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S06170 Summary:

Add Art 169 §§8900 - 8905, Ed L
Relates to the licensing of sign language interpreters; creates a state board for sign language interpreting.
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S06170 Actions:

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S06170 Memo:

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S06170 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2023-2024 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     March 31, 2023
        Introduced by Sen. FERNANDEZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education
        AN  ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the licensing of sign
          language interpreters and creating a state  board  for  sign  language

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new article 169 to
     2  read as follows:
     3                                 ARTICLE 169
     4                         SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS
     5  Section 8900. Introduction.
     6          8901. Definitions.
     7          8902. Practice of sign language interpreting.
     8          8903. State board for sign language interpreting.
     9          8904. Licensing requirements.
    10          8905. Exempt persons.
    11    § 8900. Introduction. This article applies to the profession  of  sign
    12  language   interpreter.  The  general  provisions  for  all  professions
    13  contained in article one hundred thirty of  this  title  apply  to  this
    14  article.
    15    § 8901. Definitions. As used in this article:
    16    (1)  "Client" shall mean a deaf, hard of hearing or hearing person for
    17  whom an interpreter provides sign language  interpretation  services  or
    18  who  is  applying  to  be  assessed  for the purpose of qualifying for a
    19  license that will allow him or her to provide sign language  interpreta-
    20  tion services.
    21    (2) "Board" shall mean the board for sign language interpreting.
    22    §  8902.  Practice  of  sign  language interpreting. (1) Only a person
    23  licensed or otherwise authorized under this article shall practice  sign
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 6170                             2
     1  language  interpreting or use the title of sign language interpreter for
     2  compensation.
     3    (2) No person may, for compensation, provide sign language interpreta-
     4  tion  services for a client unless the person is licensed by the depart-
     5  ment.
     6    § 8903. State board for sign language interpreting. (1) A state  board
     7  for  sign  language  interpreting  shall  be  appointed  by the board of
     8  regents on recommendation of the commissioner for the purpose of assist-
     9  ing the board of regents and the department on matters  of  professional
    10  licensing and professional conduct in accordance with section sixty-five
    11  hundred  eight  of  this title. The board shall consist of not less than
    12  ten members who shall serve three year terms and shall have a  familiar-
    13  ity with deaf or hard of hearing matters. Such members shall include:
    14    (a)  six deaf or hard of hearing individuals who are currently or have
    15  previously been clients of a sign  language  interpreter,  one  of  whom
    16  shall be the executive director of the office of professions or a desig-
    17  nee of the commissioner; and
    18    (b)  four  sign  language  interpreters  who  have been licensed under
    19  section eighty-nine hundred four of this article, at least one  of  whom
    20  holds a professional license.
    21    (2) In order to maintain high-quality operation of the executive board
    22  and  also  effective implementation of the policy, one highly knowledge-
    23  able deaf person may be appointed to the board from out  of  state,  yet
    24  working in the state of New York.
    25    (3) The board shall promulgate:
    26    (a)  a  code  of  ethics for sign language interpreters licensed under
    27  this article;
    28    (b) rules for granting licensing exemptions under section  eighty-nine
    29  hundred five of this article;
    30    (c)  industry  standards for the licensing of sign language interpret-
    31  ers;
    32    (d) guidelines for the administration of testing for the department to
    33  implement licensing and license renewal requirements;
    34    (e) requirements for the department to create  a  searchable  database
    35  for  consumers  requiring  the  assistance  of  a licensed sign language
    36  interpreter; and
    37    (f) a code of ethics and regulations for the purpose of licensing sign
    38  language interpreting agencies that hire  interpreters  and/or  transla-
    39  tors.
    40    § 8904. Licensing requirements. (1) To qualify for a license as a sign
    41  language  interpreter,  an applicant shall obtain a professional license
    42  as described in subdivision two of this section.
    43    (2) The department shall  grant  a  professional  license  as  a  sign
    44  language interpreter to an applicant who:
    45    (a) submits an application on a form provided by the department;
    46    (b)  pays  a  fee  of  one  hundred five dollars to the department for
    47  admission to a department  conducted  examination  and  for  an  initial
    48  license,  a fee of sixty dollars for each reexamination, a fee of ninety
    49  dollars for an initial license for persons not requiring admission to  a
    50  department  conducted  examination,  and  a  fee  of  one hundred thirty
    51  dollars for each five year registration period;
    52    (c) meets the minimum industry standards determined by the board to be
    53  licensed by the department; and
    54    (d) establishes the schedule of appropriate fees as needed  to  ensure
    55  the  affordability  to  clients  and/or  applicants  and to maintain the
    56  effective management of the licensing procedures.

        S. 6170                             3
     1    (3) All licensees shall maintain  their  skills  by  participating  in
     2  interpreters' training workshops or seminars arranged by the state board
     3  for sign language interpreting.
     4    §  8905.  Exempt  persons.  (1)  The  department may grant a temporary
     5  exemption to an individual who is not a resident of  this  state  for  a
     6  period  not to exceed sixty days if the individual has certified creden-
     7  tials from the state of their previous residence. The department may not
     8  grant an individual more than two temporary exemptions per year pursuant
     9  to this subdivision.
    10    (2) The department may grant a permanent  exemption  to  an  applicant
    11  based on their ability to meet the minimum industry standards determined
    12  by the board to be licensed by the department.
    13    (3)  The department may grant a temporary or permanent exemption to an
    14  individual who is a resident of this state for a period specified by the
    15  department.
    16    § 2. This act shall take effect on the five hundred fiftieth day after
    17  it shall have become a law.
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