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Council Passes Closed Captioning Ordinance

Council Passes Closed Captioning Ordinance


December 17, 2019


Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051


Tacoma City Council Passes Closed Captioning Ordinance 

The City of Tacoma will require all public establishments with televisions to turn on closed captioning beginning March 1, 2020. 

The new City Ordinance aligns municipal code with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and enhances local protections by creating an enforcement mechanism.

The new ordinance, once in effect, could result in fines of up to $500 per day in accordance with the enforcement provisions (TMC 1.82.050.F).

The Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation estimates that more than 900,000 of the state’s 7 million residents have some form of disability, which represents a significant part of our state’s economy.

“We don’t often consider how individuals who are deaf or have a hearing impairment experience the world,” Tacoma City Council Member Keith Blocker said.  “This ordinance will help make Tacoma more accessible and welcoming to all residents in our community.”

The City estimates that, based on national averages of people who are hard of hearing, 6 percent or more than 200,000 overnight visitors to our region experience some form of hearing disability each year.

“We want to Tacoma to be an inclusive city where all people can participate and contribute to our community,” Mayor Victoria Woodards said. “This ordinance makes the social connections and information provided in community gathering spaces more accessible to our friends and family who are hard of hearing or deaf and there is also the potential for businesses to increase their revenues as more people feel welcomed.” 

The City will be communicating with businesses and the community about the new ordinance before it goes into effect.

More information about the City’s Office of Equity and Human Rights is available at cityoftacoma.org/OEHR