Thursday, May 6, 2010

Caption Action 2: May 2010 Newsletter

This is the Caption Action 2 newsletter for May 2010. We are glad to see that Caption Action 2 continues to grow, because if HR 3101 does not pass this Congress, we are going to need a very strong support base for the next Congress! So, don't leave the Caption Action 2 Facebook group just because of this. Stay with us!


Following an intense lobbying effort on April 15, which was the National Association of the Deaf's Virtual Legislative Day in support of HR 3101, the first two Republicans signed on! (Read about Caption Action 2 on Capitol Hill) This is a major milestone for the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, because in the previous Congress, no Republicans signed on. So we are especially glad to welcome Representatives Parker Griffith (Alabama) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida), as co-sponsors 45 and 46.


Right before this newsletter "went to press," we found out that Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-New Jersey) had signed on to HR 3101. That makes Pallone the 47th cosponsor for HR 3101.

So now we have more than TRIPLE the total number of cosponsors the bill had when it was first introduced in the previous Congress. That is truly amazing, and shows an increasing awareness on the part of Congressmen and Congresswomen that there is a need for this legally guaranteed accessibility.


Thanks to people sharing what happens after they contact their Representatives, Caption Action 2 is realizing what we are up against. One thing we are up against is ignorance. In the blog post Rep. Frank Wolf Ignorant About HR 3101! we share a response Wolf's office sent to someone, plus our own letter to Wolf's office. Wolf's office mistakenly thought that HR 3101 would require the alteration of technology! Then in the follow-up blog post, we share the response Caption Action 2 received from Wolf's office.


With the start of the warm weather, conference, convention, and expo season is here! At the Celebrate Communication expo hosted by the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People on May 1, Caption Action 2 joined forces with the National Association of the Deaf to educate people about HR 3101. We passed out several pre-printed notecards with key highlights of HR 3101 and website URLs. Will there be a conference, convention, or expo in your area anytime soon? Advocate for HR 3101 there! Although the word is clearly spreading about HR 3101 - most of the people we encountered at Celebrate Communication had at least heard about HR 3101 - there are still plenty of people out there who have never heard of HR 3101, and these are the people we need to reach. Contact Caption Action 2 through Facebook or email (email address is on the blogsite) if you would like advice on how to advocate at your local conference, convention, or expo.

Another great opportunity to spread the word about HR 3101 is at deaf awareness events! This time of year many amusement parks, stadiums, and aquariums have deaf awareness days. Ask the organizers of your local deaf awareness days if you can pass out information about HR 3101 there.


As everyone knows, we need for Representative Rick Boucher, the chairperson of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, to move HR 3101. Boucher has been supportive of other bills that benefit deaf and hard of hearing people, but not HR 3101. Tamara Davidson captures the situation perfectly in her cartoon, "Rick Boucher, Move HR 3101 Already!"


In the event that HR 3101 does not pass this Congress, Caption Action 2 plans to become a more political force. This is an election year for Congress, with every Representative having to fight to keep their job. Even Rick Boucher is under siege, as reported by Politico. Let's use this to our advantage! Contact your Representative OR your Representative's challenger, and let them know that your vote is going to go to whomever supports the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act! At the same time, we must work hard to make sure that every single one of the 47 cosponsors to date keeps his or her job, because we will need their support again.

Read full details about how this new tactic works in the just published blog post, "Announcing Operation Backscratcher."

We believe that Caption Action 2 can have real influence on at least some Congressional elections, because usually when it is not a presidential election year, fewer people vote. So our votes are worth more!


Word is spreading quickly about a new project to develop a subtitling widget for websites. There are already websites that allow you to quickly and easily subtitle a video, but there has never been a widely available widget. Details are at, on a captioned YouTube video at, and a blog at


Representative Griffith, Parker

Representative Grijalva, Raul

Representative Berman, Howard
Representative Filner, Bob
Representative Lee, Barbara
Representative Napolitano, Grace
Representative Sanchez, Linda
Representative Schiff, Adam
Representative Stark, Fortney Pete

District of Columbia:
Representative Norton, Eleanor Holmes

Representative Hastings, Alcee
Representative Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana

Representative Lewis, John

Representative Bordallo, Madeline

Representative Schakowsky, Janice

Representative Carson, Andre

Representative Moore, Dennis

Representative Chandler, Ben

Reprsentatative Pingree, Chellie

Representative Van Hollen, Chris

Representative Capuano, Michael
Representative McGovern, Jim
Representative Neal, Richard
Representative Olver, John
Representative Tierney, John

Representative McCollum, Betty
Representative Peterson, Collin

Representative Cleaver, Emmanuel

New Jersey
Representative Payne, Donald
Representative Rothman, Stephen

New York:
Representative Engel, Eliot
Representative Hinchey, Maurice
Representative Israel, Steve
Representative Maffei, Daniel
Representative Maloney, Carolyn
Representative Slaughter, Louise
Representative Towns, Edolphus

Representative Kilroy, Mary Jo
Representative Ryan, Tim

Representative Blumenauer, Earl

Representative Kanjorski, Paul

Representative Davis, Lincoln

Representative Doggett, Lloyd

Representative Moran, Jim

Join Caption Action 2!

Help ensure that the new Facebook Twilight Series has captions, and help get Starz to caption its YouTube channel! Join Caption Action 2 on Facebook,!


  1. While these bills look good and would provide a lot of services for the deaf, deaf and blind, and blind individuals, the bills seem a to ask for too much at once. If these bills were to pass as they are, companies like ATT, Verizon, Sprint, AOL, MSN, DSL and cable providers, online TV providers, electronics manufacturers such as Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung (and the list goes on) would all be forced to make serious changes and or contributions in order to comply. The level of government oversight would also be incredible, which leads only to more funds necessary in order to enforce. In a landscape where government services, programs and jobs are being terminated as fast as can be done, it is best to propose a solution which provides the best service with the least cost.

    If these bills do not pass, it may be best to create and submit a bill which simply focuses on a requirement for online captioning and then go forward from there. Then further standards can be set after the precedent exists. A simpler bill will also be easier for busy/uncaring politicians to read and consider rather than being forced to peruse through a lengthy book of proposed issues and regulations.

  2. Keep up the hard work! We will be watching closely!