Protect Communication & Information Access NOW

Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf-Disabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened individuals and communities are at risk of losing access to communication and information.

California lawmakers recently passed a law that makes it difficult for freelance workers to provide services, including professional Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners.

Two new bills, AB1850 & AB2257, will make it easier for many of these freelance workers to provide services again. However, professional Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners are NOT included in these bills.

The two bills are being voted on by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee this Wednesday, May 20, 2020, at 10 AM. We need YOU to tell the Committee that we want them to add Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners to these bills.

Please send your letters as soon as possible so that the rights of Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf-Disabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened people under the Americans with Disabilities Act are protected.

Send your letters to the Committee

1. Create an account at the California Legislature Position Letter Portal (https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/) and check your email to verify your account and set a password.

2. Search for AB1850 and select “Oppose” as your stance. Copy and paste your letter or check the box “Submit a letter instead” to upload your letter as a file. Letter templates are available below.

3. Click submit and do step 2 again for AB2257.

4. Share this page with your friends, family, and other supporters of Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf-Disabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened communities.

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Do you live in the district of one of the following members of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee? Send your letters directly to them as well.

Sample Letter Template

Send your letters before May 20, 2020! Copy the letters or download the Microsoft Word files (.doc) below. Make sure change your name and address.

AB1850

May 18, 2020

Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment
1020 N Street, Room 155
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Add Exemptions for Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners in AB1850

Dear Chair Kalra and Honorable Members of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee,

I am writing to urge you to amend AB1850 and add Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners as exempted professional service providers from AB5.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates communication services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Employers, hospitals, medical offices, mental health facilities, law enforcement, and local government entities depend on Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners for compliance with the ADA, and other federal and state nondiscrimination laws.

Interpreters are provided 24/7 in a variety of settings. Evenings, weekends and holiday requests are often last minute. Flexibility in schedules is critical for effective provision of communication services. Emergency requests by hospitals, mental health facilities, and law enforcement will be impacted by staff shortages and overtime pay.

Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners provide professional services as they have extensive education and training.

Many agencies providing interpreting/captioning services are either nonprofit organizations, or small businesses, lacking the resources to offer full-time work for all of their contractors. Existing law is forcing these agencies to increase costs that will be passed along to the state agencies, and all their customers.

These professions have been contractors for decades and are founded on freedom of choice for schedules and types of assignments; thus, these providers strongly desire to remain independent contractors. Existing law is resulting in Interpreters/Realtime Captioners needing to be an employee of 2-15 different entities, rendering an employee status impractical. Thus providers forced to be employees lose the advantages of contracting without gaining the advantages of employment

California currently has a shortage of Interpreters and Realtime Captioners. The supply doesn’t meet the demand. The pool of available Interpreters and Captioners will further be reduced if they are required to become employees. This defeats the ADA because providers can’t provide communication access to all parties involved.

Thank you for your support of Sign Language Interpreters, Realtime Captioners, and the many Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf-Disabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened individuals in California they serve.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
City, State ZIP

AB2257

May 18, 2020

Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment
1020 N Street, Room 155
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Add Exemptions for Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners in AB2257

Dear Chair Kalra and Honorable Members of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee,

I am writing to urge you to amend AB2257 and add Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners as exempted professional service providers from AB5.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates communication services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Employers, hospitals, medical offices, mental health facilities, law enforcement, and local government entities depend on Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners for compliance with the ADA, and other federal and state nondiscrimination laws.

Interpreters are provided 24/7 in a variety of settings. Evenings, weekends and holiday requests are often last minute. Flexibility in schedules is critical for effective provision of communication services. Emergency requests by hospitals, mental health facilities, and law enforcement will be impacted by staff shortages and overtime pay.

Sign Language Interpreters and Realtime Captioners provide professional services as they have extensive education and training.

Many agencies providing interpreting/captioning services are either nonprofit organizations, or small businesses, lacking the resources to offer full-time work for all of their contractors. Existing law is forcing these agencies to increase costs that will be passed along to the state agencies, and all their customers.

These professions have been contractors for decades and are founded on freedom of choice for schedules and types of assignments; thus, these providers strongly desire to remain independent contractors. Existing law is resulting in Interpreters/Realtime Captioners needing to be an employee of 2-15 different entities, rendering an employee status impractical. Thus providers forced to be employees lose the advantages of contracting without gaining the advantages of employment

California currently has a shortage of Interpreters and Realtime Captioners. The supply doesn’t meet the demand. The pool of available Interpreters and Captioners will further be reduced if they are required to become employees. This defeats the ADA because providers can’t provide communication access to all parties involved.

Thank you for your support of Sign Language Interpreters, Realtime Captioners, and the many Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf-Disabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened individuals in California they serve.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
City, State ZIP