AN ACT RELATING TO PROHIBITING DISCLOSURE OF COMMUNICATIONS MADE TO INTERPRETERS FOR PERSONS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 1 V.S.A. § 339 is amended to read:
§ 339. COMMUNICATIONS MADE TO INTERPRETERS; PROHIBITION
(a) An interpreter, whether or not the interpreter is a qualified interpreter, shall not disclose or testify to:
communication made by a person to an interpreter acting in his or her capacity
as an interpreter for a deaf or hard of hearing
impaired person or
a person with limited English proficiency; or
any information obtained by the interpreter
as a result of serving while
acting in his or her capacity as an interpreter for a deaf or hard of
hearing impaired person or a person with limited English proficiency.
There is no prohibition on disclosure under this section if the services of the
interpreter were sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan
to commit what the deaf or hard of hearing
impaired person or
the person with limited English proficiency knew or reasonably should have
known to be a crime or fraud.
(c)(1) This section shall not be construed to limit or expand the effect of section 334 of this title.
(2) This section shall not be construed to alter or effect the mandatory reporting requirements of section 4913 of Title 33.
(d) As used in this section, “person with limited English proficiency” means a person who does not speak English as his or her primary language and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.
Sec. 2. 1 V.S.A. § 331 is amended to read:
§ 331. DEFINITIONS
As used in this subchapter:
impaired Deaf or hard of hearing person” means any person who has
such difficulty hearing, even with amplification, that he or she cannot rely on
hearing for communication.
(2) “Proceeding” means any judicial proceeding, contested case under chapter 25 of Title 3, or other hearing before an administrative agency not included under chapter 25 of Title 3.
“Qualified interpreter” means an interpreter for a deaf or hard of
impaired person who meets standards of competency established by
the national or Vermont Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf as amended, by
rule, by the Vermont commission of the deaf and hearing impaired.
Sec. 3. 1 V.S.A. § 332 is amended to read:
§ 332. RIGHT TO INTERPRETER; ASSISTIVE LISTENING EQUIPMENT
Any deaf or hard of hearing
impaired person who is a party or
witness in any proceeding shall be entitled to be provided with a qualified
interpreter for the duration of the person’s participation in the proceeding.
Any deaf or hard of hearing
impaired person shall be entitled to
be provided with a qualified interpreter upon five working days’ notice that
the person has reasonable need to do any of the following:
(1) Transact business with any state board or agency.
(2) Participate in any state-sponsored activity, including public hearings, conferences, and public meetings.
(3) Participate in any official state legislative activities.
a deaf or hard of hearing
impaired person is unable to use or
understand sign language, the presiding officer or state board or agency or
state legislative official shall, upon five working days’ notice, make
available appropriate assistive listening equipment for use during the
proceeding or activity.
Sec. 4. 1 V.S.A. § 333 is amended to read:
§ 333. APPOINTMENT OF INTERPRETER
The presiding officer in a proceeding shall appoint an interpreter after making
a preliminary determination that the interpreter is able to readily communicate
with the deaf or hard of hearing
impaired person, to accurately
interpret statements or communications from the deaf or hard of hearing impaired
person, and to interpret the proceedings to the deaf or hard of hearing impaired
* * *
Sec. 5. 1 V.S.A. § 336(a) is amended to read:
§ 336. RULES; INFORMATION; LIST OF INTERPRETERS
(a) The Vermont commission of the deaf and hearing impaired shall, by rule, establish factors to be considered by the presiding officer under section 333 of this title before appointing an interpreter who is not a qualified interpreter. Such factors shall encourage the widest availability of interpreters in Vermont while at the same time ensuring that the interpreter:
able to readily communicate with the deaf or hard of hearing
able to accurately interpret statements or communications by the deaf or
hard of hearing
able to interpret the proceedings to the deaf or hard of hearing
(4) shall maintain confidentiality;
(5) shall be impartial with respect to the outcome of the proceeding;
shall not exert any influence over the deaf or hard of hearing
(7) shall not accept assignments the interpreter does not feel competent to handle.
Sec. 6. 1 V.S.A. § 337 is amended to read:
§ 337. REVIEW
decision, order, or judgment of a court or administrative agency may be
reversed on appeal if the court or agency finds that a deaf or hard of
impaired person who was a party or a witness in the proceeding
was deprived of an opportunity to communicate effectively and that the
deprivation was prejudicial.
* * *
Sec. 7. 1 V.S.A. § 338 is amended to read:
§ 338. ADMISSIONS; CONFESSIONS
admission or confession by a deaf or hard of hearing
person made to a law enforcement officer or any other person having a
prosecutorial function may only be used against the person in a criminal
(1) The admission or confession was made knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently and is not subject to alternative interpretations resulting from the person’s habits and patterns of communication.
(2) The admission or confession, if made during a custodial interrogation, was made after reasonable steps were taken, including but not limited to the appointment of a qualified interpreter, to ensure that the defendant understood his or her constitutional rights.
provisions of subsection (a) of this section supplement the constitutional
rights of the deaf or hard of hearing
The Vermont General Assembly
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