Hearing impaired Minnesotans seek to have needs considered in new buildings

Better acoustics and loop technology in public gathering spaces are essential for access by those who are hard-of-hearing.  Sponsored by Rep. Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud), HF423 would require designers of state-funded building projects to consider acoustics in their plans and include loop technology that sends signals directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants. It would apply to new construction and renovation projects.

The House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee approved the bill Wednesday and sent it to the House Capital Investment Committee. Its companion, SF161, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), awaits action by the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee.

Theis said the bill would add little to no cost to new construction and remodeling projects. By contrast, Beth Fraser, government relations director at the Commission of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, said retrofitting existing structures is much more expensive.

Get more information on this legislation here.