Jack Walker Published

Senate Bill Would Require Public Venues To Display Closed Captions On Televisions

Senator Mike Caputo speaks on the floor of the West Virginia Senate, holding a microphone. A woman with dark hair stands behind him in the background of the photo.
Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, sponsored a bill in the West Virginia Senate that would require public venues display closed captioning on televisions. Pictured here, Caputo speaks on the Senate floor on Jan. 23.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

A bill proposed in the West Virginia Senate would make public spaces more accessible for people with hearing loss.

Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, proposed Senate Bill 251 earlier this month, which would require public venues to display closed captioning on their televisions.

The bill includes exceptions for televisions without a closed captioning function. Likewise, venues with several televisions on display would only have to display closed captioning on half of their screens.

Ultimately, the bill stipulates that places of public accommodation should make a “reasonable effort” to preemptively provide closed captioning on televisions, without placing the onus on patrons to request such services themselves.

The bill is under consideration by the Senate Government Organization Committee, which on Tuesday created a subcommittee to review and develop the bill further.