SB 1296: government communications; emergency response interpreters

PRIME SPONSOR: Senator Bowie, LD 18

BILL STATUS: Chaptered


DEMA – Department of Emergency & Military 	Affairs
Amendments – BOLD and Stricken (Committee)

☐ Prop 105 (45 votes)	     ☐ Prop 108 (40 votes)      ☐ Emergency (40 votes)	☐ Fiscal NoteAbstract

Relating to interpreters for government communications with persons with disabilities.


1.       Requires the state, cities, towns and counties to take reasonable steps to ensure that:

a.       Its communications with persons with disabilities, including online and emergency communications, are equally as effective as those to persons without disabilities; and

b.       Persons with disabilities are able to communicate with, receive information from and convey information to the jurisdiction. (Sec. 1, 2, 3)

2.       Requires the state, cities, towns and counties to:

a.       Provide for auxiliary aids and services when needed to communicate with persons with certain disabilities; and

b.       Establish a protocol to take reasonable steps to secure a licensed interpreter for emergency communications that are presented live to the media for broadcast or through a live online communication.

i.         Requires preference to be given to interpreters who are certified through DEMA's emergency response interpreter credentialing program. (Sec. 1, 2, 3)

3.       Specifies that these requirements do not prevent the jurisdiction from communicating to the public during an emergency if an interpreter is unavailable. (Sec. 1, 2, 3)

Current Law

A person is prohibited from practicing as an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, except in certain circumstances, without a license issued by the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (A.R.S. § 36-1971).  In order to receive a license, a person must submit an application to the Commission and be found to have completed education, examination and work history requirements for licensure (A.R.S. § 36-1973).

Additional Information

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits a qualified individual with a disability from being excluded from participation in or being denied the benefit of services, programs or activities of a public entity (including state and local governments) due to their disability (28 C.F.R. § 35.130).  A public entity is required to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, members of the public and companions with disabilities are as effective as those with others.  Additionally, a public entity must furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services when necessary to afford qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in and enjoy the benefits of a service, program or activity of a public entity.  A public entity is prohibited from relying on an adult accompanying an individual with a disability to interpret or facilitate communication except in an emergency situation involving an imminent threat to the safety of an individual or the public where there is no interpreter available (28 C.F.R. § 35-160). 



---------- DOCUMENT FOOTER ---------

Fifty-third Legislature                  SB 1296

Second Regular Session                               Version 4: Chaptered


---------- DOCUMENT FOOTER ---------