Legislation to Increase Language Access Passes Committee

Thursday, April 26, 2018

AB 3179 approved with bi-partisan support

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, a bill authored by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) to increase bilingual access to vital state resources was approved with bi-partisan support by the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review.

“It is critical that we provide bilingual access to vital state resources for all Californians,” said Assemblymember Salas. “This bill will help ensure equal access to state services for the more than 100,000 Punjabi speakers living in California.”

Currently, state law requires a state agency to provide the same information that is available in English in other languages if the agency serves a “substantial number” of non-native speakers, defined as 5 percent or more of the people served. Assembly Bill (AB) 3179 would create greater access to state government services and resources for Punjabi-speaking communities and all non-native-speaking people by lowering the threshold to 3 percent for state agencies to provide language access services to non-native speakers. 

"AB 3179 is critical for all Californians because it increases language accessibility, bilingual services, and makes critical state resources closer to the reach of all our state's citizens, especially those that are not as comfortable with English,” said Deep Singh, Executive Director of the Jakara Movement. “Increasing accessibility helps allow Californians to have increasing autonomy and that's something we can all celebrate." 

Gurinder Kaur, a resident of Bakersfield, sharing through a translator, stated, "As a Punjabi speaker, there have been limited options when having to contact state departments.  Usually I have to wait for a family member to take time off of work in order to help me as a translator.  With more translations and interpreters available, I will be able to take care of my appointments on my own and that is very empowering.  I hope this law helps all Californians that speak other languages." 

The bill now moves to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. 

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