Bill Text: NY A07948 | 2011-2012 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires state agencies that directly serve the public to enact policies to ensure that people who do not speak English well receive the interpretation and translation services they need in order to access vital government programs.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 22-1)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2012-01-04 - referred to governmental operations [A07948 Detail]

Download: New_York-2011-A07948-Introduced.html
                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________
                                         7948
                              2011-2012 Regular Sessions
                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y
                                     May 25, 2011
                                      ___________
       Introduced  by  M. of A. MENG -- read once and referred to the Committee
         on Governmental Operations
       AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring state  agen-
         cies  that  directly serve the public to enact policies to ensure that
         people who do not speak English well receive  the  interpretation  and
         translation  services  they  need  in order to access vital government
         programs
         THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
    1    Section  1. Section 301 of the executive law is renumbered section 302
    2  and a new section 301 is added to read as follows:
    3    S 301. AGENCY LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION. 1. DEFINITIONS.    AS  USED  IN
    4  THIS SECTION: (A) "AGENCY COVERED LANGUAGE" SHALL MEAN EVERY NON-ENGLISH
    5  LANGUAGE  USED  BY  A LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT POPULATION THAT CONSTI-
    6  TUTES FIVE PERCENT OR ONE THOUSAND INDIVIDUALS, WHICHEVER  IS  LESS,  OF
    7  THE POPULATION SERVED OR ENCOUNTERED, OR LIKELY TO BE SERVED OR ENCOUNT-
    8  ERED, BY THE AGENCY.
    9    (B)  "AGENCY"  SHALL MEAN ANY STATEWIDE GOVERNMENT AGENCY, DEPARTMENT,
   10  OR PROGRAM THAT FURNISHES INFORMATION OR RENDERS SERVICES, PROGRAMS,  OR
   11  ACTIVITIES  DIRECTLY  TO  THE  PUBLIC  OR CONTRACTS WITH OTHER ENTITIES,
   12  EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, TO CONDUCT PROGRAMS, SERVICES, OR  ACTIV-
   13  ITIES,  AND ALL POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND LOCAL ENTITIES OF SUCH STATE-
   14  WIDE GOVERNMENT AGENCY, DEPARTMENT, OR PROGRAM.  AGENCIES  INCLUDE,  BUT
   15  ARE  NOT  LIMITED TO: THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING; THE OFFICE OF ALCOHOLISM
   16  AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES; THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL; THE OFFICE
   17  OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES; THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF  NEW  YORK;  THE
   18  DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION; THE OFFICE OF COURT
   19  ADMINISTRATION;  THE  DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES; THE DEPART-
   20  MENT OF EDUCATION; THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS; DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY  ASSIST-
   21  ANCE;  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH; THE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
   22  RENEWAL; THE DIVISION OF  HUMAN  RIGHTS;  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  FINANCIAL
        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD10706-02-1
       A. 7948                             2
    1  SERVICES;  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR;  THE  METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION
    2  AUTHORITY; THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES; THE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECRE-
    3  ATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION; THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND  NEW
