Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5321

February Session, 2014

 

LCO No. 468

 

*00468_______HS_*

Referred to Committee on HUMAN SERVICES

 

Introduced by:

 

(HS)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING INTERPRETER QUALIFICATIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 46a-33a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2014):

(a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit-Relay" or "CLIP-R" means a conditional permit designed for deaf or hard of hearing interpreters who have completed a training program recognized by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and who work in legal settings;

(2) "Department" means the Department of Rehabilitation Services;

(3) "Educational setting" means (A) a school or other educational institution or business, including an elementary school, a secondary school or a high school, (B) a post-secondary, vocational-technical, or remediation school or program, and (C) all school-based programs, services and activities available to any student and his or her family, including, but not limited to, clubs, sports, parent-teacher organizations, testing preparations, meetings, school assemblies, concerts and theatrical productions;

(4) "Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment system" or "EIPA" means the five-step system that rates an educational interpreter's skill;

[(1)] (5) "Interpreting" means the translating [or transliterating] of English concepts to [a] the language [concept] concepts used by a person who is deaf or hard of hearing or [means] the translating of a deaf or hard of hearing person's language [concept] concepts to English concepts. Language concepts include, but are not limited to, the use of American Sign Language, English-based sign language, cued speech, oral transliterating and information received tactually;

[(2)] (6) "Legal setting" means any criminal or civil action involving a court of competent jurisdiction, any investigation or action conducted by a duly authorized law enforcement agency, employment related hearings, [and] appointments and situations requiring the presence of an attorney;

[(3)] (7) "Medical setting" means [medical related situations including] gatherings or gathering places where health and wellness issues are addressed, including, but not limited to, hospitals, clinics, assisted living and rehabilitation facilities, mental health treatment sessions, psychological evaluations, substance abuse treatment sessions, crisis intervention and appointments or other treatment requiring the presence of a doctor, nurse, medical staff or other health care professional; and

[(4) "Educational setting" means a school or other educational institution, including elementary, high school and post-graduation schools where interpretive services are provided to a student.]

(8) "Specialist Certificate: Legal" or "SC:L" means certification by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf that demonstrates specialized knowledge of legal settings and greater familiarity with language used in the legal system.

(b) All persons providing interpreting services shall register [,] annually [,] with the Department of Rehabilitation Services. Companies located outside the state that provide interpreting services inside the state, by electronic or other means, shall register with the department and shall provide proof that employees who provide interpreting services within the state are qualified pursuant to this section. Such registration shall be on a form prescribed or furnished by the [Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services] department and shall include the registrant's name, residential address, [phone number] contact information, place of employment as interpreter and interpreter certification or credentials. The department may also require documentation of the registrant's training hours. The department shall annually issue identification cards for those who register in accordance with this section. The department shall provide and maintain a current listing of those interpreters who have registered pursuant to this section. This listing shall be made available on the department's Internet web site.

(c) On and after October 31, 2014, each application for registration shall be accompanied by the registration fee prescribed by the Interpreting Standards and Monitoring Board pursuant to section 2 of this act. Registration fees shall be used to administer and manage the registration and monitoring process, provide brochures and outreach to educate deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and hearing consumers on the use of qualified interpreters, and provide additional training to interpreters. Recognition of such qualifications shall be in the form of an interpreter registration card issued by the Department of Rehabilitation Services. A person shall be registered and certified as a qualified interpreter in order to:

(1) Engage in the practice of, or offer to engage in the practice of, interpreting for a consumer;

(2) Use the title "interpreter," "transliterator" or a similar title in connection with services provided under his or her name;

(3) Present or identify one's self as an interpreter qualified to engage in interpreting in this state;

(4) Use the title "interpreter", "transliterator" or a similar title in advertisements or communications; or

(5) Perform the function of, or convey the impression that he or she is, an interpreter or transliterator.

(d) Commencing September 1, 2014, any business entity, within the state or through remote access, employing an interpreter who is providing services in Connecticut shall ensure the interpreter is in compliance with the requirements of this section.

[(c)] (e) No person shall provide interpreting services in a legal setting unless such person is registered with the [Department of Rehabilitation Services] department according to the provisions of this section and (1) [has passed] holds a CLIP-R from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, [written generalist test or the National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf certification knowledge examination, holds a level three certification provided by the National Association of the Deaf, documents the achievement of two continuing education units per year for a maximum of five years of training approved by the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services, and on or before the fifth anniversary of having passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test or the National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf certification knowledge examination, has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf performance examination or the National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreter certification examination, (2) has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test or the National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf certification knowledge examination and is a graduate of an accredited interpreter training program and documents the achievement of two continuing education units per year for a maximum of five years of training approved by the commissioner, and on or before the fifth anniversary of having passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test or the National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf certification knowledge examination, has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf performance examination or the National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreter certification examination, (3) holds a level four or higher certification from the National Association of the Deaf, (4) holds certification by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (5) for situations requiring an oral interpreter only, holds oral certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (6) for situations requiring a cued speech transliterator only, holds certification from the National Training, Evaluation and Certification Unit and has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test, (7) holds a reverse skills certificate or is a certified deaf interpreter under the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, or (8) holds a National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreting certificate.] (2) holds a SC:L from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (3) holds a certificate from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, for a minimum of five years, with documentation of a minimum of thirty hours of legal interpreting training and thirty hours annually of interpreting in legal situations, or (4) is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf and holds level four or higher certification from the National Association of the Deaf, for a minimum of five years, with documentation of a minimum of thirty hours of legal interpreting training and thirty hours annually of interpreting in legal situations.

