HB1545 (2020) Detail

Relative to regulation of interpreters for the deaf, deaf blind, and hard of hearing.


HB 1545 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2020 SESSION

20-2097

10/01

 

HOUSE BILL 1545

 

AN ACT relative to regulation of interpreters for the deaf, deaf blind, and hard of hearing.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. M. Pearson, Rock. 34; Rep. Woods, Merr. 23; Rep. Conley, Straf. 13; Rep. Merchant, Sull. 4; Rep. Porter, Hills. 1; Rep. Marsh, Carr. 8; Rep. Gagne, Hills. 13; Rep. Major, Rock. 14; Sen. Morgan, Dist 23

 

COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill makes various changes to the licensure of interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing and the regulation by the board of deaf and hard of hearing, including adding references to deafblind persons, revising definitions, clarifying licensure requirements, requiring waivers for persons who use an unlicensed interpreter, and authorizing the assessment of administrative fines.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

20-2097

10/01

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty

 

AN ACT relative to regulation of interpreters for the deaf, deaf blind, and hard of hearing.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Chapter Title; Interpreters for the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing.  Amend the chapter title of RSA 326-I to read as follows:

CHAPTER 326-I

INTERPRETERS FOR THE DEAF, DEAFBLIND,

AND HARD OF HEARING

2  Reference Change; Board of Licensure; Deafblind Added.  Amend the following RSA provisions by replacing the terms "for the deaf and hard of hearing" with "for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing":  200-C:19, IV; 326-I:1, IV(a) and (b); the section heading of 326-I:3; 326-I:3, I; 326-I:3, IV(c); 326-I:4, II; 326-I:4, V and VI; 326-I:5, IV; and 326-I:7, IV(b); 326-I:8, I; 326-I:11, I; the introductory paragraph of 326-I:12; 326-I:14, II(b); 326-I:14, III(c); 326-I:16.

3  Findings.  Amend RSA 326-I:1, II and III to read as follows:

II.  The general court finds that a significant number of New Hampshire's deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing, its broad array of public agencies and institutions, and its medical and legal professions share a unique challenge: the necessity to hire [professional] qualified interpreters licensed to provide ready and reliable communications to and for those who use a visual mode of communication.

III.  The general court further finds the mandates of federal and state statutes which require funding of interpreter's services, by the same public agencies and institutions, medical and legal professions, and others of those interpreters requested by the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing, is a mandate in itself to the legislature to ensure the availability of a skilled cadre of [professional] qualified, licensed interpreters.

4  Definitions.  RSA 326-I:2 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

326-I:2  Definitions.  In this chapter:

I.  "Board" means the board of licensure of interpreters for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

II.  "Deaf" person means a person whose primary communication is visual.

III.  “Deafblind" person means a person who has a combination of hearing loss and vision loss.  A person who uses a combination of visual and/or tactile communication.  

IV.  "Hard-of-hearing" person means a person who has a hearing loss, who may or may not primarily use visual communication, and who may or may not use assistive devices.

V.  “Intermediary interpreting” means interpreting services rendered by a deaf person between another deaf person and another licensed interpreter or between 2 or more deaf persons.

VI.  "Interpreter" means a person who conveys meaning between people who use signed language and spoken language.

VII.  "Interpreting" means the act of conveying meaning between people who use signed and/or spoken languages.

VIII.  "Interpreting agency" means an agency whose function is to provide qualified interpreter services for a fee and who access interpreters licensed under this chapter.

IX.  "Oral deaf" person means a person whose primary communication is by speech reading and spoken English.

5  Board Membership.  Amend RSA 326-I:3, II(a) to read as follows:

(a)  Four licensed interpreters, at least 2 of whom [are] hold national [level licensees] certification, from a list of names submitted by the New Hampshire Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf in conjunction with the New Hampshire Association of the Deaf.

6  Duties of the Board.  Amend RSA 326-I:4, IX to read as follows:

IX.  Cooperating with the New Hampshire Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the New Hampshire Association of the Deaf, [Self Help for the Hard of Hearing of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire League for the Hard of Hearing,] the department of education, division of vocational rehabilitation, and interpreting agencies to provide access to the services of interpreters to persons communicating with deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing persons.

7  Rulemaking; Applications.  Amend RSA 326-I:5, I to read as follows:

I.  The form and content of license applications for each license level authorized in RSA 326-I:7, II.  For [national level licensure] licensed interpreters, such rules shall include application criteria including examinations and examiners used by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or the National Association for the Deaf[. For state level licensure such rules shall include the use of] or the New Hampshire classification test administered by the program for the deaf and hard of hearing under the division of adult learning and rehabilitation, department of education, whichever is applicable.

