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Your Guide to the Current Legislative and Regulatory Happenings in the Interpreting Profession

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Julie Anne Schafer, RID HQ Director of Public Policy and AdvocacyDirector’s Corner

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — legislative session! Legislative session has started, or will be starting, in almost every state. Whether or not you agree that it is the most wonderful time of the year, we are excited to relaunch In the Hopper!

Public Policy and Advocacy Department = Standards and Practices Department
As you may be aware, RID has undergone a recent reorganization. Formerly the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, I am now the Director of Standards and Practices (S&P). In addition to my policy and advocacy duties, I am now administering the Ethical Practices System and monitoring Affiliate Chapter compliance. We recently welcomed Neal Tucker to the team, who will serve as the Policy and Compliance Specialist and assist in the day-to-day functions of the S&P Department. Together, we will work to keep you informed of the current happenings around the country and support the advocacy and policy efforts in your state!

Ongoing Collaboration
I want to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of your role in RID’s advocacy efforts. Each year, we are faced with legislation that may impact the profession, and your collaboration is needed to ensure we are able to address bills that arise on a state and local level. If we’ve missed something, let us know! We will gladly include it in our next update.

As always, your feedback about ITH is not only welcomed but also encouraged. Please contact us at advocacy@rid.org with questions and suggestions. Is there something you want to see more of? Let us know!

Julie Anne Schafer, JD
Director of Standards and Practices 


 

STATE LEGISLATION

ALABAMA

Bill Number: HB 114
Sponsor: Representative Margie Wilcox (REP-AL), Representative Howard Sanderford (REP-AL)
Bill Title: Relating to the Alabama Sunset Law; to continue the existence and functioning of the Alabama Licensure Board for Interpreters and Transliterators until October 1, 2021.
Abstract: Interpreters and Transliterators, Licensure Board for, Sunset Law review, continued until October 1, 2021.
Status: Delivered to Governor at 5:35 p.m. on February 28, 2017.

CALIFORNIA

Bill Number: AB 322
Sponsor: Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (DEM-CA)
Bill Title: An act to amend Section 10621 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.
Abstract: Existing law requires public social services for the deaf and hard of hearing to be available in at least 3 regions throughout the state. Existing law provides that public social services for the deaf and hard of hearing includes, but is not limited to, complete communication services through interpreter services by a professional interpreter for the deaf, as specified, and counseling. This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

Status: Hearing Date on 3/10/17.

CONNECTICUT

Bill Number: HB 5363
Sponsor: Representative Catherine Abercrombie (DEM-CT), Senator Gayle Slossberg (DEM-CT), Marilyn Moore (DEM-CT), Human Services Committee
Bill Title: An Act Concerning Interpreters for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons
Abstract: To ensure that persons who are deaf and hard of hearing have access to adequate and effective interpreting services.

Status: 1/10/2017 Referred to Joint Committee on Human Services

Bill Number: SB 916 (cross-filed HB 705)
Sponsor: Senator Thad Altman (REP-FLA) and Education Pre-K-12
Bill Title: Qualifications for Educational Interpreters
Abstract: Qualifications for Educational Interpreters ; Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt standards for educational interpreters; requiring school districts to notify parents if an individual assigned to provide interpreter services for their student does not meet such standards; requiring school districts to report to the Department of Education, for publication on its website, certain information regarding individuals providing interpreter services, etc.
Status: Committee Substitute read first time 2/9/16.

HAWAII

Bill Number: HB 1106
Sponsor: Representative Joseph Souki (DEM-HI)
Bill Title: Relating to Licensing of American Sign Language Interpreters 
Abstract: Regulates Interpreter Referral Agencies by requiring registration with the State of Hawaii. Includes sections about agency responsibilities, consumer rights, protections for those harmed by using an interpreter referral agency to obtain an interpreter.
Status: The committee(s) on HUS recommend(s) that the measure be deferred. 2/3/17

Bill Number: HB 1107
Sponsor: Representative Joseph Souki (DEM-HI)
Bill Title: Relating to American Sign Language Interpreter Referral Agencies
Abstract: Regulates Interpreter Referral Agencies by requiring registration with the State of Hawaii. Includes sections about agency responsibilities, consumer rights, protections for those harmed by using an interpreter referral agency to obtain an interpreter.
Status: The committee(s) on HUS recommend(s) that the measure be deferred. 2/3/17

