STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2228
RE: H.C.R. No. 113
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts, to which was referred H.C.R. No. 113, H.D. 1, entitled:
"HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION CONVENING THE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION WORKING GROUP,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to convene the multiple languages emergency notification working group (working group) to develop a plan to provide emergency notification in multiple languages for people with limited English proficiency.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Language Access, Hawai‘i Friends of Civil Rights, and O‘ahu County Democrats Legislative Priorities Committee. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Disability and Communications Access Board.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii has one of the highest proportions of non-English speakers in the United States. Your Committee also finds that a significant percentage of visitors to Hawaii have a primary language other than English. Residents and visitors who lack proficiency in English are at great risk in emergency situations in which they are unable to understand written or verbal warnings or notifications, including warnings or notifications about dangerous conditions, impending severe weather, and appropriate emergency responses. Providing language access in disaster and emergency management is critical to ensure that all of the State's residents and visitors, regardless of English proficiency, can access essential resources like shelters, medicine, social services, and other disaster relief.
Your Committee further finds that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency coordinates emergency notifications and response to disasters. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency's planning should include a means for residents and visitors of limited English proficiency to receive important emergency notifications. Requesting the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to convene a working group to develop a plan to provide emergency notifications in multiple languages for people with limited English proficiency will help ensure that individuals with limited English proficiency are adequately notified of an impending emergency and can timely prepare for and respond to it.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Amending the composition of the working group to specifically include representatives from the Hawaii State Council for Developmental Disabilities and Inter-Agency Council for Refugee and Immigrant Services rather than conditioning their membership on the invitation of the chair;
(2) Amending the composition of the working group to include individuals appointed by the Disability and Communication Access Board and Hawaii State Council for Developmental Disabilities who are deaf and whose primary language is American Sign Language and individuals appointed by the Inter-Agency Council for Refugee and Immigrant Services to represent the immigrant community; and
(3) 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 Labor, Culture and the Arts that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of H.C.R. No. 113, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends its adoption in the form attached hereto as H.C.R. No. 113, H.D. 1, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts,
BRIAN T. TANIGUCHI, Chair