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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
7/21/1989--Introduced. Public Access to Captioned Television Act of 1989 - Amends part A (General Provisions) of title XI of the Social Security Act to permit participation in the Medicaid and Medicare programs only to hospitals which certify that each patient is provided, upon request, with a room furnished with a television capable of displaying closed-captioning and that notice of this service is given to the patient at the time of admission. Exempts hospitals that do not make televisions available to patients. Institutes comparable requirements for nursing care facilities and intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded, requiring that televisions in common areas of the relevant facility be capable of displaying closed-captioning. Amends the Public Health Service Act and other Federal law to institute the same requirements for Public Health Service facilities and for hospitals, nursing homes, and domiciliary facilities under the direct jurisdiction of the Veterans Administration (effective March 1989, Department of Veterans Affairs). Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education and vocational schools, in order to be eligible for student assistance programs, to certify that televisions capable of displaying closed-captioning are available for use in classrooms and common areas, unless the Secretary of Education determines that waiver or modification is appropriate. Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require any local educational agency conducting programs that include television program viewing to certify that the televisions used are capable of displaying closed-captioning, unless the Secretary of Education determines that waiver or modification is appropriate. Directs all Federal entities that use television or video programming to provide public information or educational services to make reasonable efforts to caption the programming and make it available to the general public and to organizations that serve the hearing-impaired. Prohibits Federal funding of conferences, seminars, or similar activities held in a public lodging establishment that does not, upon request, provide guests with rooms furnished with televisions capable of displaying closed-captioning. Permits the Secretary of the Treasury to waive this prohibition if the entity sponsoring or funding the event certifies that the waiver would be appropriate. Requires federally funded or federally sponsored public service announcements to be closed-captioned.