A bill signed into law today by Governor David Ige will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to mandate accommodations for the hearing and visually impaired at movie theaters statewide.
HB1272 requires anyone that operates a motion picture theater in more than two locations in the state to provide open captioning during at least two showings per week of each motion picture that is produced with open movie captioning. It also requires them to provide an audio description of any motion picture that is produced and offered with audio description. The measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2016 and sunsets Jan. 1, 2018.
"This law makes Hawaii the first state in the nation to mandate broader accommodations to allow equal access to movie theaters for our deaf, blind, deaf/blind and hard-of-hearing communities," said the bill’s introducer Rep. James Tokioka (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao).
"In addition, it will bring Hawaii closer to achieving full inclusion for our deaf and blind communities that was first initiated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990."
The law removes communication barriers and provides equal access to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have poor vision through reasonable accommodations at movie theaters. It will also help seniors who have trouble hearing, as well as individuals who are learning English as a second language by providing the written dialogue on screen.
Tokioka also added, “I would like to thank Governor Ige and my colleagues in both the House and Senate for their support and for recognizing the need for this law.”