Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 1. GENERAL [100 - 7914]

  ( Title 1 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. )

DIVISION 7. MISCELLANEOUS [6000 - 7599.2]

  ( Division 7 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. )

CHAPTER 17.5. Use of a Foreign Language in Public Services [7290 - 7299.8]
  ( Heading of Chapter 17.5 renumbered from Chapter 17 (as added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182) by Stats. 1975, Ch. 678. )

7290.
  

This chapter may be known and cited as the Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182.)

7291.
  

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the effective maintenance and development of a free and democratic society depends on the right and ability of its citizens and residents to communicate with their government and the right and ability of the government to communicate with them.

The Legislature further finds and declares that substantial numbers of persons who live, work and pay taxes in this state are unable, either because they do not speak or write English at all, or because their primary language is other than English, effectively to communicate with their government. The Legislature further finds and declares that state and local agency employees frequently are unable to communicate with persons requiring their services because of this language barrier. As a consequence, substantial numbers of persons presently are being denied rights and benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled.

It is the intention of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to provide for effective communication between all levels of government in this state and the people of this state who are precluded from utilizing public services because of language barriers.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182.)

7292.
  

(a) Every state agency, as defined in Section 11000, except the State Compensation Insurance Fund, directly involved in the furnishing of information or the rendering of services to the public whereby contact is made with a substantial number of non-English-speaking people, shall employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions to ensure provision of information and services to the public, in the language of the non-English-speaking person.

(b) For the purposes of this chapter, the furnishing of information or rendering of services includes, but is not limited to, providing public safety, protection, or prevention, administering state benefits, implementing public programs, managing public resources or facilities, holding public hearings, and engaging in any other state program or activity that involves public contact.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 259, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)

7293.
  

Every local public agency, as defined in Section 54951, serving a substantial number of non-English-speaking people, shall employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions or as interpreters to assist those in such positions, to ensure provision of information and services in the language of the non-English-speaking person. The determination of what constitutes a substantial number of non-English-speak ing people and a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons shall be made by the local agency.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182.)

7294.
  

An employee of a state or local agency, as defined by Sections 11000 and 54951, may not be dismissed to carry out the purposes of this chapter. A state or local public agency need only implement this chapter by filling employee public contact positions made vacant by retirement or normal attrition.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182.)

7295.
  

Any materials explaining services available to the public shall be translated into any non-English language spoken by a substantial number of the public served by the agency. Whenever notice of the availability of materials explaining services available is given, orally or in writing, it shall be given in English and in the non-English language into which any materials have been translated. The determination of when these materials are necessary when dealing with local agencies shall be left to the discretion of the local agency.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 259, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2008.)

7295.2.
  

Every state agency which serves a substantial number of non-English-speaking people and which provides materials in English explaining services shall also provide the same type of materials in any non-English language spoken by a substantial number of the public served by the agency. Whenever notice of the availability of materials explaining services available is given, orally or in writing, it shall be given in English and in the non-English language into which any materials have been translated. This section shall not be interpreted to require verbatim translations of any materials provided in English by a state agency.

(Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1035.)

7295.4.
  

Whenever a state agency finds that the factors listed in both subdivisions (a) and (c) or (b) and (c) exist, it shall distribute the applicable written materials in the appropriate non-English language through its statewide and local offices or facilities to non-English-speaking persons, or, as an alternative, the state agency may instead elect to furnish translation aids, translation guides, or provide assistance, through use of a qualified bilingual person, at its statewide and local offices or facilities in completing English forms or questionnaires and in understanding English forms, letters, or notices:

(a) The written materials, whether forms, applications, questionnaires, letters, or notices solicit or require the furnishing of information from an individual or provide that individual with information.

(b) The information solicited, required, or furnished affects or may affect the individual’s rights, duties, or privileges with regard to that agency’s services or benefits.

(c) The statewide or local office or facility of the agency with which the individual is dealing, serves a substantial number of non-English-speaking persons.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 469, Sec. 1. (AB 2253) Effective January 1, 2015.)

