Dear Community Members,

Several people contacted the Commission and asked if the Commission is trying to block a bill on interpreter licensure in Minnesota. The bill has not been introduced this session. Right now, we have no plans to oppose it.

In February, the Commission heard that a bill might be submitted on interpreter licensure this legislative session. We emailed the Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID), Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC), and Minnesota DeafBlind Association (MDBA). After rereading the email, it could have been written more clearly, and for that, we apologize. But the intent of the email was:

To make sure that MRID, MADC, and MDBA were prepared to respond if a bill was introduced. We know that MRID and MADC have an Interpreting Task Force and thought it was important to share the information with them.
To encourage the three groups to work together to develop a response if a bill is introduced. They are the groups that would be most affected.
In September 2018, the MNCDHH board was asked by Sonny Wasilowski to support an interpreter licensure bill; the board discussed it and decided not to support it. There were three reasons:

They learned the bill was not yet endorsed by MADC, MDBA, or MRID. The board believed these groups should be leading this effort.
It was not clear what problem the license intended to fix.
It’s not part of our 2014-2019 five-year strategic plan. Based on past experience with the educational interpreter bill, we know it would be time-consuming to work on this issue. We wouldn’t have time to work on this and follow through on our other commitments.
MNCDHH has a webpage that describes how the board makes decisions about which bills to support or oppose.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Deputy Director Emory David Dively.

Sincerely,

Mary Hartnett, Executive Director

cc: Michele Isham, Board Chair

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