STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3013
RE: H.B. No. 1943
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred H.B. No. 1943, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO LANGUAGE ACCESS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish two permanent full-time equivalent positions within the Office of Language Access to assist state agencies and state-funded agencies in implementing Hawaii's language access law.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Judiciary, Office of Language Access, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, State Health Planning and Development Agency, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, Filipina Advocacy Network, Catholic Charities Hawaii, Tinalak Filipino Education Council, Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association, Hawaii Interpreter Action Network, and three individuals.
Your Committee finds that the Office of Language Access provides state agencies with technical assistance including needs assessment, help with language access plans, training, work with translators and interpreters, and data collection. Your Committee further finds that the Office of Language Access is underfunded and understaffed to the point of being unable to complete its language access plans and unable to hire staff for the Statewide Language Access Resource Center, denying meaningful access to residents limited in English proficiency. Your Committee finds that Hawaii is one of the most culturally diverse states and has one of the highest proportions of non-English speakers in the nation, with over twelve percent speaking English "less than very well". Your Committee finds that the funds appropriated and positions created by this measure will allow the Office of Language Access to provide a full level of support to state agencies, fulfill its statutory duties, and provide genuine access to state services to many residents.
Your Committee has amended this measure by making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1943, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1943, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair