2019 Interpreter Bills
Updated On: Jan 03, 2021

Support Legislative Funding for Court Interpreter Services


The Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) needs your support to improve access to court interpreter services for our growing diverse population. Washington State does not have a unified court system; its courts are funded by counties and cities. In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 13166, state courts are mandated to provide free interpreter services. This is an unfunded federal mandate.

In 2008, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) implemented the first phase of a reimbursement program where if courts contract with state certified and registered interpreters, then AOC reimburses them 50% of the expense. Currently, less than 50 courts are participating in the reimbursement program, which needs to be expanded to cover all the rest. The AOC 2019-2021 budget includes funds to support  this judicial branch priority. Please reach out to your local legislators and ask them to support  this important funding request. 

·         Fact Sheet

·         Talking Points

·         Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

·         Legislative Response Form

Update: The Interpreter Funding Task Force’s budget request was funded by the legislature. The Task Force sent out individual thank you letters to all Senate and House Budget Committee legislators for their support of the request. The Task Force meets in June to review their work and determine next steps. AOC staff previously developed a broad level program implementation plan to help guide work activities if funding was secured. AOC will continue planning efforts and start program implementation in the new fiscal year which starts on July 1, 2019.

Language Access in Public Schools

HB1130 / SB 5606 requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to implement a Language Assistance Plan (LAP) for K-12 schools. In addition, OSPI shall convene a work group to guide the development of training standards or a curriculum for interpreters working in elementary and secondary public schools.

Update: Signed into law by the Governor on May 7, 2019 becoming effective on July 28, 2019. As a result of this bill, our union became a member of the Language Access Workgroup convened by the OSPI. Read here the report sent to the legislature in October 2020 required by this bill.

In Solidarity with Our Brothers and Sisters in Oregon

HB2231 provides the right for healthcare interpreters paid by the State of Oregon to collectively bargain with the State of Oregon.

Update: Signed into law by the Governor on May 28, 2019 becoming effective on January 1, 2020.

More Information:
Court Interpreter Services Underfunded
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