All public-facing televisions in Plano will now have closed captioning on to benefit those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

What happened

Plano City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that will require all city-owned televisions to have closed captioning turned on during its May 22 meeting. The resolution also encourages local businesses to do the same, according to the agenda item.

According to the resolution, closed captioning will make audible content more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those with developmental disabilities, sensory disabilities, non-native speakers and others.

How we got here

The resolution was introduced after Meryl Evans, a deaf Plano citizen, asked if all public-facing televisions could have closed captioning on.

“The biggest barrier for me as a deaf citizen is communication. I’m a good lip reader, but lip readers on average only catch one-third of what’s said,” Evans said at the meeting. “Having closed captions in public spaces improves communication and inclusion.”

Evans added that the lack of closed captions on public-facing televisions could be dangerous for deaf or hard of hearing people during inclement weather.

Quote of note

"This is a step in the right direction for our city,” said Dylan Rafaty, founder and president of the North Texas Disability Chamber. “It’s a little thing we can do to improve access and inclusion for all.”