    4  JERSEY;  OFFICE  FOR  THE  PREVENTION  OF  DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE; OFFICE OF
    5  PROBATION AND CORRECTIONAL ALTERNATIVES; THE DIVISION OF  STATE  POLICE;
    6  THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK; THE OFFICE OF TEMPORARY AND DISABILITY
    7  ASSISTANCE; AND THE DIVISION OF VETERAN'S AFFAIRS.
    8    (C)  "COMPETENT  INTERPRETATION" SHALL MEAN A TRANS-LANGUAGE RENDITION
    9  OF A SPOKEN MESSAGE IN WHICH  THE  INTERPRETER  COMPREHENDS  THE  SOURCE
   10  LANGUAGE  AND CAN SPEAK COMPREHENSIVELY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE TO CONVEY
   11  THE MEANING INTENDED IN THE SOURCE LANGUAGE. THE INTERPRETER KNOWS RELE-
   12  VANT TERMINOLOGY  AND  PROVIDES  ACCURATE  INTERPRETATIONS  BY  CHOOSING
   13  EQUIVALENT  EXPRESSIONS THAT CONVEY THE BEST MATCHING AND MEANING TO THE
   14  SOURCE LANGUAGE AND CAPTURES,  TO  THE  GREATEST  POSSIBLE  EXTENT,  ALL
   15  NUANCES INTENDED IN THE SOURCE MESSAGE.
   16    (D) "COMPETENT TRANSLATION" SHALL MEAN A TRANS-LANGUAGE RENDITION OF A
   17  WRITTEN  MESSAGE IN WHICH THE TRANSLATOR COMPREHENDS THE SOURCE LANGUAGE
   18  AND CAN WRITE COMPREHENSIVELY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE TO CONVEY THE MEAN-
   19  ING INTENDED IN THE  SOURCE  LANGUAGE.  THE  TRANSLATOR  KNOWS  RELEVANT
   20  TERMINOLOGY  AND  PROVIDES  ACCURATE TRANSLATIONS BY CHOOSING EQUIVALENT
   21  EXPRESSIONS THAT CONVEY THE BEST MATCHING  AND  MEANING  TO  THE  SOURCE
   22  LANGUAGE  AND  CAPTURES,  TO  THE  GREATEST POSSIBLE EXTENT, ALL NUANCES
   23  INTENDED IN THE SOURCE MESSAGE.  COMPETENT TRANSLATION SHALL NOT INCLUDE
   24  ONLINE TRANSLATION TOOLS SUCH AS GOOGLE TRANSLATE,  YAHOO!  BABEL  FISH,
   25  AND COMPARABLE SERVICES.
   26    (E) "LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES" SHALL MEAN COMPETENT INTERPRETATION
   27  AND TRANSLATION SERVICES.
   28    (F)  "LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT INDIVIDUAL" OR "LEP INDIVIDUAL" SHALL
