Hawaii First State to Mandate Movie Theater Accommodations for Disabled
Gov. David Ige signed a bill on May 6 making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to require accommodations for the hearing and visually impaired at movie theaters throughout the state.
The new law, HB1272, mandates movie theaters with more than two locations statewide to provide open captioning during at least two showings per week of each film produced with captions. It also requires the theaters to provide audio descriptions of any film produced with and offering descriptive audio. The measure will take effect Jan. 1, 2016, and sunset Jan. 1, 2018.
Rep. James Tokioka, the bill’s introducer, said the measure will bring Hawai‘i closer to achieving the full inclusion of local deaf and blind communities that was first initiated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
HB1272 will provide equal access to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have poor vision through reasonable accommodations at movie theaters. It will also assist seniors who are hard of hearing, as well as individuals who are learning English as a second language.