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Bill would require captioning service at some theaters

Senator Ray Jones says for many, the theater experience offers them nothing but silence.

“646,000 Kentuckians with a hearing impairment,” says Jones, D-Pikeville.

Those with trouble hearing often miss out on the trip to the movies…because he says few offer closed captioning.

“It’s time we step up and say look, we need to do the right thing, help people,” he said.

So Jones is sponsoring a bill to require all cinemas with at least 5 screens to have at least one screen with a closed captioning service.

“Not all movies are going to be available for a captioned audience. We have so many not offering any films,” said Jones, who said the idea for the bill came from a friend in Pikeville who is deaf.

If made law, the bill would require one of a number of different ways to offer the captioning service. Options would include a device on the back of a seat, something hand held or the words on the screen for everyone to see.

Several of the corporate theater companies offer captioning in select theaters. A spokesman for the Regal Entertainment group says the 16 screen cinema in Lexington offers open captioning. But Jones says many offer nothing.

“It comes down to the people simply not wanting to spend the money to provide this service,” said Jones.

Jones says theaters could provide for the service for about $12,000 per screen.

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