   29  MEAN AN INDIVIDUAL WHO DOES NOT READ, WRITE,  SPEAK,  AND/OR  UNDERSTAND
   30  THE  ENGLISH  LANGUAGE AT A LEVEL THAT PERMITS HIM OR HER TO COMMUNICATE
   31  EFFECTIVELY WITH THE AGENCY.
   32    (G) "PRIMARY LANGUAGE" SHALL MEAN THE  LANGUAGE  IN  WHICH  A  LIMITED
   33  ENGLISH PROFICIENT INDIVIDUAL PREFERS TO COMMUNICATE.
   34    (H)  "VITAL  DOCUMENTS"  SHALL  MEAN PRINTED AND ONLINE DOCUMENTS THAT
   35  PROVIDE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO  ACCESS  OR  PARTICIPATE  IN  SERVICES,
   36  PROGRAMS,  AND  ACTIVITIES  OF  AN  AGENCY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
   37  APPLICATIONS, CORRESPONDING INSTRUCTIONAL  MATERIALS,  LEGAL  CONTRACTS,
   38  STIPULATIONS,  OUTREACH  MATERIALS,  AND WRITTEN NOTICES OR LETTERS THAT
   39  AFFECT OR RELATE TO THE LEGAL RIGHTS OR BENEFITS OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR THE
   40  AGENCY'S SERVICES, PROGRAMS OR BENEFITS AND WHICH ARE USED  OR  INTENDED
   41  TO BE USED FOR COMMUNICATING WITH INDIVIDUALS OR THE PUBLIC.
   42    2.  INTERPRETATION  SERVICES. (A) EVERY AGENCY SHALL PROVIDE COMPETENT
   43  INTERPRETATION AT ALL STAGES OF THE LEP  INDIVIDUAL'S  INTERACTION  WITH
   44  THE  AGENCY  AND AT NO COST TO THE LEP INDIVIDUAL. SUCH COMPETENT INTER-
   45  PRETATION MUST BE PROVIDED PROMPTLY BUT NEED NOT BE PROVIDED  IN  PERSON
   46  OR FACE-TO-FACE IN ORDER TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION.
   47    (B)  MINOR CHILDREN SHALL NOT BE USED TO INTERPRET AT ANY TIME, EXCEPT
   48  IN AN EXTREME EMERGENCY. IF MINOR CHILDREN  ARE  USED  TO  INTERPRET,  A
   49  RECORD  SHALL  BE KEPT OF THE INCIDENT IN THE INDIVIDUAL'S CASE FILE, IF
   50  ONE EXISTS.
   51    (C) THE AGENCY IS PROHIBITED FROM REQUIRING  THAT  AN  LEP  INDIVIDUAL
   52  PROVIDE HIS OR HER OWN INTERPRETATION SERVICES.
   53    (D)  USE  OF  UNTRAINED OR INFORMAL INTERPRETERS SUCH AS THE FAMILY OR
   54  FRIENDS OF AN LEP INDIVIDUAL SHALL BE ACTIVELY DISCOURAGED.  IF  AN  LEP
   55  INDIVIDUAL  CHOOSES  TO USE AN INFORMAL INTERPRETER AFTER BEING NOTIFIED
   56  OF THE AVAILABILITY OF FREE, TIMELY AND COMPETENT INTERPRETATION, HE  OR
       A. 7948                             3
    1  SHE MUST COMPLETE A WAIVER THAT IS SIGNED BY A MANAGER AT THE AGENCY AND
    2  BY THE LEP INDIVIDUAL.
    3    3.  LANGUAGE  ACCESS  PLAN.  (A) EACH AGENCY SHALL PUBLISH, AND UPDATE
    4  EVERY TWO YEARS, WITH THE FIRST PLAN BEING DEVELOPED WITHIN ONE  HUNDRED
    5  EIGHTY  DAYS  OF  THE  EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, A LANGUAGE ACCESS
    6  PLAN THAT WILL REFLECT HOW THE AGENCY WILL COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF
    7  THIS SECTION AND ALL PROGRESS MADE SINCE THE  AGENCY  LAST  SUBMITTED  A
    8  LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN.
    9    (B)  EACH  LANGUAGE  ACCESS PLAN SHALL BE WRITTEN IN CONSULTATION WITH
   10  THE STATE CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER, THE STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS  DIREC-
   11  TOR,  THE  AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR, THE LOCAL SUBDIVISIONS'
   12  LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATORS, AND THE DIRECTORS THAT CONDUCT OUTREACH TO
   13  LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT POPULATIONS.
   14    (C) EACH LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN SHALL SET FORTH, AT MINIMUM, THE FOLLOW-
   15  ING:
   16    (1) WHEN AND BY WHAT MEANS THE AGENCY WILL PROVIDE LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE
   17  SERVICES AND AN EXPLANATION AS TO HOW THIS DETERMINATION WAS REACHED;
   18    (2) THE TITLES OF ALL AVAILABLE TRANSLATED DOCUMENTS  AND  THE  CORRE-
   19  SPONDING LANGUAGES INTO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN TRANSLATED;
   20    (3)  THE  NUMBER  OF  PUBLIC  CONTACT  POSITIONS IN THE AGENCY AND THE
   21  NUMBER OF BILINGUAL EMPLOYEES IN PUBLIC CONTACT POSITIONS, INCLUDING THE
   22  LANGUAGES THEY SPEAK;
   23    (4) DOCUMENTATION OF THE LANGUAGE NEEDS OF THE POPULATION  SERVED  AND
   24  THE POPULATION ELIGIBLE TO BE SERVED BY THE AGENCY;
   25    (5)  FOR AGENCIES THAT PROVIDE INDIVIDUALIZED PROGRAMS AND SERVICES, A
   26  SYSTEM FOR TRACKING THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL  WHO  SEEKS
   27  OR RECEIVES SERVICES FROM THE AGENCY;
   28    (6)  A  TRAINING PLAN FOR AGENCY EMPLOYEES WHICH INCLUDES, AT MINIMUM,
   29  ANNUAL TRAINING ON THE LANGUAGE ACCESS POLICIES OF THE AGENCY AND HOW TO
   30  PROVIDE LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES;
   31    (7) A LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR AT THE AGENCY, WHO SHALL BE PUBLICLY