8  New Paragraph; Rulemaking; Administrative Fines.  Amend RSA 326-I:5 by inserting after paragraph VII the following new paragraph:

VIII.  Procedural and substantive requirements for assessing, compromising, and collecting administrative fines as authorized by RSA 326-I:14, III.

9  Licensure.  Amend RSA 326-I:7, II and III to read as follows:

II.  The board shall license each applicant who satisfies the requirements of the board [at either a national level license or a state level license].  Upon payment of a license fee [for each license level], the board shall issue to such person a certificate of licensure which shall be evidence of the right to practice [at the appropriate level] as an interpreter for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

III.  An interpreter for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the National Association of the Deaf, or the Massachusetts Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing or New Hampshire Interpreter classification process prior to the effective date of this chapter shall be accepted for licensure by the board[, at the appropriate license level,] without examination, provided that all such certified persons comply with all other requirements of the board under this chapter.

10  Waiver.  Amend RSA 326-I:7, V to read as follows:

V.  The recipient of services shall have the right to apply to the department of education for, and to receive, a waiver in writing from using a licensed interpreter [and shall accept all responsibility for such action].  If it is deemed that an interpreter who is not licensed is the only person that is able to meet the language needs of an individual, that individual may apply to the board for an extended waiver to use that unlicensed interpreter.

11  License Requirements.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 326-I:9, I to read as follows:

I.  To be eligible for licensure by the board as an interpreter for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing [at either the national level license or the state level license], an applicant shall:

12  Disciplinary Actions; Unlicensed Persons.  Amend RSA 326-I:14, I(b) to read as follows:

(b)  Upon written complaint of any person which charges that a person licensed by the board, or an unlicensed person under RSA 326-I:7, IV(a) or RSA 326-I:7, V, has committed misconduct under paragraph II and which specifies the grounds for the misconduct.

13  Disciplinary Actions; Administrative Fines.  Amend RSA 326-I:14, III(a) to read as follows:

III.(a)  The board may take disciplinary action in any one or more of the following ways:

(1)  By public or private reprimand.

(2)  By suspension, limitation, or restriction of license.

(3)  By revocation of license.

(4)  By assessing an administrative fine.

(5)  By requiring the person to participate in a program of continuing education supervision, or treatment in the area the person is deficient.

[(5)] (6)  By removing an exemption for an unlicensed person under RSA 326-I:7, IV(a).

14  Hearings; Exception.  Amend RSA 326-I:15 to read as follows:

326-I:15  Hearings; Exception.

I.  The board shall take no disciplinary action without a hearing.  At least 14 days prior to hearing, both parties to a disciplinary proceeding shall be served, either personally or by registered mail, with a written copy of the complaint filed and notice of the time and place for hearing.  All complaints shall be objectively received and fairly heard by the board, but no complaint shall be acted upon unless in writing or formally presented to the board.  A hearing shall be held on all formal complaints received by the board within one year of the date notice of a complaint was received by the accused, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.  Official notice of all disciplinary decisions made by the board shall be given to both parties to the proceeding upon their issuance.

II.  When an action by a licensed interpreter does not violate the code of professional conduct but has an adverse consequence to a recipient of services and/or is not standard practice, an involved participant or a concerned third party may file a complaint with the board which asks for the board to provide mediation or conflict resolution services between the parties.  To accept, investigate, and act on such a filing, a majority of present board members must agree there is an opportunity for resolution that will result in an improvement of interpreting services.  In these instances, there shall be no suspension or revocation of the interpreter’s license imposed, nor shall the board be required to hold a hearing.

15  Penalties; Waiver.  Amend RSA 326-I:18, I to read as follows:

I.  Any person who shall practice or attempt to practice as an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing in this state without a license and without a waiver under RSA 326-I:7, V shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if a natural person or guilty of a felony if any other person.

16  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2021.

Links

HB1545 at GenCourtMobile
HB1545 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 29, 2020 House Hearing
Feb. 12, 2020 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 11, 2020 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1545 Revision: 7191 Date: Dec. 3, 2019, 11:19 a.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 8, 2020 Introduced 01/08/2020 and referred to Executive Departments and Administration HJ 1 P. 26
Jan. 29, 2020 Public Hearing: 01/29/2020 11:00 am LOB 306
Feb. 12, 2020 Executive Session: 02/12/2020 10:00 am LOB 306
Committee Report: Ought to Pass (Vote 20-0; CC)
March 11, 2020 Committee Report: Ought to Pass for 03/11/2020 (Vote 20-0; CC) HC 10 P. 17
March 11, 2020 Ought to Pass: MA VV 03/11/2020
June 16, 2020 Introduced 06/16/2020, and Laid on Table, MA, VV; 06/16/2020; SJ 8
June 16, 2020 No Pending Motion; 06/16/2020 SJ 8