CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS ONLY
The Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) is asking all language professionals and business leaders to urge the state’s legislators to include a simple four-word amendment (“professional translators and interpreters”) in the professional services exemption of AB 2257 to fix the exclusion and enable them to operate as the professionals that they are.
Despite efforts made by the JNCL, other lobbyists and language advocates, an exemption for all “professional translators and interpreters” was not included in AB 1850. Author of the AB 5 fix-it bill, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, has instead moved the “certified translator” language from AB 1850 into AB 2257, removing it from the professional services section altogether and placing it in the referring agency section.
According to JNCL, “Gonzalez has justified the need for this legislation by repeatedly using misleading figures from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) data: she has continually stated that 4,111 interpreters were misclassified, including in testimony before the California Assembly Labor Committee. However, that number represents the total number of investigations of both interpreters and translators over the last five years. Only a small fraction of these audits resulted in a determination of misclassification: 269, to be exact. Given that interpreters and translators often work for more than one agency client, it is likely that some of those 269 are duplicates.”
“Interpreter and translator misclassification is not the big problem Assemblywoman Gonzalez makes it out to be, and her misrepresentation of a complex professional industry jeopardizes the language access that 40% of California residents rely on to access vital services—access for vulnerable populations that is grounded in federal statutes that include the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Affordable Care Act.”
This bill can still be amended before the Legislature adjourns, but pressure must be applied now.
The California Senate Labor Committee has a hearing on AB 2257 Wednesday, August 5 at 1 pm PT. Committee Senators need to hear from you, the essential language professionals of California, to not be misled by falsehoods and to leave no professional linguist behind.
EMAIL and CALL the key lawmakers in charge of AB 2257 and urge them to:
- Include a simple 4-word amendment in the professional services exemption of AB 2257 to fix the exclusion.
- Those 4 words are “professional translators and interpreters.”
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (author of AB 2257)
Senator Jerry Hill (Chair of Senate Labor Committee)