Captions Now Required on Televisions in Public in Washington State. Here Are the Details.

Captions are now required on all televisions in public spaces across Washington State, thanks to the passage of Washington State Senate Bill 5027.

That means that in public places—think bars, restaurants, lobbies, salons, and transportation hubs–if there are televisions, captions must be turned on as the default. People with hearing loss shouldn’t have to request captions–they should be the default.

There are a few exceptions, such as if a television isn’t caption-capable, or if a another federal or state law exempts the business. But in most cases, captions should be always on.

For more information, please see below for an excellent presentation for businesses and employees from Deborah O’Willow at the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), and a guide from the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The law takes effect July 25, 2021, and venues have until October 23, 2021 to be in compliance.

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