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Director’s Corner

Hello!

The last week in March marks the close of legislative session in many states. However, there are still some legislatures in session considering bills that will impact the profession and Deaf community. Our state legislative summary below will indicate which states are still in session.

In this month’s ITH, we’re also including legislative events across the country. If your state is having an event related to policy or legislation, let us know! We’re happy to include it in next month’s issue.

On a somewhat related point, we will continue to send out ITH monthly until July. Then, from July until January, we will start bi-monthly publication. The reason being that once legislative session closes in most states, there is less need for frequent updates. If there is an issue that comes up that needs immediate attention, it will be in eNews, so keep an eye out for that. Then, in January 2017, we will resume monthly publication in line with legislative session.

Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or feedback related to ITH. We are always open to how we can do things better to serve the members and the community.

I hope you have a spectacular spring and I look forward to working together!

Julie Anne Schafer, JD
Director of Standards and Practices 


STATE LEGISLATION

CALIFORNIA

Bill Number: AB 1709
Sponsor: Representative James Gallagher (REP-CA)
Bill Title: An act to amend Section 754 of the Evidence Code, relating to courts
Abstract: Relating to the certification of interpreters in the California Court System.
Status: First Reading 01/25/16. Referred to Committee on Judiciary 02/18/16.

Bill Number: AB 2311
Sponsor: Representative Cheryl R. Brown (DEM- CA)
Bill Title: Emergency Services: Sign Language Interpreters
Abstract: The office shall provide, or contract for, a disaster response sign language interpreter certification program, which shall train persons on the use of American Sign Language to effectively communicate public safety information.
Status: Second Reading 03/16/16. Re-referred to Committee on Government Organization 03/17/16.

FLORIDA- Session ended March 11, 2016

Bill Number: HB 705 (cross-filed: SB 916)
Sponsor: Representative Lori Berman (DEM-FLA) and K-12 Subcommittee
Bill Title: Qualifications for Educational Interpreters
Abstract: Requires State Board of Education (SBE) to establish standards for educational interpreters and school districts to notify parents if an individual providing interpreter services does not meet SBE standards and report to Department of Education (DOE) information regarding individuals providing interpreter services.
Status: Passed Third Reading. Referred to Senate.

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: Died in Senate Committee Education Pre-K -12 03/11/16.

NORTH CAROLINA – Session Convenes April 25
Bill Number: Not yet assigned
Bill Title: Amend APA/ Sunset Licensing Bds.
Abstract: A draft bill that would sunset the North Carolina Interpreter and Transliterator Licensing Board (NCITB) and eliminate licensing requirements for interpreters and transliterators.
Status: Draft bill; not yet introduced.

UTAH- Session Ended March 10, 2016

Bill Number: HB 102
Sponsor: Representative Rebecca Edwards (REP-UT)
Bill Title: Interpreter services for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing Act
Abstract: Amends provisions relating to the certification of and requirements for interpreters or transliterators for the deaf or hard of hearing; and makes technical and conforming changes.
Status: House filed for bills not passed 03/10/16.

Bill Number: HB 325
Sponsor: Representative Norman K. Thurston (REP- UT)
Bill Title: Office of Rehabilitation Services Amendments
Abstract: Under Part 6, “Interpreter Services for the Deaf  and Hard of Hearing Act;” The establishment of an Interpreter Certification Board.
Status: Passed Senate 03/09/16. Sent to the Governor 03/17/16.
Utah HB 325 Update in ASL

WASHINGTON- Session ended March 10, 2016

Bill Number: HB 2324
Sponsor: Representative Kevin Van De Wege (DEM-WA), Representative Derek Stanford (DEM-WA), Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (DEM-WA), Representative Noel Frame (DEM-WA), and Representative Gael Tarleton (DEM-WA)
Bill Title: Concerning Educational Interpreters
Abstract: Authorizes the parent or guardian of a child who is deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing to request a specific sign language or sign system in the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Requires school districts to give priority to a request for a specific sign language or sign system to be used in an IEP. Requires an educational interpreter to comply with the sign language or sign system specified in a child’s IEP. Identifies the Education Sign Skills Evaluation and the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment as options that meet the requirements for educational interpreter assessments. Modifies definitions.
Status: Reintroduced during 1st Special Session and retained in current status 03/10/16.
HB 2425 Update in ASL 

WISCONSIN

Bill Number: AB 726 (cross-filed: SB 568)
Sponsor: Representative Tyler Vorpagel (REP-WI), Representative Adam Jarchow (REP-WI), Representative David Craig (REP-WI), and Representative Rob Hutton (REP-WI)
Bill Title: Assembly Bill 726
Abstract: This bill eliminates the Sign Language Interpreter Council and transfers the duties of both the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) and the Sign Language Interpreter Council regarding sign language interpreters to the Hearing and Speech Examining Board. In addition, the bill eliminates one of the hearing instrument specialist members on the Hearing and Speech Examining Board and adds to that board two sign language interpreters and one additional public member.
Status: Read first time and referred to Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations 01/15/16. Fiscal Estimate received 02/01/16.
AB 726/SB 568 Update in ASL.

Bill Number: SB 568 (cross-filed AB 726)
Sponsor: Senator Duey Stroebel (REP-WI), Senator Frank G. Lasee (REP-WI), and Senator Chris Kapenga (REP-WI)
Bill Title: Senate Bill 568
Abstract: This bill eliminates the Sign Language Interpreter Council and transfers the duties of both DSPS and the Sign Language Interpreter Council regarding sign language interpreters to the Hearing and Speech Examining Board. In addition, the bill eliminates one of the hearing instrument specialist members on the Hearing and Speech Examining Board and adds to that board two sign language interpreters and one additional public member.
Status: Public Hearing held 01/19/16. Fiscal estimate received 02/03/16.
AB 726/SB 568 Update in ASL.