Delegate Bhandari and Senator Brooks Herald Major Advance for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community with Landmark Legislation Awaiting Governor’s Signature

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2024

Delegate Bhandari  

Maryland House of Delegates  

6 Bladen Street, Room 303

Annapolis, MD:

 In a united effort championed by Delegate Harry Bhandari alongside Senator Benjamin Brooks , a groundbreaking legislative milestone has been achieved for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community of Maryland. The duo proudly announces that House Bill 0426 (HB0426): Places of Public Accommodation – Motion Picture Houses – Captioning, together with its Senate version, Senate Bill 0092 (HB0092 ), is now awaiting final approval from the Governor. This significant legislative victory, which will ensure that all Marylanders have access to open-captioned movies, underscores a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, and the universal delight of cinema is available to all Marylanders.

Reflecting on this collaborative success, Delegate Bhandari stated, “The journey to the successful passage of HB0426 and SB0092 embodies our collective dedication to the rights of Maryland’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community. It’s a testament to what we can achieve together, ensuring cinema’s joy is accessible to everyone, marking a historic step towards inclusivity and equality.” He warmly acknowledged the fervent advocacy and compelling narratives shared by community leaders, emphasizing, “Your passionate advocacy has been the cornerstone of this achievement. I am deeply grateful for each voice and Senator Brooks that has joined this chorus for change.”

Senator Brooks echoed these sentiments, adding, “Working with Delegate Bhandari to sponsor SB92/HB426 has been a defining moment, striving to better the lives of over 1.2 million deaf or hard-of-hearing Marylanders through enhanced access to open-captioned movies. This legislation is a leap forward in our ongoing mission to ensure a more inclusive and enjoyable cinematic experience. My heartfelt thanks go to the dedicated stakeholders and my peers in the General Assembly whose support was pivotal in realizing this vision.”

Jacob Lefler and the Maryland Association of the Deaf were especially commended for their indispensable advocacy and partnership. Delegate Bhandari remarked, “Jacob Lefler and the Maryland Association of the Deaf have been crucial allies in our journey. Your relentless pursuit of justice, expertise, and advocacy have been key to elevating this cause to legislative success.”

As HB0426 and SB0092 await the Governor’s signature, advocates and the broader community are evidently anticipating and excited. These bills symbolize a more inclusive future, breaking down barriers and upholding the values of accessibility and equality.

“We stand on the threshold of enacting meaningful change that will positively impact many lives across Maryland,” Delegate Bhandari concluded. “We look forward to the Governor’s endorsement, ready to celebrate a significant win for human dignity and equal rights.”

For more information about HB0426, SB0092, and Delegate Bhandari’s advocacy efforts, please contact Harry Bhandari at harry.bhandari@house.state.md.us or by phone at 410-841-3526.

-END-

Become a Part of Our Team

Support Us For Your Better Future