February 16, 2011

Good pro-interpreter bill introduced

Sen. Sharon Nelson of the 34th District on Tuesday introduced a bill protecting 2,000 state medical interpreters now represented by the Federation.

Senate Bill 5807 will be referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee (not the Human Services and Corrections Committee you may see listed on the state legislative website).

SB 5807 would mandate that if the state moves to telephonic and video technology to provide interpretive services that they must be provided by state-certified interpreters, not outsourced to Costa Rica or China or another foreign country. There would be a list of exceptions requiring in-person interpreter services, including patients facing end-of-life scenarios and childbirth.

And SB 5807 also streamlines the archaic and money-sapping brokerage system by requiring that services be contracted directly with language access providers, or through a single coordinating entity that contracts directly with language access providers.

Because it will go to Senate Ways and Means, SB 5807 will have until Friday, Feb. 25, to clear the first committee cut-off.

Call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to support SB 5807, the good language access providers bill.

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