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

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Date Published: 02/15/2017 02:00 PM
AB701:v99#DOCUMENT


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 introduced, 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.
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 civil or criminal proceeding, including, but not limited to, traffic, small claims court, family court proceedings and services, and juvenile court proceedings, in any court-ordered or court-provided alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, or in any administrative hearing of a public agency, where a party, witness, attorney, judicial employee, judge, juror, or other participant who is hearing impaired, the individual who is hearing impaired, upon his or her request, shall be provided with a functioning assistive listening system or a computer-aided transcription system. Any individual requiring this equipment 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.
(b) Assistive listening systems include, but are not limited to, special devices which 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.
(c) 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 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) A sign shall be posted in a prominent place indicating the availability of, and how to request, an assistive listening system and a computer-aided transcription system. Notice of the availability of the systems shall be posted with notice of trials.
(e) 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) The Judicial Council shall develop and approve official forms for notice of the availability of assistive listening systems and computer-aided transcription systems for individuals who are hearing impaired. 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) If the individual who is hearing impaired 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 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 are required for a juror who is hearing impaired.
(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.
(j) As used in this section, “individual who is hearing impaired” means an individual with a hearing loss, who, with sufficient amplification or a computer-aided transcription system, is able to fully participate in the proceeding.
(k) In no case shall this section 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.