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MassRID will be hosting a Town Hall in Boston on 11/13/2017 to discuss the interpreter licensure bill. A second town hall will also be held in Western Mass, date and exact location pending.
The licensure bill is of extreme importance to our field in Massachusetts, and will impact our daily work as interpreters as well as the systems within which we work. It also directly affects the Deaf and Deafblind Communities and student interpreters. MassRID’s response to this bill will be a way to represent the general consensus of Deaf and hearing interpreters on a state level.
The town hall is a professional forum for interpreters working in Massachusetts to discuss the bill in detail. MassRID will document the result of the two dialogues, and from this discussion draft a letter with the general consensus of the bill to the state. It will be hosted entirely in ASL.
Below is information about the licensure bill proposed for Massachusetts interpreters by Cat Dvar, as well as MSAD’s response and endorsement for the proposed bill. Please read through both if you haven’t done so already.
Jackson Mann School
40 Armington St,
Allston, MA 02134
Parking available on-site: school garage and parking lot.
Accessible by green line.
Attendance is strongly encouraged. Please share with interpreters who may not be receiving this email because they are not members of MassRID.
— Thank you,
Letter to Senator Welch from the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf (MSAD)
The Comprehensive ASL/English Interpreter and Oral Transliterator LICENSURE Bill (Bill S174)
The ASL/English Interpreter and Oral Transliterator REGISTRATION Bill (Bill S173)
Text of an email from Cat B. Dvar, Esq., Attorney and ASL/English Interpreter to the Deaf and Interpreting community dated May 2017:
ASL version of this email
TO THE COMMUNITY,
The Comprehensive ASL/English Interpreter and Oral Transliterator LICENSURE
Bill (Bill S174) was heard by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection
and Professional Licensure on May 16th.
The text of the Bill can be found here
*The ASL/English Interpreter and Oral Transliterator REGISTRATION Bill
(Bill S173) is PENDING*. *The Public Hearing FOR THE REGISTRATION
BILL before the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional
Licensure will be held JUNE 6th at 1pm – SEE
<https://legiscan.com/MA/bill/S173/2017> for more information about the
status of that Bill, the public hearing, etc.*
The text of THE REGISTRY BILL can be found at
Prior to the public hearing on s174 (LICENSURE), the word on the street was
that the Committee planned to vote favorably on the Bill. We don’t know if
that’s what happened, but I spoke to an aide in Senator Welch’s office who
told me he’d let me know next week.
The Committee is still taking written testimony on a rolling basis until
they announce their decision. Because everyone is focused on the budget
right now, they probably won’t be announcing their decision for several
weeks. NOW IS THE TIME TO SEND YOUR TESTIMONY! *The Committee members can
be found here: *
Whether you are for the Bill or against, or if you have suggestions for
specific changes – NOW IS THE TIME to tell every senator and representative
on the Joint Committee. ALSO, even if you are against this specific bill,
but you support having interpreter licensure in MA – PLEASE TELL THE JOINT
COMMITTEE THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE TO YOU. Even if LICENSURE or
REGISTRATION or BOTH FAIL/S, it is critical that the Legislature has
Licensure/Registration on their radar, so that the next time the Community
submits a Bill, it will be taken seriously.
Here’s what happens next for THE LICENSURE BILL (S174):
If the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
votes favorably, the next stop will be the Committee on Health Care and
Finance. If they vote favorably, then it will go to the Joint Ways and
Means Committee. That’s where it’s died twice before.
If it gets to the Joint Ways and Means Committee, and you’re in favor of
the Bill, that’s where the community’s advocacy will be sorely needed! This
means repeated trips to the State House, contacting your legislators, the
Joint Committee on Ways and Means members, phone calls, letters, emails,
cute little flyers and stickers, baked goods (NOT KIDDING), thank you
cards, catchy slogans, etc.
However you may feel about MCDHH, the Commission will not be able to
administer licensure without at least *$150,000 or more* in seed money from
the Legislature. Once the program is up and running it should be
self-sustaining via licensure fees charged to interpreters, interpreter
agencies, VRI agencies. But it will cost a great deal of money to create
the program: an administrative position (Part Time or Full Time) will need
to be created with the required job description (from scratch), multiple
meetings will need to be held (with communication access for all) to
establish an independent grievance board, once the board is established,
there will need to be MULTIPLE meetings with the named stakeholders to
create rules, regulations and policies to govern the board (with
communication access for all), etc. – It’s a hugely expensive task. *Everyone
Under the Sun in the Legislature will need to hear from the Community about
*Full Disclosure: I am not neutral although I am presenting this
information in as neutral a way as possible. I support S174, the
comprehensive licensure bill. I also support S173 as an alternative if S174
is not feasible. Going forward I will be available as a resource any way
the Community would like me to be, but I will not initiate any public
debate on this issue. Whatever comes next is for the Community to decide.
Many thanks for all of your hard work and dedication on this issue,*
*Cat B. Dvar, Esq.*