Bill Number: SB 972
Sponsor: Senator Ronald Kouchi (DEM-HI)
Bill Title: Relating to Licensing of American Sign Language Interpreters
Abstract: Regulates Interpreter Referral Agencies by requiring registration with the State of Hawaii. Includes sections about agency responsibilities, consumer rights, protections for those harmed by using an interpreter referral agency to obtain an interpreter.
Status: The committee on CPH deferred the measure. 2/9/17

Bill Number: SB 973
Sponsor: Senator Ronald Kouchi (DEM-HI)
Bill Title: Relating to American Sign Language Interpreter Referral Agencies
Abstract: Regulates Interpreter Referral Agencies by requiring registration with the State of Hawaii. Includes sections about agency responsibilities, consumer rights, protections for those harmed by using an interpreter referral agency to obtain an interpreter.
Status: The committee on CPH/JDL deferred the measure. 2/10/17

Bill Number: SCR 32
Sponsor: Senator Ronald Kouchi (DEM-HI), Senator Gilbert S. C. Keith-Agaran (DEM-HI),
Bill Title: Requesting the Auditor to Conduct a Survey Regarding Professional Licensure of American Sign Language Interpreters and Regulation of Interpreter Referral Agencies
Abstract: Requesting the auditor to conduct a study regarding professional licensure of American Sign Language interpreters and regulation of interpreter referral agencies.
Status: Re-Referred to CPH 2/10/17

Bill Number: HCR 43
Sponsor: Representative James Tokioka (DEM-HI), Representative Tom Brower (DEM-HI), Representative Richard Creagan (DEM-HI), Representative Linda Ichiyama (DEM-HI), Representative Ken Ito (DEM-HI), Representative Sam Kong (DEM-HI), Representative Angus McKelvey (DEM-HI), Representative Marcus Oshiro (DEM-HI), Representative Scott Saiki (DEM-HI), Representative Calvin K. Y. Say (DEM-HI), Representative Gregg Takayama (DEM-HI), Representative Kyle Yamashita (DEM-HI)
Bill Title: Requesting the Auditor to Conduct a Survey Regarding Professional Licensure of American Sign Language Interpreters and Regulation of Interpreter Referral Agencies
Abstract: Requesting the auditor to conduct a study regarding professional licensure of American Sign Language interpreters and regulation of interpreter referral agencies.
Status: Referred to IAC, CPC, referral sheet 20

IDAHO

Bill Number: HB 0046
Sponsor: Health & Welfare Committee
Bill Title: Relating to Sign Language Interpreters Amending Section 54-2902
Abstract: SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS – Amends and adds to existing law to provide for licensure of sign language interpreters.
Status: Title approved-to senate

MASSACHUSETTS

Bill Number: SD 1439 (S. 173)
Sponsor: Senator James T. Welch (DEM-MA)
Bill Title: An Act Protecting Consumers of Sign Language and Oral Interpretation and Transliteration
Abstract: To protect consumers of sign language and oral interpretation and transliteration. Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

Bill Number: SD 1668 (S. 174)
Sponsor: Senator James T. Welch (DEM-MA)
Bill Title: An Act Establishing the Licensure of Interpreters and Oral Transliterators for the Deaf
Abstract: To establish the licensure of interpreters and oral transliterators for the deaf. Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

MINNESOTA

Bill Number: HF 774
Sponsor: Representative Nels Pierson (REP-MN), Representative Joe McDonald (REP-MN), Representative Tama Theis (REP-MN), Representative Dave Pinto (DEM-MN)
Bill Title: Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Act provisions modified, and money appropriated.
Abstract: This bill modernizes and modifies certain provisions of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Act.
Status: Committee report, to adopt as amended and re-refer to Health and Human Services Finance

Bill Number: SF 738
Sponsor: Senator John Hoffman (DEM-MN), Senator Jim Abeler (REP-MN), Senator Foung Hawj (DEM-MN), Senator Michelle Fischbach (REP-MN)
Bill Title: Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Act provisions modified, and money appropriated.
Abstract: This bill modernizes and modifies certain provisions of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Act.
Status: Committee report, to adopt as amended and re-refer to Health and Human Services Finance

