Report Title:

Commission on Language Access; Appropriation



Establishes a commission on language access within the Lt. Governor's Office. Appropriates funds. (HB2738 HD1)


H.B. NO.



H.D. 1






relating to language.



SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by any entity that receives federal financial assistance. Under Title VI, states and other entities that receive federal financial assistance are required to provide meaningful access to services, programs, and activities for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). Meaningful access includes, at a minimum, timely access to trained and competent interpreters, translation of application forms, notices, and letters in a language understood by the LEP person, and notice to LEP persons in a language they can understand of the right to free language assistance.

The legislature finds that many of the Stateís duly authorized departments receive federal funds that are applied to an array of services. In order to assure that LEP persons have full access to these programs and to assure compliance with the law, the legislature further finds that some departments will require additional funding to develop and implement systems by which LEP persons can meaningfully access services consistent with the mission of the department.

The legislature also finds that there is a need to establish a commission on language access to develop a comprehensive statewide plan to improve access to services, programs, and activities by eligible LEP persons. The need for a commission on language access is underscored by the fact that LEP persons are often excluded from state services, experience delays or denials of service, or receive care and services based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Frequently, LEP persons are required to call upon neighbors, strangers, or even their minor children to interpret or translate for them as they access and receive services from departments. Not only are these practices in violation of law, but they also have severe drawbacks. The commission shall develop a language and policy plan to enhance statewide access to services for LEP persons and submit its recommendations to the legislature by June 30, 2003. The purpose of this Act is to establish a commission on language access to develop a statewide plan to enhance access to services for LEP persons.

SECTION 2. (a) There is established the Hawaii state commission on language access within the lieutenant governorís office for administrative purposes. The commission shall consist of:

(1) Three representatives of state or county departments;

(2) Two members who are bilingual, who are either interpreters or bilingual case management caseworkers, or who are or have been employed by a state-funded immigrant service agency or program;

(3) One representative from an advocacy organization that provides services for LEP persons;

(4) A member of the public who has an interest in provision of services to LEP persons;

(5) A representative of a unit within the University of Hawaii providing professional training in interpretation and translation;

(6) A representative of a Hawaiian language immersion advocacy organization;

(7) A representative of a professional association of interpreters and translators;

(8) A representative of a bilingual referral service;

(9) The director of the Hawaii civil rights commission or designated representative; and

(10) The lieutenant governor or a designated representative.

(b) Members shall be appointed by the lieutenant governor without the necessity of the advice and consent of the senate and shall serve at the pleasure of the lieutenant governor.

(c) Members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for expenses, including travel expenses, necessary for the performance of their duties.

(d) The general duties of the commission include development of a statewide plan to enhance access to services for LEP persons. The commission shall submit its recommendations to the legislature by June 30, 2003.

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2002-2003 to provide the lieutenant governorís office with funding for a part-time commission administrator and part-time office support personnel, each position to be exempt, and airfare and other such expenditures intended to support the activities on the commission on language access.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2002.