7296.
  

(a) As used in this chapter, a “qualified bilingual person,” “qualified bilingual employee,” or “qualified interpreter” is a person who is proficient in both the English language and the non-English language to be used. For any state agency, “qualified” means one of the following:

(1) A bilingual person or employee who the Department of Human Resources has tested and certified as proficient in the ability to understand and convey in English and a non-English language commonly used terms and ideas, including terms and ideas regularly used in state government.

(2) A bilingual employee who was tested and certified by a state agency or other approved testing authority as proficient in the ability to understand and convey in English and a non-English language commonly used terms and ideas, including terms and ideas regularly used in state government.

(3) An interpreter who has met the testing or certification standards for outside or contract interpreters, as proficient in the ability to communicate commonly used terms and ideas between the English language and the non-English language to be used and has knowledge of basic interpreter practices, including, but not limited to, confidentiality, neutrality, accuracy, completeness, and transparency.

(b) The determination of what constitutes “qualified” for local agencies, shall be left to the discretion of the local agency.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 360, Sec. 1. (SB 1309) Effective January 1, 2013.)

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

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 469, Sec. 2. (AB 2253) Effective January 1, 2015.)

7296.4.
  

As used in Section 7292, “a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions” is the number required to provide the same level of services to non-English-speaking persons as is available to English-speaking persons seeking these services. However, where the statewide or local office or facility of the state employs the equivalent of 25 or fewer regular, full-time employees, it shall constitute compliance with the requirements of this chapter if a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons are employed in public contact positions, or as qualified interpreters to assist those in those positions, to provide the same level of services to non-English-speaking persons as is available to English-speaking persons seeking the services from the office or facility.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 469, Sec. 3. (AB 2253) Effective January 1, 2015.)

7297.
  

As used in this chapter, a “public contact position” is a position determined by the agency to be one which emphasizes the ability to meet, contact and deal with the public in the performance of the agency’s functions.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1035.)

7298.
  

The provisions of this chapter are not applicable to school districts, county boards of education, or the office of a county superintendent of schools.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182.)

7299.
  

The provisions of this act shall be implemented to the extent that local, state or federal funds are available, and to the extent permissible under federal law and the provisions of civil service law governing the state and local agencies.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 1182.)

7299.1.
  

State agencies may, utilizing existing funds, contract for telephone-based interpretation services in addition to employing qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 259, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2008.)

7299.2.
  

The Department of Human Resources shall be responsible for informing state agencies of their responsibilities under this chapter and providing state agencies with technical assistance, upon request on a reimbursable basis.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 360, Sec. 2. (SB 1309) Effective January 1, 2013.)

7299.3.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, by July 1, 2015, a state agency subject to the requirements of this chapter shall translate and make accessible on the homepage of its Internet Web site, forms and processes for submitting complaints of alleged violations of this chapter, as referenced in paragraph (15) of subdivision (b) of Section 7299.4. The forms and processes shall be translated into all languages spoken by a substantial number of non-English-speaking people served by the state agency. Translated copies of the forms shall be printed and made available in the statewide office and any local office or facility of the state agency.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 469, Sec. 4. (AB 2253) Effective January 1, 2015.)

7299.4.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, each state agency shall conduct a language survey and develop and update an implementation plan that complies with the requirements of this chapter.

(b) Each agency shall conduct a language survey of each of its statewide and local offices every two years to determine and provide all of the following:

(1) The name, position, and contact information of the employee designated by the agency responsible for complying with this chapter.

(2) The number of public contact positions in each statewide and local office.

(3) The number of qualified bilingual employees in public contact positions in each statewide and local office, and the languages they speak, other than English.

(4) The number and percentage of non-English-speaking people served by each statewide and local office, broken down by native language.

(5) The number of anticipated vacancies in public contact positions.

(6) Whether the use of other available options, including contracted telephone-based interpretation services, in addition to qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions, is serving the language needs of the people served by the agency.

(7) A list of all written materials that are required to be translated or otherwise made accessible to non- or limited-English-speaking individuals by Sections 7295.2 and 7295.4.

(8) A list of materials identified in paragraph (7) that have been translated and languages into which they have been translated.

(9) The number of additional qualified bilingual public contact staff, if any, needed at each statewide and local office to comply with this chapter.

(10) A detailed description of the agency’s procedures for identifying written materials that are required to be translated.

(11) Each agency shall calculate the percentage of non-English-speaking people served by each statewide and local office by rounding the percentage arrived at to the nearest whole percentage point.

(12) A detailed description of the agency’s procedures for identifying language needs at statewide and local offices and assigning qualified bilingual staff to those offices.

(13) A detailed description of how the agency recruits qualified bilingual staff in statewide and local offices.

(14) A detailed description of any training the agency provides to its staff on the provision of services to non- or limited-English-speaking individuals, frequency of training, and date of most recent training.

(15) A detailed description of complaints regarding language access received by the agency and the agency’s procedures for accepting and resolving complaints of an alleged violation due to failure to make available translated documents or provide interpreter service through bilingual staff or contract services.

(16) A detailed description of how the agency complies with any federal or other state laws that require the provision of linguistically accessible services to the public.

(17) Any other relevant information requested by the Department of Human Resources.

(c) The language survey results and any additional information requested shall be reported in the form and at the time required by the Department of Human Resources, and delivered to the department not later than October 1 of every even-numbered year.

(d) Every odd-numbered year, each agency that served a substantial number of non-English-speaking people shall develop an implementation plan that provides a detailed description of how the agency plans to address any deficiencies in meeting the requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the failure to translate written materials or employ sufficient numbers of qualified bilingual employees in public contact positions at statewide and local offices, the proposed actions to be taken to address the deficiencies, and the proposed dates by when the deficiencies will be remedied.

(e) In developing its implementation plan, each state agency may rely upon data gathered from its most recent language survey.

(f) Each state agency shall submit its implementation plan to the Department of Human Resources no later than October 1 of each applicable year. The Department of Human Resources shall review each implementation plan, and, if it determines that the implementation plan fails to address the identified deficiencies, shall order the agency to supplement or make changes to its plan. A state agency that has been determined to be deficient shall report to the Department of Human Resources every six months on its progress in addressing the identified deficiencies.

(g) If the Department of Human Resources determines that a state agency has not made reasonable progress toward complying with this chapter, the department shall issue orders that it deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 469, Sec. 5. (AB 2253) Effective January 1, 2015.)

7299.5.
  

The Department of Human Resources may exempt state agencies from the requirements of Section 7299.4, where it determines that any of the following conditions apply:

(a) The agency’s primary mission does not include responsibility for furnishing information or rendering services to the public.

(b) The agency has consistently received such limited public contact with the non-English-speaking public that it has not been required to employ bilingual staff under Section 7292 and the agency employs fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time employees in public contact positions.

In order to receive an exemption, each state agency shall petition the Department of Human Resources for the exemption and receive approval in writing by the date established by the department. An agency may receive an exemption for up to five survey cycles, if it demonstrates that it meets the requirements of subdivision (a) or (b), and provides all required documentation to the Department of Human Resources.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 427, Sec. 3. (AB 1062) Effective January 1, 2014.)

7299.6.
  

The Department of Human Resources shall review the results of the surveys and implementation plans required to be made by Section 7299.4, compile this data, and provide a report to the Legislature every two years. The report shall identify significant problems or deficiencies and propose solutions where warranted.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 360, Sec. 5. (SB 1309) Effective January 1, 2013.)

7299.8.
  

It is not the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to prohibit the establishment of bilingual positions, or printing of materials, or use of qualified interpreters, where less than 5 percent of the people served do not speak English or are unable to communicate effectively, as determined appropriate by the state or local agency. It is not the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to require that all public contact positions be filled with qualified bilingual persons.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 259, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2008.)

GOVGovernment Code - GOV