STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1191
RE: H.C.R. No. 121
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness, to which was referred H.C.R. No. 121 entitled:
"HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE GOVERNOR TO CONVENE A WORKING GROUP TO DEVELOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT PERSONS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER EMERGENCIES AND NATURAL DISASTERS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to request the Governor to convene a working group to develop recommendations for effective communications with limited English proficient persons and persons with disabilities.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Human Services, Hawai‘i Friends of Civil Rights, Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Office of Language Access.
Your Committee finds that approximately one in four people in the State speak another language other than English at home; and one in nine people in the State are classified as limited English proficient persons. Language access is a civil right derived from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and failure to ensure meaningful access to services for limited English proficient persons is a form of discrimination. Your Committee notes that the State has been repeatedly cited for its failure to provide language accessible services and that during the pandemic, Hawaii's limited English proficient community expressed concern regarding a lack of access to essential state services in a language other than English. Your Committee believes that convening a working group of stakeholders is a step in the right direction to achieving solutions to ensure meaningful access for limited English and disabled individuals.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Deleting language that would have requested the working group to identify necessary resources and costs;
(2) Inserting language that requests the working group to:
(A) Assess the current status of communication access for persons with a disability and limited English proficient persons during natural disasters and emergencies;
(B) Assess the current communication needs and challenges across government entities during natural disasters and emergencies;
(C) Identify information technology resources and other resources and costs; and
(D) Identify and propose legislative solutions and submit recommendations to the Legislature; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of H.C.R. No. 121, as amended herein, and recommends that it be referred to your Committee on Finance in the form attached hereto as H.C.R. No. 121, H.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness,
LINDA ICHIYAMA, Chair