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S.F. No. 161 - Hard-of-Hearing Accommodation Requirement in State-Funded Capital Improvement Projects - As Amended by The A-2 Amendment
Author: Senator Ann H. Rest
Prepared By: Stephanie James, Senate Counsel (651/296-0103)
Date: February 16, 2017


Section 1 [Accommodation for Hard-of-Hearing in State-Funded Capital Projects] requires certain features in public gathering spaces in buildings constructed with state funds to accommodate people who are hard-of-hearing.

Subdivision 1 [Definition] defines “public gathering space.”

Subd. 2 [Accommodation for hard-of-hearing in state-funded capital projects] precludes the head of an agency from approving a contract for, or granting state funds for, a capital improvement project to construct or renovate a public gathering space unless the public gathering space has these features:

(1)   Audio-induction loops, if the public gathering space has an audio-amplification system. Audio induction loops provide an electromagnetic signal for hearing aids and cochlear implants; and

(2)   Meets certain industry acoustical performance criteria.

Subd. 3 [Exemption] exempts a construction project from the requirements of subdivision 2 when meeting the requirement is not feasible, is in conflict with other requirements in law, is in conflict with other project requirements, or that costs outweigh the benefits. The commissioner must consult with the Commission of Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard-of-Hearing Minnesotans before making that determination.

Subd. 4 [Exemption reports] requires commissioners and agency heads to report each exemption under subdivision 3 to the Commission of Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard-of-Hearing Minnesotans, and the Commission must report these exemptions to the legislature every two years.

EFFECTIVE DATE.  This section is effective the day after enactment and applies to any project funded with an appropriation enacted after January 1, 2017.  This section does not apply to a project that has completed schematic design on the effective date.

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