   32  IDENTIFIED;
   33    (8) IF OUTREACH IS CONDUCTED BY THE AGENCY, A  MULTI-LINGUAL  OUTREACH
   34  PLAN  TO  LEP COMMUNITIES REGARDING THE BENEFITS AND SERVICES OFFERED BY
   35  THE AGENCY AND THE LANGUAGE SERVICES PROVIDED;
   36    (9) A DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNDING AND BUDGETARY SOURCES UPON WHICH  THE
   37  AGENCY INTENDS TO RELY TO IMPLEMENT ITS LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN;
   38    (10)  A  DETAILED  PLAN FOR ANNUAL INTERNAL MONITORING OF THE AGENCY'S
   39  COMPLIANCE WITH THIS ORDER; AND
   40    (11) AN EXPLANATION OF ANY AREAS OF CURRENT NON-COMPLIANCE,  INCLUDING
   41  COMPLAINTS  RECEIVED  AND THEIR DISPOSITION, THE REASONS FOR NON-COMPLI-
   42  ANCE AND STEPS TO BE TAKEN TO REMEDY  AREAS  OF  NON-COMPLIANCE,  AND  A
   43  REQUEST  FOR  APPROVAL  OF  EXPECTED FUTURE NON-COMPLIANCE, TO WHICH THE
   44  STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR SHALL RESPOND WITHIN  SIXTY  DAYS  OF
   45  THE REQUEST.
   46    (D) AT A MINIMUM EACH AGENCY SHALL MAINTAIN RECORDS OF ALL INFORMATION
   47  NECESSARY  TO  COMPLETE  AND  VERIFY  THE  INFORMATION  SET FORTH IN THE
   48  LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN.
   49    4. AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR. EACH AGENCY SHALL DESIGNATE A
   50  LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR, WHO SHALL REPORT DIRECTLY TO  THE  DIRECTOR
   51  OF  THE  AGENCY.    THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS
   52  COORDINATOR SHALL INCLUDE:
   53    (A) GENERAL OVERSIGHT OF THE AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN;
   54    (B) FOR STATEWIDE AGENCIES, OVERSIGHT, CENTRAL COORDINATION, AND TECH-
   55  NICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE AGENCY'S POLITICAL SUBDIVISION AND  LOCAL  ENTI-
   56  TIES IN THEIR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION;
       A. 7948                             4
    1    (C) ENSURING THAT THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES BY THE
