There is one summary for S.1869. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (10/09/1979)

Equal Access to Communications Act of 1979 - Title I: Access to Government - Directs the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, after consultation with specified organizations with special knowledge of the problems of deaf persons, to select at least five Federal agencies with which deaf persons have the greatest need for communication and have installed in each such agency and its regional offices a device which permits two-way communication of textual messages in alphanumeric form by telephone lines. Directs the Secretary to select an additional 100 locations for installation of such devices which shall be available to deaf people for their use in communicating with the agencies selected under this Act and with Members of Congress who choose to install such a device.

Directs the Secretary to disseminate information about the availability of such devices as widely as possible to local organizations of the deaf.

Directs that at least one employee be available during normal working hours at each location where such devices are located for use by deaf persons to assist such persons in the use of such devices.

Authorizes the Secretary to make a grant to any State or local government for installing telecommunications devices for the deaf in government agencies and other locations in a program to be identical to the Federal program established by this Act. Sets the level of such grants at 75 percent of the cost of installing and operating such devices. Authorizes annual continuing grants for such purposes to be made after assurances have been received that the requirements of this Act have been and will continue to be met during the ensuing year.

Requires the Secretary to seek the cooperation of the Administrator of General Services in having transferred to States any telecommunications devices for the deaf categorized as Federal surplus property.

Requires that any Member of Congress making a written request for a telecommunications device for the deaf be provided with one. Directs the Architect of the Capitol to install at the central switchboard in the United States Capitol a telecommunications device for the deaf and requires at least one employee trained in the use of such device to be available during normal working hours to provide assistance to deaf persons.

Requires the Secretary to report to Congress within two years after the installation of the first telecommunications device under this Act describing the effectiveness of the programs established by this Act and making recommendations on the continuation and expansion of such programs.

Title II: Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow refundable income tax credits for: (1) an amount equal to 75 percent of the expenses paid by blind, deaf, or speech-impaired individuals for use of toll telephone service by means of teletypewriters; and (2) amounts incurred for television subtitle equipment for use by hearing-impaired individuals.

Allows an income tax deduction for 50 percent of the expenses of purchasing or installing a teletypewriter which are incurred by blind, deaf, or speech-impaired individuals. Limits the amount of such deduction to $200 for each teletypewriter.