Disability Community Celebrates New Captioning Ordinance

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For immediate release:
September 22, 2017  

Contact:
Stephanie Woodward: 585-269-9184
Ryan Chalmers: 585-546-7510  

Rochester, NY – The Center for Disability Rights (CDR) and the Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL) are excited the Rochester City Council approved a Closed Captioning Ordinance, at its meeting on September 19, 2017. This makes the City of Rochester one of the first cities in the country to establish this ordinance.

This legislation will require any business that provides television access to its patrons to utilize the closed captioning option. Businesses will be required to provide closed captioning during all regular business hours. The ordinance will increase access to information for community members and visitors who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Jonathan Dollhopf, RCIL’s Deaf Systems Advocate, worked tirelessly in creating this citizen driven request to City Council. Dollhopf brought this issue to City Council, testified about the importance of captioning at City Council meetings, and worked directly with City Council members on this issue.

“Rochester has the highest Deaf population per capita in the nation, so it is important that we have access to communication in the community,” Dollhopf said. “Captioning makes information on televisions accessible to Deaf people, and with this ordinance our Deaf Community will now have the same access as everyone else watching TV in public. I am proud that Rochester City Council passed this ordinance.”  

This ordinance adds to a great number of efforts that the City of Rochester has made to become more accessible to the Disability Community. In 2015, Rochester City Council passed an amendment to the snow removal ordinance that requires property owners to ensure sidewalks are clear so that wheelchair users and other pedestrians can safely traverse the sidewalks in the winter. Mayor Lovely Warren highlighted the importance of that ordinance with her “Clear the Snow so All Can Go” campaign.

“We are thrilled that the City of Rochester is committed to becoming a more accessible and welcoming city for people with disabilities,” said Stephanie Woodward, Director of Advocacy at CDR. “CDR works hard to improve access in the community and we are thankful that City Council and the Mayor’s Office have made this a priority as well.”