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AB-2253 Bilingual services: implementation plans. (2013-2014)

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Assembly Bill No. 2253
CHAPTER 469

An act to amend Sections 7295.4, 7296.2, 7296.4, and 7299.4 of, and to add Section 7299.3 to, the Government Code, relating to bilingual services.

[ Approved by Governor  September 19, 2014. Filed with Secretary of State  September 19, 2014. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2253, Ting. Bilingual services: implementation plans.
The Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act requires each state agency to conduct a survey, related to its bilingual services, of each of its local offices every 2 years to determine specified information, and to report results and any additional information requested to the Department of Human Resources. The act requires each agency that serves a substantial number of non-English-speaking people who comprise 5% or more of the people served to develop an implementation plan, as specified, in every odd-numbered year, and to submit the implementation plan to the department for its review. The act authorizes the department, if it determines that a state agency has not made reasonable progress toward complying with the act, to issue orders that it deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of the act.
This bill would instead require the department, if it determines that a state agency has not made reasonable progress toward complying with the act, to issue orders that it deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of the act. The bill would require specified state agencies, by January 1, 2015, to translate and make accessible on the homepage of their Internet Web sites, forms and processes for submitting complaints of alleged violations of these provisions, and to make translated copies of these forms available, as provided. The bill would also require each state agency to conduct a survey, related to its bilingual services, of each of its statewide offices to determine specified information.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 7295.4 of the Government Code is amended to read:

7295.4.
 Whenever a state agency finds that the factors listed in both subdivisions (a) and (c) or (b) and (c) exist, it shall distribute the applicable written materials in the appropriate non-English language through its statewide and local offices or facilities to non-English-speaking persons, or, as an alternative, the state agency may instead elect to furnish translation aids, translation guides, or provide assistance, through use of a qualified bilingual person, at its statewide and local offices or facilities in completing English forms or questionnaires and in understanding English forms, letters, or notices:
(a) The written materials, whether forms, applications, questionnaires, letters, or notices solicit or require the furnishing of information from an individual or provide that individual with information.
(b) The information solicited, required, or furnished affects or may affect the individual’s rights, duties, or privileges with regard to that agency’s services or benefits.
(c) The statewide or local office or facility of the agency with which the individual is dealing, serves a substantial number of non-English-speaking persons.

SEC. 2.

 Section 7296.2 of the Government Code is amended to read:

7296.2.
 As used in Sections 7292, 7295.2, 7295.4, 7299.3, and 7299.4, a “substantial number of non-English-speaking people” are members of a group who either do not speak English, or who are unable to effectively communicate in English because it is not their native language, and who comprise 5 percent or more of the people served by the statewide or any local office or facility of a state agency.

SEC. 3.

 Section 7296.4 of the Government Code is amended to read:

7296.4.
 As used in Section 7292, “a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions” is the number required to provide the same level of services to non-English-speaking persons as is available to English-speaking persons seeking these services. However, where the statewide or local office or facility of the state employs the equivalent of 25 or fewer regular, full-time employees, it shall constitute compliance with the requirements of this chapter if a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons are employed in public contact positions, or as qualified interpreters to assist those in those positions, to provide the same level of services to non-English-speaking persons as is available to English-speaking persons seeking the services from the office or facility.

SEC. 4.

 Section 7299.3 is added to the Government Code, to read:

7299.3.
 Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, by July 1, 2015, a state agency subject to the requirements of this chapter shall translate and make accessible on the homepage of its Internet Web site, forms and processes for submitting complaints of alleged violations of this chapter, as referenced in paragraph (15) of subdivision (b) of Section 7299.4. The forms and processes shall be translated into all languages spoken by a substantial number of non-English-speaking people served by the state agency. Translated copies of the forms shall be printed and made available in the statewide office and any local office or facility of the state agency.

SEC. 5.

 Section 7299.4 of the Government Code is amended to read:

7299.4.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, each state agency shall conduct a language survey and develop and update an implementation plan that complies with the requirements of this chapter.
(b) Each agency shall conduct a language survey of each of its statewide and local offices every two years to determine and provide all of the following:
(1) The name, position, and contact information of the employee designated by the agency responsible for complying with this chapter.
(2) The number of public contact positions in each statewide and local office.
(3) The number of qualified bilingual employees in public contact positions in each statewide and local office, and the languages they speak, other than English.
(4) The number and percentage of non-English-speaking people served by each statewide and local office, broken down by native language.
(5) The number of anticipated vacancies in public contact positions.
(6) Whether the use of other available options, including contracted telephone-based interpretation services, in addition to qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions, is serving the language needs of the people served by the agency.
(7) A list of all written materials that are required to be translated or otherwise made accessible to non- or limited-English-speaking individuals by Sections 7295.2 and 7295.4.
(8) A list of materials identified in paragraph (7) that have been translated and languages into which they have been translated.
(9) The number of additional qualified bilingual public contact staff, if any, needed at each statewide and local office to comply with this chapter.
(10) A detailed description of the agency’s procedures for identifying written materials that are required to be translated.
(11) Each agency shall calculate the percentage of non-English-speaking people served by each statewide and local office by rounding the percentage arrived at to the nearest whole percentage point.
(12) A detailed description of the agency’s procedures for identifying language needs at statewide and local offices and assigning qualified bilingual staff to those offices.
(13) A detailed description of how the agency recruits qualified bilingual staff in statewide and local offices.
(14) A detailed description of any training the agency provides to its staff on the provision of services to non- or limited-English-speaking individuals, frequency of training, and date of most recent training.
(15) A detailed description of complaints regarding language access received by the agency and the agency’s procedures for accepting and resolving complaints of an alleged violation due to failure to make available translated documents or provide interpreter service through bilingual staff or contract services.
(16) A detailed description of how the agency complies with any federal or other state laws that require the provision of linguistically accessible services to the public.
(17) Any other relevant information requested by the Department of Human Resources.
(c) The language survey results and any additional information requested shall be reported in the form and at the time required by the Department of Human Resources, and delivered to the department not later than October 1 of every even-numbered year.
(d) Every odd-numbered year, each agency that served a substantial number of non-English-speaking people shall develop an implementation plan that provides a detailed description of how the agency plans to address any deficiencies in meeting the requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the failure to translate written materials or employ sufficient numbers of qualified bilingual employees in public contact positions at statewide and local offices, the proposed actions to be taken to address the deficiencies, and the proposed dates by when the deficiencies will be remedied.
(e) In developing its implementation plan, each state agency may rely upon data gathered from its most recent language survey.
(f) Each state agency shall submit its implementation plan to the Department of Human Resources no later than October 1 of each applicable year. The Department of Human Resources shall review each implementation plan, and, if it determines that the implementation plan fails to address the identified deficiencies, shall order the agency to supplement or make changes to its plan. A state agency that has been determined to be deficient shall report to the Department of Human Resources every six months on its progress in addressing the identified deficiencies.
(g) If the Department of Human Resources determines that a state agency has not made reasonable progress toward complying with this chapter, the department shall issue orders that it deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.