Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why The 21st Century Act Died Last Year

Last year, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act died in committee on Capitol Hill. Now we have a second chance - and must not blow it!

According to one of the COAT organizations, AAPD, it is common for a bill to be introduced in a Congress and then not get enacted because of many reasons:

a. insufficient time for members to look at it and support it (e.g., due to other bigger comprehensive bills moving)
b. distracted by other activities (e.g., their own re-election)
c. a national election year where no one knows what the outcome will be will cause legislation to get "paused" due to the political uncertainties
d. there was a need to continue discussions with industry
e. insufficient letters [emails] in the records of members showing support from the affected groups
f. the overwhelming power of industry representatives to "slow" and "kill" legislation which further regulates them
g. the measure just wasn't seen as important enough
[we must compete for attention with many other bills!]
According to AAPD, "It's a big step forward to have the bill introduced again. What we need is to have the same thing introduced by the Senate, with possibly a hearing on the Senate side.

The COAT steering committee has spent the past year in intensive meetings with industry parties 'educating' them about the bill. So this year's bill has a few changes to reflect that process. We have also in the past year gained the almost unanimous support of the telecom industry (although not all the wireless guys).... and made a few inroads into the IT and TV industry."

Note from Caption Action 2: Someone posted on the Facebook cause Caption Action 2 that another possible reason the bill did not succeed last year is because it did not have enough cosponsors on Capitol Hill. Research showed that last year's bill had only 15 cosponsors. This is why we need to have many thousands of people join Caption Action 2. In numbers, there is strength!

The same thing could happen again - the bill could die - for the reasons cited above, UNLESS we make a huge push to keep the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 alive. If Caption Action 2 could grow to a very large size, and just a small percentage take action such as writing via email or Internet form to their Congressperson, it could make all the difference.


  1. So go to the COAT site:
    and sign the petition in support of the bill:

  2. Petitions alone do not work. Like Jamie said, it's all in the numbers. Write to your Senator and Representatives, write to industry people, etc.

    The original Caption Action was done by more than just petitions. Jamie can tell you more.