City of Toledo Closed Captioning Ordinance
In 2022, the City of Toledo passed a closed captioning ordinance that requires all places of public accommodation to have captions turned “on” on any TVs located in the building. This ordinance helps our city become more disability-friendly by ensuring that anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing can have equal access to places of public accommodation in Toledo.
What is closed captioning? Closed captioning refers to text that reflects an audio track and can be read while watching visual content. In this ordinance, it refers to having the text box at the bottom of a TV screen turned on.
Why did City of Toledo pass this ordinance? In order to enjoy the audio track on a TV, people who are deaf or hard of hearing need to have captioning turned on. This ordinance makes the City of Toledo a more welcoming and disability-friendly place.
Where does this apply? The ordinance applies to all places of public accommodation, or businesses open to the public in Toledo. Some examples are a business, an educational institution, or a refreshment, entertainment, recreation, health, or transportation facility of any kind that is available to the public. This includes bars and restaurants, hospitals and doctor’s offices, entertainment venues, and any other public place in Toledo.
Who is responsible? Owner(s), manager(s), and employee(s) are responsible for ensuring close captions on a television in a place of public accommodation.
When does this go into effect? Close captioning must be in use on any television that is turned on in a restaurant, bar, business, educational institution, or any other public facility starting December 1st, 2022.
What if the TVs in a business do not have closed captioning? This ordinance does not apply to any TV that does not have closed captioning capability.
What are the consequences if a business does not turn the captions on?
Each violation is a minor misdemeanor. The first offense will receive a warning letter and all subsequent violations punishable by a maximum fine of $150. Where a Responsible Person is not immediately apparent, there shall be a rebuttable presumption of responsibility on the part of the owner of the Place of Public Accommodation.
Who can I contact if I notice that a place of public accommodation in Toledo does not have captions turned on?
If you notice that a place of public accommodation does not have captions turned on you can report them to Engage Toledo by phone, 419-936-2020, e-mail (email@example.com), on the Engage Toledo website or through the Engage Toledo App.
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Amending the Toledo Municipal Code by enacting a new Chapter 556, Closed Captioning.
SUMMARY & BACKGROUND:
City Council has determined that hearing loss is a significant problem affecting many residents and visitors to the City of Toledo and that requiring activation of closed captioning on compatible television receivers while in use in places of public accommodation improves the health, safety, and welfare of the city by increasing available channels of communication to persons with hearing loss.
NOW, THEREFORE, Be it ordained by the Council of the City of Toledo:
SECTION 1. That a new Chapter 556, Closed Captioning, of the Toledo Municipal Code is enacted as follows:
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings described in this section:
(a) Closed Captioning means a transcript or dialog of the audio portion of a television program that is displayed on a portion of a television receiver screen when the user activates the feature.
(b) Closed-Captioned Television Receiver means a receiver of television programming that has the ability to display Closed Captioning, including but not limited to a television, digital set top box, and other technology capable of displaying Closed Captioning for television programming.
(c) Place of Public Accommodation means a business, an educational institution, or a refreshment, entertainment, recreation, health, or transportation facility of any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public.
(d) Responsible Person means an owner, employee, manager, or agent with the authority to control a Closed-Captioned Television Receiver in a Place of Public Accommodation.
556.02 Activation of closed captioning.
(a) A Responsible Person must activate and leave activated Closed Captioning on any Closed-Captioned Television Receiver while the Closed-Captioned Television Receiver is in use in any part of the Place of Public Accommodation that is open to the general public.
(b) A Responsible Person is not required to:
(1) Turn on a Closed-Captioned Television Receiver that is off;
(2) Provide a Closed-Captioned Television Receiver in the Place of Public Accommodation; or
(3) Upgrade or replace a receiver of television programming that is incapable of displaying Closed Captioning.
Each violation of this chapter shall be a minor misdemeanor with the first offense receiving a warning and all subsequent violations punishable by a maximum fine of $150. Where a Responsible Person is not immediately apparent, there shall be a rebuttable presumption of responsibility on the part of the owner of the Place of Public Accommodation.
This ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after December 1, 2022.
SECTION 2. That it is found and determined that all formal actions of Council concerning and relating to the passage of this Ordinance were adopted in an open meeting of Council and that all deliberations of Council and any of its committees that result in such formal action were in meetings open to the public in compliance with all legal requirements, including Section 121.22.
SECTION 3. That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.
Vote on emergency clause: yeas 11, nays 0.
Passed: September 13, 2022, as an emergency measure: yeas 11, nays 0.
Gerald E. Dendinger Matt Cherry
Clerk of Council President of Council
Approved: September 15, 2022