August 6, 2010: SENATE PASSES BILL CHAMPIONED BY MARKEY TO MAKE TECHNOLOGY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

Rep. Markey authored bill that passed House on July 26th; Sen. Pryor authored companion legislation that passed Senate last night

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), author of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (H.R. 3101), today issued the following statement after companion legislation (S. 3304) introduced by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)  unanimously passed the Senate last night.
I am extremely pleased that last night the Senate passed a companion bill to the one I authored in the House to ensure accessibility for Americans with disabilities to the communications and video technologies needed  to participate fully in the 21st century,” Rep. Markey said.  “I would like to congratulate Sen. Pryor for his outstanding leadership to get this landmark legislation passed and commend Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.), Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV), and Sen. Harkin (D-IA) for their extraordinary efforts.  I also would like to note that, like in the House, the Senate effort was bi-partisan and included the critical support of Sen. Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. Hutchison (R-TX).” 

“Whether it’s a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue – it’s a participation issue,” said Markey. “Two decades ago, Americans with disabilities couldn’t get around if buildings weren’t wheelchair accessible; today it’s about being Web accessible. The ADA mandated physical ramps into buildings. Today, individuals with disabilities need online ramps to the Internet so they can get to the Web from wherever they happen to be.

“Passage of this bill is a landmark achievement in the fight for equal access to technology for all Americans. From the time of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan - through the Americans with Disabilities Act - to closed captioning for television programming and the ability of the deaf to make telephone calls – and now to the comprehensive communications and video accessibility bill that has passed both the House and Senate, we’ve made great strides.

“Now that both the House and Senate have acted, I look forward to proceeding and getting legislation to President Obama for his signature ,” Rep. Markey concluded.

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