The Access Committee proposed five bills to the 1999 Legislative Assembly. Three became laws:
Or Laws 1999, ch 1041, requires certified interpreters in administrative proceedings if one is willing, able, and available to serve. [More]
Or Laws 1999, ch 1085, increased the per diem and mileage paid to jurors serving in the circuit courts. [Access Committee bills SB 62 and SB 17 were amended into SB 1304B and adopted by the legislature]. [More]
Interpreters in Administrative Proceedings
The Access Committee proposed legislation (SB 38) to require that state agencies use an interpreter certified by the Office of the State Court Administrator to interpret in administrative proceedings if one is willing, able, and available to serve. If a certified interpreter is not willing, able, and available to serve, the agency or hearing officer must take steps to determine that an interpreter is qualified to interpret, i.e., has the language and interpreting skills needed to interpret in the proceeding.
This law improves access and quality in contested administration cases that may be appealed to the circuit courts and appellate courts. It clarifies terms of the interpreting profession to distinguish translation of written documents from interpretation of oral or signed speech, and it specifies that non-certified interpreters cannot claim to be certified. Expands court interpreter certification program.
The Access Committee is concerned that inadequate juror compensation for transportation and service associated with jury duty may limit the opportunities of some to serve as jurors. The Access Committee proposed legislation
- to increase the per diem rate of juror compensation (SB 62)
- to tie the juror mileage reimbursement rate to the rate paid to employees (SB 17), and
- to make the language concering reimbursement of juror expenses more flexible (SB 17).
These proposals were amended into SB 1304B and adopted by the legislature. [Note: Statutory juror fees were reduced to lower levels during the first special session of 2001.]
Interpreters in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings
In 1999, Oregon law limited court authority to appoint foreign language interpreters to parties to a case. In some juvenile delinquency cases, the juvenile may speak English, but the parents or guardians may not. Without the ability to understand the proceeding and court requirement, the parents, guardians, or other responsible adults cannot effectively participate or oversee release or probation conditions, especially important in the disposition phase when parents may be key to the juvenile's compliance with court requirements. However, parents, guardians, and persons granted rights of limited participation often were not parties in a juvenile delinquency case and therefore were not eligible for court-appointed interpreter services. The Access Committee proposed legislation (SB 71) to authorize courts to provide intereters for parents, guardians, and other responsible adults so that they could fully understand and participate in juvenile proceedings.
The proposal was approved by the Judiciary Committee and sent to the Ways and Means Committee. The measure was still in Ways and Means on adjournment. The Access Committee reintroduced this proposal in the 2001 legislative session.
Translation of Workers Compensation Forms
The Racial/Ethnic Task Force noted in its 1994 report that non-English-speaking employees often did not benefit from of Oregon's workers compensation system for a lack of translated notice of compliance and injury reporting forms.
1995: On the task force's recommendation, the Oregon Judicial Department proposed legislation to require employers to post the notice and provide the forms in foreign languages, but the measure died in the Senate Labor and Government Operations Committee.
1997: On the recommendation of the Racial/Ethnic Task Force Implementation Committee, the Oregon Judicial Department proposed a similar measure; it also died, still in the Senate Public Affairs Committee on adjournment.
1999: The Access Committee submitted this proposal yet again. It was referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee, where it remained on adjournment of the legislative session.
2001 Legislative Session
2003 Legislative Session