.Hawaii legislature passes movie open captioning bill

Yesterday leaders from Hawaii’s Deaf community took to social media to celebrate the state legislature passing a bill that would require movie theaters to provide open captioning twice a week per movie.

The bill, H.B. 1009, applies to movie theater companies that have more than two locations in the state.

This bill is stronger than a previous version because it removes an option for theaters to offer eyewear devices in lieu of open captioning, and by removing a sunset date, which would make this law permanent.

The bill awaits the governor’s signature to make it law. When signed, it will take effect on July 1, 2019.

Aloha State Association of the Deaf President Darlene Ewan posted a vlog yesterday right after it passed.

Ewan: It’s 2019. It’s finally passed. We’re the first state in the U.S. to require open movie theater captioning. I wanted to let you all know because you are a part of this event. Hawaii is the first, which is notable, and we Americans can make a difference by working together. Working together means loving each other and striving for success in fighting barriers. So today we broke one barrier but we will break more barriers.

Alex: Here is a video tweet from Mary Harman, who works with state Senator Karl Rhoads, one of the legislators who supported the bill.

Harman and Rhoads, signing in unison: Hawaii movie theater bill passed! Yay!

Alex: Harman tweeted that the win felt surreal because they had to fight against wealthy lobbyists.

So, Congratulations to the Deaf community there. For those of us who live in 49 other states, we have another reason to envy Hawaii.

Ewan: https://www.facebook.com/ASAD.Hawaii/videos/416656415796496/

Harman: https://twitter.com/MaryHarman/status/1124092684698816513

Bill Text: https://legiscan.com/HI/text/HB1009/2019