CFI weighs in on state and federal laws on language access

CFI board members met in Costa Mesa last weekend to discuss policy and financial matters.
CFI board members met in Costa Mesa last weekend to discuss policy and financial matters.

COSTA MESA — CFI leaders and staff updated members Saturday about legislative efforts on behalf of interpreters and in support of expanding language access.

During the seminar and meeting, CFI presented members with information about two recently introduced bills in the state Legislature. Those are:

  • SB597, which would establish a pilot project in 5 courts to provide interpreting in civil matters. The Judicial Council would report on the program and provide recommendations about it to the Legislature. Currently some California courts provide interpreters for some civil court hearings, but others do not.
  • AB1127, which would call for California to develop a statewide plan for language access. Additional details about the bill are still being finalized.

On the federal level, CFI also has provided comments for a draft assessment to guide courts in improving their language assistance services to the public.

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Federal Coordination and Compliance Section created the draft technical assistance and planning tool to aid courts in developing comprehensive language access programs. The agency sought public comments on the assessment by March 1.

CFI has been advocating for improved language access through quality interpreter services at the state and federal level.

DOJ officials have been looking at courts around the country to ensure they are complying with federal civil rights requirements by providing those with limited English proficiency (LEP) access to court services.

CFI will continue to keep you posted about these bills and other legislation affecting interpreters and language access.



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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer