Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 331




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 331 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


(1) Permanently require certain motion picture theater owners and operators to provide open movie captioning for at least two showings per week, with at least one screening on a Saturday or Sunday; and


(2) Repeal the requirement to provide an option of personal closed captioning screenings by means of lightweight eyewear.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Language Access, Disability and Communication Access Board, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Aloha State Association of the Deaf, Special Education Advisory Council, Hawaii Coalition for Children with Disabilities, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, and eight individuals.


Your Committee finds that Hawaii has been a pioneer in public policy regarding access of movie entertainment for the deaf and/or hard-of-hearing community. Act 39, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015, required movie theater operators to provide closed captioning showings at least twice a week. The closed captioning requirement supplemented the federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirement to provide an assistive technology option. However, the State's closed captioning requirement was lessened in 2017 by allowing movie theaters the option of offering a personal closed captioning system in lieu of offering showings with open movie captioning, depriving the deaf and/or hard-of-hearing community as well as other movie goers who may benefit from closed captioning of a tremendous benefit.


Your Committee further finds that although some movie theaters provide open movie captioning screenings, those screenings often occur during weekdays when many members of the deaf and/or hard-of-hearing community are working or attending school. Additionally, the personal closed captioning systems are unreliable and uncomfortable to wear, especially with eyeglasses. This measure ensures that Hawaii continues to support full access for persons with disabilities through meaningful accessibility requirements for movie theaters.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 331 and recommends that it pass Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,