Washington State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Funding for Court Interpreter Services

23 Feb 2019 12:03 PM | WSRID Webmaster (Administrator)

Help improve access to court interpreter services for our growing diverse population and to provide training for a new wave of judges and court system personnel. Please contact your legislators to support increased funding for court interpreters. DEADLINE: FEB. 28TH

Here are two letters we received that address this legislation:

The first is from Bob Lichtenberg, Staff, Washington State Supreme Court Interpreter Commission. Please read and act quickly to contact your legislator and encourage them to support this funding request (it does not have a bill number, so please call it the "Interpreter Funding Request").

Dear Members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community of Washington State:

This message is being sent on behalf of the Interpreter Funding Taskforce, a workgroup that was created by the Board of Judicial Administration, the Supreme Court Interpreter Commission and the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Board, the Commission and the Office of the Courts have sought for the past 6 years to have the Legislature add several million dollars more in funding to courts that pay for ASL interpreters as well as foreign language interpreters. This is a big push involving many stakeholders and your help is very much needed.

This is important to many members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community that depend on certified ASL interpreters to provide high-quality interpretation of court hearings in which they are involved. When courts cannot afford to have certified ASL interpreters, they try to use local interpreters who do not have court interpreting experience or proper training. The Court Interpreter Reimbursement program will provide 50% of the cost of an ODHH-certified ASL interpreter's services. This funding will increase the number of courts that are able to get this money. Right now, only 41 out of 250+ courts in WA state are able to get this money.

In several counties in WA state, ASL ranks as one of the top 7 languages in demand for interpreter services and often courts have to hire interpreters from west of the mountains to come to a court in Eastern WA, which is a very costly expense for rural courts. This will help support the ability of these smaller courts to have high quality interpreter services.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Bob Lichtenberg
WA Supreme Court Interpreter Commission, Staff

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Greetings Valued Partner in Justice,

We need your support in contacting your local legislators to support increased funding for court interpreters. If you have already contacted your local legislators, please send a follow up email urging their support for the following request from the Board for Judicial Administration. Please also share this request for support with local stakeholders that would be willing to reach out to legislators.

The judiciary is requesting $2.1 million dollars this biennium to increase funding for the state Court Interpreter Reimbursement Program. This program currently only funds 20% of courts across the state. Timely access to credentialed interpreters is vital to ensuring that Washington Courts can meet the needs of individuals with limited English proficiency and those who are hard of hearing or deaf. We want to make sure that all courts have access to effective interpreter services, especially those in rural counties.

Please contact your local legislators from the attached list by February 25 to ask them to support increased funding for court interpreters. We know you have many demands on your time and resources. Attached is a fact sheet and sample message that can be adapted with your organization's or your personal information.

Click the link below to access the Legislative Communication Toolkit for more background information.

We greatly appreciate your help. Please contact Jeanne Englert at jeanne.englert@courts.wa.gov if you have questions about this legislative funding request.

Sincerely,

Jeanne M. Englert, MPA, MSW
Manager, Board for Judicial Administration
Administrative Office of the Courts / 360-705-5207
Jeanne.Englert@courts.wa.gov

Legislative Communication Toolkit

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