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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 2, 2021 05:12 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Amending Professional Standards for Interpreters to Better Serve Hard of Hearing and Deaf Community
Pennsylvania continues to fall short in creating an accessible landscape for individuals with disabilities, and like many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this shortcoming. In the case of the hard of hearing or Deaf community, access to quality interpreter services has been limited due to pandemic restrictions, accompanied by a total pause in the availability of the credentialing exam required to enter the profession. This interruption has left many non-registered interpreters open to increased liability risk – all while Pennsylvanians seeking their services continue to wait.
Graduates of interpreter programs can apply for provisional registration, allowing them to further develop their trade through hands-on, practical experiences prior to sitting for their exam. However, current law only provides for two consecutive renewals, despite individuals having a five-year window to take the exam. To ensure that these professionals are not prematurely forced into the field and are prepared to serve those who rely on the accurate delivery of interpreter services, this bill seeks to expand the allowable provisional renewals from two to four. Among additional small changes to enhance professional standards, this bill would not only align the Commonwealth with national requirements, but also address those who remain in limbo due to the pause in testing availability.
Our interpreter professionals serve as a gateway to a more accessible community, workplace, or classroom for our hard of hearing and Deaf community. Improving the pathway for interpreters to begin their career is to improve the access to quality and reliable interpreter services available to Pennsylvanians. It is critical that we remove any administrative barriers that can separate these individuals from the supports they need and deserve.
Please consider supporting this legislation to back our interpreters and the community in which they serve as they carry out their work to bridge the accessibility gap that continues to exist in our state. 

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Introduced as HB1567