Washington State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

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WSRID Legislative Committee Meeting

  • 26 Jun 2021
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Via Zoom

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WSRID Legislative Committee

Message from Legislative Committee Coordinator, Whitney Hill:

In the face of a record breaking heat wave, fueled by climate change, this weekend’s WSRID Legislative Committee Town Hall event is being cancelled. Like many, I am currently very vulnerable to the heat at 35 weeks pregnant and should take measures to take care of myself. I would encourage all of you planning on attending to do the same. In the alternative, the legislative committee update will be provided in writing.

1. Updates on 2021 Legislative Session

If you attended the town hall event earlier in the year, you may remember there were three bills that WSRID was watching. Of those three, the only bill that passed was SB 5027, which requires closed captioning be turned on in places of public accommodation. This bill was signed into law and will take effect on July 25th.

2. Update on Medical Interpreting Task Force

Throughout the global pandemic, access to communication in the medical setting remains a barrier for most Deaf and DeafBlind persons. As you may be aware, the issues have been exacerbated for those patients on WA Medicaid insurance over the years. In some recent changes to ASL interpreter programming

First, the HCA made a video in ASL of how to request a sign language interpreter. https://www.hca.wa.gov/health-care-services-supports/apple-health-medicaid-coverage/interpreter-services. This is great! However, the video only covers how to request an interpreter and information on how to file a complaint remains inaccessible. The ASL video remains buried on a state government website and has not been shared with relevant organizations with the ability to disseminate the video more broadly such as WSAD. While the MITF has raised the issues with ODHH, they have not reported any action taken to assist the HCA in remedying the problem. Thoughts or questions regarding the issues should be directed to:

SLICR Program Manager

1-360-339-4559

berle.ross@dshs.wa.gov

Program support specialist

1-360-338-6042

daniel.wharton@dshs.wa.gov

Additionally, the HCA has changed their form to make interpreter requests easier for providers.

3. Update on Educational Interpreter Standard

Currently, in Washington State, to work in the K-12 educational setting, an interpreter is required to have passed the EIPA at a 3.5 or higher or hold national interpreter certification from RID (and must have passed the EIPA written exam). As long as an interpreter can demonstrate to a school district that they are “trying” there is no time limit for how long the interpreter has to get to a 3.5 passing score. Currently, around 50% of the educational interpreters working in Washington have met the current minimum standards although Washington has a robust and free mentoring program. As we may all be aware, Deaf students are the ones who are harmed and statewide we are seeing issues ranging from lack of access to communication to full language deprivation.

This year, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) convened a work group to review the standards. The work group has met on five separate occasions now and includes representatives from the interpreter community, Deaf education advocates, school district administrators, interpreter educators, and Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth staff members. The work group has reached consensus on changing the educational interpreter standard and are currently proposing:

1. That educational interpreters be changed from classified to certificated staff. This would change the oversight body from school districts to the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI). While this work group does control recommendations regarding interpreter pay, there is a predicted increase in interpreter pay based on this adjustment.

2. For a permanent certificate, the interpreter will be required to possess:

- At least an associates degree in any field

- Have at least a 4.0 on the EIPA or possess national certification from RID, and

- Take a 15 hour class on working in schools (required for all certificated school staff members)

3. School districts can also apply for a provisional certificate for an interpreter that does not meet the above requirements. The provisional certificate would require

- The interpreter needs at least an EIPA score of 3.4 for the first certificate. This certificate would only last for two years

- If the interpreter does not reach a 4.0 in 2 years, the school district can apply for a second provisional certificate. To get the 2nd certificate, the interpreter needs at least a 3.7 on the EIPA and this certificate would only last for two years.

The recommendations around the change in the EIPA score will require a vote by the PESB and the changes around time limits will have to be determined by the legislature. Be on the look out for more information and advocacy opportunities in the next legislative session

4. Update on Licensure

Licensure seems to be at an impasse. At our last town hall this seems like something everyone wants, but no one wants to make happen. To move licensure forward WSRID and WSAD would need to form a committee to move things forward. If you are interested in serving on the committee and shaping any potential licensure law in Washington, please reach out to WSRID. No legislative experience necessary.

Whitney Hill


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