    2  AGENCY MEETS ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS OF TRANSLATION OR INTERPRETATION;
    3    (D)  PROCUREMENT  OF  CONTRACT LANGUAGE SERVICES WHERE APPROPRIATE AND
    4  MANAGEMENT OF THE RELATIONSHIP WITH ALL LANGUAGE SERVICE CONTRACTORS;
    5    (E) TRACKING, MONITORING AND INVESTIGATING PUBLIC COMPLAINTS REGARDING
    6  LANGUAGE ACCESS SERVICES AT THE AGENCY;
    7    (F) OVERSEEING STAFF TRAINING ON THE LANGUAGE  ACCESS  PLAN,  LANGUAGE
    8  POLICY, AND HOW TO OBTAIN LANGUAGE SERVICES FOR LEP INDIVIDUALS;
    9    (G)  ENSURING  THAT  RECORDKEEPING AND MONITORING REQUIREMENTS OF THIS
   10  SECTION ARE COMPLIED WITH;
   11    (H) COMPILING, MAINTAINING, AND DISSEMINATING ALL TRANSLATED DOCUMENTS
   12  TO BE USED BY OTHER AGENCY ENTITIES, INCLUDING  ALL  LOCAL  OFFICES  AND
   13  POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS; AND
   14    (I)  OVERSEEING AND COORDINATING THE AGENCY'S ANNUAL INTERNAL MONITOR-
   15  ING, TESTING AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES.
   16    5. MONITORING AND COMPLAINTS. (A) THE AGENCY  SHALL  MONITOR  ITS  OWN
   17  COMPLIANCE  WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION BY ANNUALLY COLLECTING
   18  DATA ON THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES, THE  AVAILABILITY
   19  OF  TRANSLATED  MATERIALS,  WHETHER  SIGNAGE IS PROPERLY POSTED, AND ANY
   20  OTHER RELEVANT MEASURES. THIS INFORMATION AND ANY OTHER COLLECTED DURING
   21  THE INTERNAL MONITORING PROCESS SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE STATEWIDE
   22  LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR. THE MONITORING  PLAN  SHALL  INCLUDE  FEEDBACK
   23  FROM THE PUBLIC, COMMUNITY GROUPS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS.
   24    (B)  THE  AGENCY  SHALL ESTABLISH A SYSTEM WHEREBY LEP INDIVIDUALS MAY
   25  SUBMIT COMPLAINTS TO  THE  AGENCY  REGARDING  LANGUAGE  ACCESS  SERVICES
   26  PROVISION OR LACK THEREOF, AND ALL SUCH COMPLAINTS SHALL BE INVESTIGATED
   27  BY THE AGENCY LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR AND/OR SUCH INDIVIDUALS WITHIN
   28  THE AGENCY AS THE LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR SHALL DETERMINE. THE AGEN-
   29  CY  MUST  PROVIDE  ALL  LEP  INDIVIDUALS  SUBMITTING  COMPLAINTS WRITTEN
   30  NOTIFICATION OF THE RESULTS OF ANY INVESTIGATIONS  RESULTING  FROM  SUCH
   31  COMPLAINTS, INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION OF THE CORRECTIVE ACTION TO BE TAKEN
   32  IN RESPONSE TO THE COMPLAINT, IF SUCH CORRECTIVE ACTION IS REQUIRED.
   33    6.  GOOD  CAUSE. IT SHALL BE GOOD CAUSE FOR AN INDIVIDUAL'S FAILURE TO
   34  RESPOND TO AN AGENCY INQUIRY  OR  REQUIREMENT,  FAILURE  TO  CERTIFY  OR
   35  RE-CERTIFY FOR BENEFITS, FAILURE TO ATTEND MANDATORY APPOINTMENTS OR FOR
   36  AN  UNTIMELY RESPONSE, IF THE LEP INDIVIDUAL IS DENIED LANGUAGE SERVICES
   37  AS REQUIRED UNDER THIS SECTION.
   38    7. STATEWIDE OVERSIGHT, COORDINATION AND ASSISTANCE. (A) THE  DIRECTOR
   39  OF  STATE  OPERATIONS  SHALL PROVIDE OVERSIGHT, CENTRAL COORDINATION AND
   40  TECHNICAL  ASSISTANCE  TO  AGENCIES  IN  THEIR  IMPLEMENTATION  OF   THE
   41  PROVISIONS  OF  THIS  ORDER AND ENSURE THAT THE PROVISION OF SERVICES BY
   42  AGENCIES MEETS ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS OF TRANSLATION OR INTERPRETATION.
   43    (B) THERE SHALL BE A STATEWIDE LANGUAGE  ACCESS  DIRECTOR  WITHIN  THE
   44  OFFICE  OF  THE  DIRECTOR OF STATE OPERATIONS, WHO IS CHARGED WITH OVER-
   45  SIGHT WITH ALL AGENCIES' COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.
   46  THE STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR SHALL:
   47    (1) REVIEW AND MONITOR EACH AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN FOR  COMPLI-
   48  ANCE WITH THIS SECTION AND TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964;
   49    (2)  TRACK  AND  MONITOR  PUBLIC  COMPLAINTS REGARDING LANGUAGE ACCESS
   50  VIOLATIONS AT EACH AGENCY AND, WHERE NECESSARY, ISSUE  WRITTEN  FINDINGS
   51  OF  NONCOMPLIANCE  TO  THE AGENCY REGARDING FAILURES TO PROVIDE LANGUAGE
   52  ACCESS;
   53    (3) REVIEW AND MONITOR THE LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATORS  WITH  RESPECT
   54  TO THEIR PERFORMANCE OF RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THIS SECTION; AND
   55    (4) FACILITATE SHARING OF BEST PRACTICES AND INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION
   56  TO IMPROVE COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.
       A. 7948                             5
    1    (C)  EVERY  AGENCY  SHALL COOPERATE WITH THE STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS
    2  DIRECTOR AND SHALL FURNISH SUCH INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE AS THE STATE-
    3  WIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR  DETERMINES  IS  REASONABLY  NECESSARY  TO
    4  FULFILL THESE DUTIES.
    5    8.  PRIVATE  RIGHT  OF  ACTION;  COMPLAINTS.  INDIVIDUALS SHALL HAVE A
    6  PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION TO ENFORCE THE RIGHTS GRANTED UNDER THIS SECTION
    7  AS SET FORTH UNDER SUBDIVISIONS ONE THROUGH SIX OF THIS SECTION.
    8    S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
    9  have become a law.
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