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Director’s Corner

Welcome to this month’s issue of “In the Hopper” (ITH). As you know, legislative session has ended in many states. There are a few states remaining in session until May or June. One, North Carolina, just started. That is significant because there may be a legislative proposal impacting interpreter licensure in North Carolina. Stay tuned for updates.

Meanwhile, there are several bills making progress around the country that will impact the interpreting profession. For example, AB 2311 in California related to emergency services and HB 1512 in Oklahoma related to Educational Interpreters. See the summary of state legislative proposals below for more information.

As always, please let us know if we missed something so that we can include it in next month’s issue. Your feedback is critical to ensuring that we can share timely, relevant information.

Thanks for reading and enjoy this month’s ITH!

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: Re-referred to Committee on Judiciary 4/18/16. Hearing to be held on 5/3/16.

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: Passed Committee on Government Operations 20-0, and re-referred to Committee on Appropriations 04/20/16.

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: Died in Education Pre-K – 12 Committee on 3/11/16.

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.

Massachusetts
Bill Number: SB 204
Bill Title: An act protecting consumers of sign language and oral interpretation and transliteration
Abstract: An act to establish standards for interpreters and require interpreters deemed qualified to register with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and hard of hearing.
Status: Referred to Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure 04/15/2015

Bill Number: SB 205
Bill Title: An act establishing licensure of interpreters and oral transliterators for the deaf
Abstract: Requires licensure with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for any interpreter receiving compensation for their services conducted within the State. Establishes fines for interpreters violating the terms set forth within the act. Creates a right of action for any deaf person who requests a licensed interpreter within the State and is denied.
Status: Referred to Committee on Healthcare Financing 04/07/2016.

*The Massachusetts State Legislature website is experiencing technical difficulties at this time. If you have any questions regarding these bills, feel free to contact the sponsoring Senator’s office: Jim Welch

NORTH CAROLINA – Session Convened 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.

OKLAHOMA 
Bill Number: HB 1512
Bill Title: Schools; Modifying the Educational Interpreters for the Deaf Act
Abstract: Proposes changes to the Educational Interpreter for the Deaf Act by changing minimum standards and qualifications for educational interpreters. Modifies previous qualifications to include RID credentials, including the Ed: K-12, and the Oklahoma QAST. Establishes registration requirements and penalties for failure to comply. Makes it unlawful for individuals who continue to interpret in educational settings without valid certification.
Status: Senate Amendments rejected. Conference requested. Naming Conference Committee on Common Education 04/26/16.

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. Signed by Governor 03/25/16.
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: Failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1 04/13/16.
AB 726/SB 568 Update in ASL-WIS RID.
AB 726/SB 568 Update in ASL-WAD

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: Failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1 04/13/16.
AB 726/SB 568 Update in ASL.
AB 726/SB 568 Update in ASL-WAD