Over the summer, ATA has been working hard to protect the rights of court interpreters in California. Earlier this year, the California Assembly introduced a bill, AB 432, that would have significantly reduced the requirements for serving as a court interpreter. We organized to oppose this bill, and on August 2, 2023, the ATA Advocacy Committee learned that the bill will not advance this year, and it will become a “two-year study bill,”
What is a two-year bill?
As explained by the League of California Cities a two-year bill is:
A bill that is “dead,” “stalled,” “held” or simply “not moved” by the author in the first year of a two-year session and cannot be heard again until the second year of the session. Generally, a bill becomes a two-year bill when it fails to meet a legislative deadline, such as a fiscal committee or policy committee deadline.
What does this mean for interpreters in California?
This move signals that the California legislature heard us! The interpreting community made it clear that this bill was misguided and failed to address the reason it was written: to attract and qualify more interpreters. The Legislature also heard from YOU and no doubt read the negative media coverage about the potential effects of this bill, which risked squandering taxpayer dollars on an untested training program that would do little to effectively recruit more qualified interpreters without an inflation-adjusted increase in pay. Interpreters across the country have been demanding (and receiving) long-awaited increases to their stagnated pay, increases that are more commensurate with the knowledge and skills needed to serve as a court interpreter. California interpreters deserve increases in pay, too, especially given the clear priority placed on meaningful language access, the value of interpreters’ work within our judicial system, and the broader understanding of the rigor involved.
Your advocacy hard at work
In July, we called on ATA members in California to contact their legislators and urge them to oppose this bill. We thank you for speaking up and exercising your constitutional right to advocate on your and your colleagues’ behalf.
Support ATA’s advocacy efforts by becoming an ATA member
To support ATA’s mission of advocating on behalf of the profession and the important work of the all-volunteer ATA Advocacy Committee, become an ATA member today!