NEW YORK

Bill Number: S 2682 (A 1351)
Sponsor: Senator Kevin Parker (DEM-NY), Representative Nily Rozic (DEM-NY)
Bill Title: Language Barrier to Justice Elimination Act
Abstract: Enacts the “language barrier to justice elimination act”; establishes standards for court interpreters and a procedure for waiver of a non-English speaking person’s right to an interpreter in any proceeding.
Status: 1/20/17 Referred to Health

WASHINGTON

Bill Number: HB 1386 (SB 5233)
Sponsor: Representative Melanie Stambaugh (REP-WA), Representative Matt Manweller (REP-WA), Representative Eric Pettigrew (DEM-WA), Representative Jay Rodne (REP-WA), and Representative Larry Springer (DEM-WA), Representative Tina Orwell (DEM-WA). State Senators: Senator Mark Mullet (DEM-WA), Senator Guy Palumbo (DEM-WA), Senator Ann Rivers (REP-WA), Senator Lynda Wilson (REP-WA), Committee on Commerce, Labor & Sports
Bill Title: An Act Relating to the Employee Status of Language Translators and Interpreters

Abstract: Exempts the following from mandatory coverage under the state industrial insurance act: Services performed by language translators or interpreters that are provided for others through an agent or broker.

Status: Passed to Rules Committee for second reading.

Bill Number: SB 5142
Sponsor: Senator Guy Palumbo (DEM-WA), Senator Mark Mullet (DEM-WA), Senator Karen Keiser (DEM-WA), Senator Patty Kuderer (DEM-WA), and Senator Christine Rolfes (DEM-WA), Senator Andy Billig (DEM-WA) Senator Jamie Pedersen (DEM-WA), Senator John McCoy (DEM-WA), Senator Lisa Wellman (DEM-WA), Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education
Bill Title: An Act Relating to Educational Interpreters

Abstract: Revises professional educator standards board provisions regarding evaluation and assessments for educational interpreters for which the board has not established a performance standard; and educational interpreters who have not successfully achieved the performance standard.

Status: Placed on second reading by Rules Committee

 


FEDERAL REGULATION

Federal Communications Commission:

The Federal Communications Commission has tentatively placed on its agenda for the March 23, 2017 open meeting an item that would enhance service quality and propose a new provider compensation plan for video relay service (VRS) to better ensure that individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or have speech disabilities experience service that is functionally equivalent to voice services available to hearing individuals who do not have speech disabilities.

Links to the proposed Fact Sheet, Report and Order, Notice of Inquiry, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order:

PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-343733A1.pdf

Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-343733A1.txt

Any views on the subject expressed to federal officials including by email must be filed in CG Docket Nos. 10-51 and 03-123, which may be accessed via the Electronic Comment Filing System (https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/).

For more information, contact Eliot Greenwald, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at 202-418-2235 or e mail Eliot.Greenwald@fcc.gov.  For those using videophones and fluent in American Sign Language, you may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275 (videophone).

Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs of the Deaf:

On February 16, 2017, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to reform the education of deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deafblind students was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1120, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, was sponsored by Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA 17), with 15 original co-sponsors: Pete Aguilar (D-CA-31), Joseph Crowley (D-NY-14), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD-7), John K. Delaney (D-MD-7), Michael F. Doyle (D-PA-14), David B. McKinley (R-WV-1), Grace Meng (D-NY-6), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Eric Swalwell (D-CA-41), Mark Takano (D-CA-41), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-5), Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3).

We need your help to obtain more House co-sponsors, and to have the bill introduced in the Senate. Please write to your members of Congress today, using the model letters below.

Thanks for all you do to support deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind children!

Find your members of Congress here.

More information can be found here: http://www.ceasd.org/child-first/alice-cogswell


 

Upcoming Events:

No events scheduled!

Past Events:

NAD’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day 2017: https://youtu.be/MWmCwxQPM1c

If you have an event you would like promoted through ITH, please email advocacy@rid.org and we would be happy to include it in our next issue!