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SB-1155 Court interpreters: small claims proceedings.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/30/2018 02:00 PM
SB1155:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 30, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  April 02, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1155


Introduced by Senator Hueso

February 14, 2018


An act to repeal and add Section 116.550 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and to amend Section 68560.5 of the Government Code, relating to courts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1155, as amended, Hueso. Court interpreters: small claims proceedings.
Existing law provides for the regulation of court interpreters, and requires the Judicial Council to designate the languages for which certification programs shall be established. Existing law requires, except for good cause, as specified, a person who interprets in a court proceeding, as defined, using a language designated by the Judicial Council, to be a certified court interpreter for the language used. Existing law specifically excludes a small claims proceeding from the definition of a court proceeding for purposes of that requirement.
Existing law authorizes a small claims court to permit another individual, other than an attorney, to assist a party if the court determines that the party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony and needs assistance. Existing law requires each small claims court to make a reasonable effort to maintain and make available to the parties a list of interpreters who are able and willing to aid parties in small claims actions, as specified. Existing law requires, if a court interpreter or other competent interpreter is not available to aid a party in a small claims action, the court to postpone the hearing, at the first hearing of the case, one time only to allow the party the opportunity to obtain another individual, other than an attorney, to assist that party.
This bill would delete the requirement that each small claims court make a reasonable effort to maintain and make available to the parties a list of interpreters. The bill would instead authorize the court to appoint an interpreter for that party if the court makes the above-described determination. The bill would also delete the authorization to postpone the hearing one time. The bill would instead authorize a small claims court, either court to consider postponing the first hearing of a case in order to attempt to obtain a court interpreter who meets specified criteria, criteria or to allow the use of a “temporary interpreter,” as specified. The bill would require the Judicial Council to adopt rules of court to implement these provisions. The bill would also delete the provision excluding small claims proceedings from the definition of a court proceeding for purposes of the requirement to use certified court interpreters and would explicitly extend that requirement to small claims proceedings. matters.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 116.550 of the Code of Civil Procedure is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 116.550 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

116.550.
 (a) If the court determines that a party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony, and needs assistance in so doing, the court may appoint an interpreter to interpret for that party. The requirements of Section 68561 of the Government Code apply to the appointment of interpreters in small claims matters.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 68561 of the Government Code, if a court makes a finding that a certified or registered court interpreter or an interpreter provisionally qualified under the rules of court is not available to aid a party in a small claims action, at the first hearing of the case the court may consider postponing the hearing, depending on the complexity of the matter, in order to attempt to obtain a certified or registered court interpreter, or an interpreter that has been provisionally qualified, or the court may allow the use of an individual as a “temporary interpreter” under the rules of court to assist as an interpreter during the hearing. Any other continuances shall be at the discretion of the court.
(c) The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court to implement this section.
(d) (1) This section does not affect the priorities of actions and proceedings for court interpreter services as specified in Section 756 of the Evidence Code.
(2) This section does not alter the obligation to provide court interpreter services to small claims court parties when funding is available as specified in Section 756 of the Evidence Code.

SEC. 3.

 Section 68560.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

68560.5.
 As used in this article:
(a) “Court proceeding” means a civil, criminal, or juvenile proceeding, or a deposition in a civil case filed in a court of record.
(b) “Interpreter” does not include an interpreter qualified under Section 754 of the Evidence Code to interpret for deaf or hard-of-hearing persons, or an interpreter qualified for administrative hearings or noncourt settings under Article 8 (commencing with Section 11435.05) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2.