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AB-701 Access to judicial and nonjudicial proceedings: hearing impaired.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/31/2017 04:00 AM
AB701:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 30, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 701


Introduced by Assembly Member Gallagher

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Section 54.8 of the Civil Code, relating to courts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 701, as amended, Gallagher. Access to judicial and nonjudicial proceedings: hearing impaired.
Existing law requires that a participant in any civil or criminal proceeding, court-ordered or court-provided alternative dispute resolution, or administrative hearing of a public agency, who is hearing impaired be provided with a functioning assistive listening system or a computer-aided transcription system, upon his or her request. Existing law requires, if a computer-aided transcription system is requested, sufficient display terminals be provided to allow the hearing impaired individual to read the real-time transcript of the proceeding without difficulty. Existing law requires the Court Reporters Board of California to license and regulate the practice of shorthand reporting, defined to generally mean, among other things, the making of a verbatim record of any oral court proceeding.
This bill would require an operator of a computer-aided transcription system to be certified by a state or national association approved by the Court Reporters Board of California. California, no later than January 1, 2019, to adopt rules and identify standards to certify operators of computer-aided transcription systems, as defined, and, on or before July 1, 2019, would require operators of those systems to be certified pursuant to those rules and standards. The bill would prohibit the official reporter or pro tem reporter assigned by the court to produce the official transcript of the proceeding from acting as the operator of the computer-aided transcription system. The bill also would prohibit a civil or criminal proceeding, court-ordered or court-provided alternative dispute resolution, or administrative hearing of a public agency from commencing until the requested system is in place and functioning and would prohibit the court from requiring the use of a computer-aided transcription system if the participant who is deaf or hard of hearing has expressed a preference to use an interpreter. The bill would require the operator of a computer-aided transcription system to provide the speech-to-text equipment to be used, unless otherwise provided by the court.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 54.8 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

54.8.
 (a) In any (1) For a civil or criminal proceeding, including, but not limited to, traffic, small claims court, family court proceedings and services, and juvenile court proceedings, in any for a court-ordered or court-provided alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, or in any for an administrative hearing of a public agency, where in which a party, witness, attorney, judicial employee, judge, juror, or other participant who is hearing impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, the individual who is hearing impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, upon his or her request, shall be provided with a functioning assistive listening system or the services of an operator of a computer-aided transcription system. Any
(2) An individual requiring this equipment or the services of an operator of a computer-aided transcription system shall give advance notice of his or her need to the appropriate court or agency at the time the hearing is set or not later than five days before the hearing.
(3) If an assistive listening system or the services of an operator of a computer-aided transcription system are requested, the proceeding or administrative hearing described in paragraph (1) shall not commence until the requested system is in place and functioning or the services can be performed.
(b) (1) Assistive listening systems include, but are not limited to, special devices that transmit amplified speech by means of audio-induction loops, radio frequency systems (AM or FM), or infrared transmission. Personal receivers, headphones, and neck loops shall be available upon request by individuals who are hearing impaired. deaf or hard of hearing.
(2) A computer-aided transcription system is a system that provides real-time captioning or other similar technology and that is operated by a person certified pursuant to subdivision (c).
(c) No later than January 1, 2019, the Court Reporters Board of California shall adopt rules and identify standards to certify operators of computer-aided transcription systems. On or before July 1, 2019, an operator of a computer-aided transcription system shall be certified pursuant to the rules and standards established pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) The official reporter or pro tem reporter assigned by the court to produce the official transcript of the proceeding shall not be the operator of a computer-aided transcription system.
(e) The operator of a computer-aided transcription system shall provide the speech-to-text equipment to be used, unless otherwise provided by the court.

(c)

(f) If a computer-aided transcription system is requested, sufficient display terminals shall be provided to allow the individual who is hearing impaired to read the real-time transcript captioning of the proceeding without difficulty. An operator of a computer-aided transcription system shall be certified by a state or national association approved by the Court Reporters Board of California.

(d)

(g) A sign shall be posted in a prominent place indicating the availability of, and how to request, an assistive listening system and the services of an operator of a computer-aided transcription system. Notice of the availability of the systems shall be posted with notice of trials.

(e)

(h) Each superior court shall have at least one portable assistive listening system for use in any court facility within the county. When not in use, the system shall be stored in a location determined by the court.

(f)

(i) The Judicial Council shall develop and approve official forms for notice of the availability of assistive listening systems and the services of operators of computer-aided transcription systems for individuals who are hearing impaired. deaf or hard of hearing. The Judicial Council shall also develop and maintain a system to record utilization by the courts of these assistive listening systems and computer-aided transcription systems.

(g)

(j) (1) If the individual who is hearing impaired deaf or hard of hearing is a juror, the jury deliberation room shall be equipped with an assistive listening system or a computer-aided transcription system upon the request of the juror.

(h)A court reporter may

(2) The operator of a computer-aided transcription system may be present in the jury deliberating room during a jury deliberation if the services of a court reporter for the purpose of operating a computer-aided transcription system of the operator are required for a juror who is hearing impaired. deaf or hard of hearing.

(i)In any of the proceedings referred to in subdivision (a), or in any administrative hearing of a public agency, in which the individual who is hearing impaired is a party, witness, attorney, judicial employee, judge, juror, or other participant, and has requested use of an assistive listening system or computer-aided transcription system, the proceedings shall not commence until the system is in place and functioning.

(k) If a witness, attorney, judicial employee, judge, juror, or other participant who is deaf or hard of hearing has expressed a preference to use an interpreter pursuant to Section 754 of the Evidence Code, the court shall not require the use of a computer-aided transcription system in lieu of the interpreter.

(j)

(l) As used in this section, “individual who is hearing impaired” deaf or hard of hearing” means an individual with a hearing loss, who, with sufficient amplification or with the services of an operator of a computer-aided transcription system, is able to fully participate in the proceeding.

(k)In no case shall this section

(m) This section shall not be construed to prescribe a lesser standard of accessibility or usability than that provided by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336) and federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.