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 Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 331 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to permanently require motion picture theaters to offer open movie captioning showings at least two times per week, with at least one screening on a Saturday or Sunday, and eliminate the ability for theaters to offer personal closed captioning lightweight eyewear as a substitute for open captioning.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Disability and Communication Access Board; Hawaii Civil Rights Commission; Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women; AMVETS Hawaii Service Foundation Corp; Aloha State Association of the Deaf; Special Education Advisory Council; Hawaii Disability Rights Center; Isle Interpret, LLC; and over seventy individuals.


Your Committee finds that the open captioning requirement in Act 39, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015 (Act 39), which required movie theaters to provide closed captioning and a minimum of two open captioned showing per week, was considered landmark legislation for the deaf and hard of hearing community. It was the first of its kind in the nation and exceeded federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Your Committee finds, however, that Act 211, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017, reduced the required number of open captioned showings and effectively eliminated the open captioned showing requirement that had made the law so effective for ensuring equal access for the deaf and hard of hearing community.


Your Committee notes that this measure addresses the discriminatory effects of communication barriers at movie theaters and seeks to restore and make permanent the requirements originally contemplated by Act 39, which will enable deaf and hard of hearing consumers an equal opportunity to attend and enjoy movies in a similar manner as those who do not require open movie captioning.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health 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 Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,