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AB-3179 State agencies: bilingual services.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 08/29/2018 09:00 PM
AB3179:v97#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  August 29, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  August 27, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  May 30, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 3179


Introduced by Assembly Member Salas
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Kalra)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Arambula, Bigelow, Cooper, Mathis, and Patterson)

February 16, 2018


An act to amend Section 7296.2 of the Government Code, relating to state government.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3179, Salas. State agencies: bilingual services.
The Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act, among other things, generally requires every state agency, as defined, directly involved in certain activities involving contact with a substantial number of non-English-speaking people, and every local agency, as defined, serving a substantial number of non-English-speaking people, to employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions. For specified provisions of the act, the act defines a “substantial number of non-English-speaking people” as 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% or more of the people served by the statewide or any local office or facility of a state agency.
This bill would modify the definition of “substantial number of non-English-speaking people” to reduce that percentage from 5% to 3%.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Punjabi is the tenth most spoken language in the world, originating in the border regions of South Asia between Pakistan and India, with over 100,000,000 speakers worldwide, also making it the third most spoken language in Canada and the fourth most spoken language in the United Kingdom.
(b) Punjabi is one of the oldest languages of South Asia, with a tradition extending from Sheikh Fareed to Guru Nanak to present day, and being written most commonly in Gurmukhi script.
(c) Punjabi has faced repeated discrimination in India since 1947 as the Indian government has repeatedly targeted Punjabi due to its ties with the Sikhs, most visibly in 1984 with the attack on Darbar Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple, when numerous priceless Sikh and Punjabi manuscripts were torched and stolen. Punjabi continues to face challenges in Pakistan as well.
(d) Punjabi was first recorded in California since 1899, when the first Sikhs entered through the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco, California.
(e) The first Punjabi newspaper printing press in California dates to 1913, where Kartar Singh Sarabha published The Ghadar with financial support from the Stockton Gurdwara.
(f) Punjabi is one of the top 10 most spoken languages in California, with sizable populations throughout the Central Valley.
(g) Punjabi is often the third most spoken language in most counties between Kern and Sutter Counties.
(h) Punjabi language instruction is expanding in many high schools in Union City, Live Oak, Yuba City, Livingston, Selma, Fresno, Clovis, and Bakersfield.
(i) Punjabi language is celebrated in Yuba City, often called “mini-Punjab” because of its 10 percent Punjabi population, which celebrates the installation of Guru Granth and Guru Panth as the final authority of the Sikh tradition.
(j) Punjabi language is celebrated through festivals, publications, and events in many “Little Punjabs” throughout California including: Live Oak, Natomas, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Stockton, Ceres, Turlock, Livingston, Madera, Fresno, Selma, Kerman, San Joaquin, Fowler, Porterville, Delano, Bakersfield, Arvin, Union City, Fremont, Hayward, and San Jose.
(k) Punjabi language is promoted and taught by institutions such as the Jakara Movement, Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, Punjabi Cultural Association (Fresno), Punjabi American Heritage Society (Yuba City), Punjabi language academies, Punjabi Sahit Academies, and Gurdwaras with Punjabi and Khalsa schools.
(l) Punjabis work a wide range of jobs and contribute their labor in all fields throughout California, especially agriculture, transportation, health care, and small businesses.
(m) The United States Census Bureau began reporting data for Punjabi language speakers in December, 2017.
(n) Lowering the threshold for state agencies to provide language access services will ensure that non-English speakers have greater access to the state government services that they need.

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 3 percent or more of the people served by the statewide or any local office or facility of a state agency.