[(d)] (f) No person shall provide interpreting services in a medical setting unless such person is registered with the [Department of Rehabilitation Services] department according to the provisions of this section and (1) holds [a comprehensive skills certificate] certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf with documentation of completion of a minimum of thirty hours of medical interpreting training, (2) [holds a certificate of interpretation or a certificate of transliteration from] is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf [, (3)] and holds a level four or higher certification from the National Association of the Deaf [, (4) holds a reverse skills certificate or is a certified deaf interpreter under the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (5) for situations requiring an oral interpreter only, holds oral certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (6)] with documentation of completion of a minimum of thirty hours of medical interpreting training, or (3) for situations requiring a cued speech transliterator only, holds certification from the National Training, Evaluation and Certification Unit and has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test [, or (7) holds a National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreting certificate] and provides documentation of completion of a minimum of thirty hours of medical interpreting training.

[(e)] (g) No person shall provide interpreting services in [a legal] an educational setting unless such person is registered with the [Department of Rehabilitation Services] department according to the provisions of this section and (1) holds [a comprehensive skills certificate] certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (2) [holds a certificate of interpretation and a certificate of transliteration from] is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf [, (3)] and holds a level [five] four or higher certification from the National Association of the Deaf, [(4) holds a reverse skills certificate or is a certified deaf interpreter under] (3) is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf [, (5) for situations requiring an oral interpreter only, holds oral certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (6)] and, effective July 1, 2015, has a minimum score of 3.5 on the EIPA, (4) (A) is a graduate of an accredited interpreter training program, (B) has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test and documents the achievement of two continuing education units per year for a maximum of five years of department-approved training, and (C) on or before the fifth anniversary of having passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test, has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreter certification performance examination, or (5) for situations requiring a cued speech transliterator only, holds certification from the National Training, Evaluation and Certification Unit and has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test. [, or (7) holds a National Association of the Deaf-National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreting certificate.]

(h) Except as provided in subsection (j) of this section, no person shall provide interpreting services in settings other than legal, medical and educational unless such person is registered with the department according to the provisions of this section and (1) holds certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (2) is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and holds a level four or higher certification from the National Association of the Deaf, or (3) for situations requiring a cued speech transliterator only, holds certification from the National Training, Evaluation and Certification Unit and has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test.

[(f)] (i) The requirements of this section shall apply to persons who receive compensation for the provision of interpreting services and include those who provide interpreting services as part of their job duties.

(j) The following individuals shall be exempt from the registration requirements of this section:

(1) An individual interpreting at (A) a worship service conducted by a religious entity, and (B) services for educational purposes conducted by a religious entity or religiously-affiliated school;

(2) An individual engaged in interpreting during an emergency, when obtaining a registered interpreter or registered transliterator could cause a delay that may lead to injury or loss to the individual requiring the services;

(3) An individual engaged in interpreting as part of a supervised internship or practicum at an accredited college or university if such college or university is not in (A) a legal setting, (B) a medical setting, or (C) an educational setting unless accompanied by an interpreter registered pursuant to this section; or

(4) An interpreter who is certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or the National Association of the Deaf from outside the state and provides interpreting services in the state for a period not exceeding fourteen days during a calendar year.

(k) Commencing July 1, 2018, no person shall provide interpreting services in an educational setting unless such person is registered with the department according to the provisions of this section and (1) holds certification from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, (2) is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and holds a level four or higher certification from the National Association of the Deaf, (3) is registered with the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and has a minimum score of 4.0 on the EIPA, (4) (A) is a graduate of an accredited interpreter training program, (B) has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test and documents the achievement of two continuing education units per year for a maximum of three years of department-approved training, and (C) on or before the third anniversary of having passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test, has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf national interpreter certification performance examination, or (5) for situations requiring a cued speech transliterator only, holds certification from the National Training, Evaluation and Certification Unit and has passed the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written generalist test.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) (a) Not later than October 1, 2014, the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services shall appoint a seven-member Interpreting Standards and Monitoring Board from each of the following constituencies: (1) Deaf consumers, (2) hard of hearing consumers, (3) deaf-blind consumers, (4) hearing consumers, (5) interpreting professionals, (6) deaf professionals, and (7) interpreter trainers. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the commissioner.

(b) The Interpreting Standards and Monitoring Board shall: (1) Oversee and monitor interpreters working in Connecticut, (2) ensure compliance with regulations, (3) set annual registration fees, (4) issue annual registration cards, and (5) review all complaints concerning the conduct and performance of interpreters and alleged violations of section 46a-33a of the general statutes, as amended by this act. The board may impose sanctions, including, but not limited to, suspension or termination of registration and may recommend fines of not more than five hundred dollars per violation. If the board determines an interpreter has violated the interpreter code of professional conduct of the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the board may file a report with said registry.

(c) The Interpreting Standards and Monitoring Board shall provide written notice detailing the grounds for sanctions, including proposed fines, not less than thirty days prior to the imposition of such sanctions and shall afford persons or entities subject to such sanctions an opportunity for a hearing before the board in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes.

(d) The Department of Rehabilitation Services may assess a fine recommended by the Interpreting Standards and Monitoring Board against a referral agency, school, local education authority, court, hospital, other entity or person who falsifies credentials or provides an interpreter who does not comply with the registration requirements or possess the qualifications set forth in this section. The department shall use moneys collected through the imposition of fines to (1) administer and manage the registration and monitoring process, (2) provide informational materials which educate deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and hearing consumers on the use of qualified interpreters, and (3) provide additional training to interpreters.

(e) The Department of Rehabilitation Services shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes to implement the provisions of this section and section 46a-33a of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2014

46a-33a

Sec. 2

July 1, 2014

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To strengthen and standardize the qualifications of interpreters serving deaf and hard of hearing persons.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]