video accessibility through the establishment of a clearinghouse of information about service and equipment accessibility and usability, a meaningful FCC complaint process that holds industry accountable for their accessibility obligations, and judicial review of FCC action to ensure FCC accountability.
- Contact your Member of the United States House of Representatives. Ask him or her to cosponsor H.R. 3101. Be sure to telephone, send E-mail, and a letter. Find your Member at https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
- Write your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sponsor and introduce a similar bill to H.R. 3101. Find your Senators at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Use the bullet points above as appropriate in letters and include any personal stories about lack of access.
- Thank Rep. Ed Markey for his leadership by using the Email Contact form at http://markey.house.gov/index.php?option=com_email_form&Itemid=124
- You can find a copy of this legislation on http://www.thomas.gov/ soon by typing in the bill number -- H.R. 3101.
- Pass this Action Alert along to others and encourage them to send letters, E-mails, make phone calls and to complete online contact forms. Be sure to mention "H.R. 3101" in any text or calls made.
- If possible, please send a copy to COAT of any letters you send: COAT, c/o AAPD, 1629 K Street NW, Suite 950, Washington, DC 20006.
These Action Steps should continue until there is a new COAT alert!
The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) is a broad-based cross-disability coalition of more than 240 national, regional, and community-based groups working together for information age equity for people with disabilities. COAT also has seven International Friends. You can find additional information about COAT and supporting material describing the purposes and provisions of COAT's proposed legislation at http://www.coataccess.org/.