Effective August 1, 2016, a new law authored by Minnesota politician Brian Daniels now requires all televisions in common areas at medical facilities in Minnesota to turn on the closed captioning feature.
The bill, which was signed into law on May 22 of this year, was an effort by Mr. Daniels to address a problem brought to his attention by the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. According to Daniels, he can recall the exact story that triggered his motivation to move forward in pursuing this matter. He had heard of a family sitting in a hospital waiting room one morning struggling to make sense of the breaking news of a horrific tragedy unfolding in New York. That was the morning of September 11, 2001.
It was not a difficult task for the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf to gain his attention on this matter. Back in 1996, Daniels and his family relocated to the city of Faribault so his son, Jeremiah, who is severely hard of hearing, could attend the MSAD. He highlighted his joy in serving the deaf community of Minnesota, saying, “I’m just so proud of it because it affects my family and so many people we know in the community.”
In addition to waiting rooms in hospitals, other medical facilities include surgical centers, birth centers, and certain group homes. Group Homes affected are those that provide housing, meals, and services to five or more people who are developmentally or physically disabled, chemically dependent, or mentally ill. However, it does not apply to medical clinics, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
This was one of several new laws to go into effect on August 1st and another promising example of the increasing efforts of lawmakers to help gain accessibility for all.
The language of the new law can be found on The Office of the Revisor of Statutes.