Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1531 State agencies: bilingual services.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Punjabi is the 10th 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:

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